Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine January 2019

Page 1


Expand your culinary horizons

right here in Warrenton!

TAJ PALACE; offering authentic Indian and Nepalese cuisine



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Client Testimonials Dawn made the complicated process of selling my house easy and most importantly, fast! She was very assertive with marketing my house, so that once it went on the market I had a full price offer in less than a week. She coordinated to have all the inspections done, kept me apprised of the current status and made sure everything was handled quickly and efficiently. We closed within three weeks, which was nothing short of amazing! Dawn and her staff are wonderful to work with and are true professionals. I highly recommend her!

Alice – Seller (May 2018) We have worked with Dawn for over 8 years, buying 3 and selling 3 houses. We have one more sale and purchase and would not work with anyone else. She is professional and extremely knowledgeable. She knows and works with all lines of professionals who may be needed when selling a house. She keeps her clients up to date on what is going on as well as giving options and her opinion on what needs to be done when buying and selling. I would recommend her to anyone who is looking to sell or buy a house in Northern Virginia.

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PUBLISHER Dennis Brack dennis@piedmontpub.com

from the E D I T O R



Pam Kamphuis pam@piedmontpub.com

ART DIRECTOR Kara Thorpe kara@piedmontpub.com

ADVERTISING Sales Director: Jim Kelly jim@piedmontpub.com, 434-987-3542 Senior Account Executive: Cindy McBride cindy@piedmontpub.com, 540-229-6038 Creative Services Director: Jay Ford jayford@piedmontpub.com

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EDITORIAL & ADVERTISING OFFICE Piedmont Lifestyle Magazines 11 Culpeper Street Warrenton, Virginia 20186 540-349-2951

ON THE WEB www.PiedmontLifestyle.com Facebook: @PiedmontLifestylePublications Email Newsletter: Sign up at www.PiedmontLifestyle.com The Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly and distributed to over 11,500 selected addresses. While reasonable care is taken with all material submitted to The Warrenton Lifestyle Magazine, the publisher cannot accept responsibility for loss or damage to any such material. Opinions expressed in articles are strictly those of the authors. While ensuring that all published information is accurate, the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistakes or omissions. Reproduction in whole or part of any of the text, illustration or photograph is strictly forbidden. ©2019 Rappahannock Media LLC.


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am surprised and humbled this holiday season. I have had quite a few readers tell me that they enjoyed the December issue of Warrenton Lifestyle, and that they really liked my editor’s note and my articles. Funny, I didn’t think people actually read the editor’s note. Confession: I don’t always read it when I pick up other magazines! But now this puts pressure on...now that I know people read it, I feel like I have to produce something amazing every month. It’s harder than it sounds! I’d like to introduce Will Scaring, a Warrenton resident who just graduated from GMU with a degree in English, who is going to be interning for us for a few months and writing some articles. Welcome, Will! We look forward to working with you. This issue is about New Year, New Experiences. Got a puppy for Christmas? Get him started off on the right paw with Charlotte Harvey’s advice. Ever wanted to become active in the theatre? Read Will’s article on the Fauquier Community Theatre. Want to try some adventurous food? Read our article about the Taj Palace Indian Restaurant, and go give it a try (if you mention you read the article, they’ll offer you a 10 percent discount!) Get your digital life organized and off to a good start with Dok Klaus’ recommendations. Thought about a hiking adventure? Read Andreas Keller’s account of hiking in Newfoundland. And do something this year you’ve maybe always meant to do...start recording your family history. Read my article on how to get started with genealogical research and talk to your older family members soon about their recollections and stories. We have also had great interactions on social media this month. Our new Instagram page (@lifestylemagazines), curated by our Art Director, Kara Thorpe, is doing fantastically. And on December 13, Susan McCorkindale, the editor of our sister publications Haymarket Lifestyle and Gainesville Lifestyle, and I did our first Facebook Live video. You should go check it out...it’s on our Facebook page. I promise, it gets better after the first few seconds when we get the camera the right way up! We had a lot of fun doing it, and plan to do it every week, so keep an eye out for us on Thursday mornings. We will be talking about what’s going on here at 11 Culpeper Street, reactions to our articles from readers/followers, things that are going on in the community, and upcoming features. I tend to be on the serious side, but Susan is always funny, so they are bound to be entertaining! Wishing you a wonderful New Year.





08 Starting Off on the Right Paw Training your new puppy BY CHARLOTTE HARVEY

12 A Wealth of Knowledge


20 Vertical Rock Climbing and Fitness The only way is up!

Master Gardeners in our community




16 Digital Resolutions for the New Year Get your computer off to a clean start BY KLAUS FUECHSEL

18 Tech Decorating

28 Theatre in Fauquier Fauquier Community Theatre celebrates its 41st season BY WILL SCARING

Looking to the Past Starting genealogical research BY PAM KAMPHUIS


34 Recreation and Outdoor Leadership Program at LFCC

New Wines for the New Year







Find Yourself on the Edge of the World A Newfoundland hiking experience

Studies in Leisure

An Unforgettable Adventure

Family, Church, and Community

Taj Palace Indian Restaurant

The characters from Be:

Hiding your cords and chargers

The Journey of Rol

Warrenton United Methodist Church’s Megan LaChance

Warrenton’s hidden gem






cover: A sampling of the Indian and Nepalese cuisine served at Taj Palace in Warrenton. Photo by Kara Thorpe. The Lifestyle magazines are sister publications of Northern Virginia’s Leading News Source, INSIDENOVA.COM TWITTER.COM/INSIDENOVA FACEBOOK.COM/INSIDENOVA

VISIT US today for the latest news, sports and features from Fauquier, Prince William, Arlington, Fairfax, Stafford and throughout the region.

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Call Patti Today!


p a t t i . b r o w n @ L n F. c o m getmovingwithpattibrown.com

492 Blackwell Road, Warrenton VA 540-349-1400

Warrenton, Virginia 19 Homes Sold Totalling $10MM

Marshall, Virginia 10 Homes Sold Totalling $4.29MM

Culpeper County, Virginia 7 Homes Sold Totalling $2.84MM

Let Patti put her passion for real estate and her love of helping people to work for you! Patti’s priority is always the happiness of her clients. Defined by her upbeat attitude and zest for life, her commitment and passion are evident in everything she does, whether she’s helping her real estate clients achieve their dreams, spending time with her family, or volunteering her time on the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fauquier. When it comes to one of life’s most important investments—buying or selling a home—it’s comforting to know Patti stands behind her service.

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local EXPERT

THE EXPERT: Charlotte Harvey HER EXPERTISE: Pets and Animal Behavior Charlotte Harvey, BSc owns and operates K9ology LLC in Warrenton where she teaches group and private training classes for pet, competition, and working dogs. She holds a Bachelors of Science with honors in Animal Management from the University of Essex with a special interest in behavior. She regularly competes with her furry family members in breed conformation, tricks, obedience, rally, and dock diving events.

Starting Off on the Right Paw SETTING YOUR PUPPY UP FOR SUCCESS |



ongratulations! You have welcomed a four-legged ball of love into your home who smells of sweet puppy breath, gives warm snuggles, and has a never-empty bladder. This is just the beginning of raising a puppy. Training a puppy takes a phenomenal amount of time, patience, and commitment to start things off right! What most owners are unaware of is that raising a puppy goes far beyond teaching basic obedience commands. The first 12-18 months involves diligent house training, careful socialization, persistent play bite training, and instilling manners inside the home and out. It does not happen overnight. Your puppy’s training goes far beyond learning to “sit.” Puppy training is all about prevention. Preventing toileting accidents, preventing poor biting behavior, preventing fear through socialization, preventing counter surfing, separation issues, jumping, barking, and all the other bad habits which drive owners mad. Although an old dog can learn new tricks, with a puppy, you have a blank canvas in front of you. It’s way easier to instill good habits and manners now rather than troubleshoot later on. Remember, it takes consistency, time, and patience.


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House Training Puppies do not know they shouldn’t use your kitchen or living room as their own restroom. For this reason, the old method of “whacking the dog with a rolled up newspaper” yields poor results. The puppy may start avoiding the owner when it has to “go,” it may hide to relieve itself, and even hold it in when outside because of fear of being punished. Instead of focusing on the accidents, work on being super proactive about preventing accidents inside the home. Crate your dog when they are not supervised to ensure they do not eliminate in unwanted areas. Let your dog out often, every hour on the hour to begin with in order to prevent as many accidents as possible. Make sure to use the same door to go outside every time so your dog can learn to go to that door by themselves to let you know they need to go out. Take your puppy to a designated spot in your yard on leash. Stand in a single location and use a verbal command such as “hurry up” or “go potty.” Do not move. Yes, that’s right. Your puppy has the attention span of a goldfish and every time you let them browse you are distracting them from the task at hand. Reward your puppy with praise and a treat after they have finished peeing or pooping. This is vital; praise

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while your pet is mid-stream is only going to interrupt them, resulting in an accident in the house later. Make sure to have your pet toilet frequently. Puppies need to go out after they eat, when they wake up from sleep, and sometimes even during play. Look for signs such as pacing, sniffing the ground, circling, or holding the tail up high, which could indicate they need to go. Take them to their toileting spot right away. If your dog goes out and does not toilet, put them back in the crate for 10-15 minutes and try again until they go. If an accident happens, simply clean it up, roll up the newspaper, and whack yourself with it. It is our job as humans to instill good habits in our dogs. Accidents happen, and almost always it’s the human at fault for not getting the puppy out in time.

Play Biting Ever notice how puppies come with razor sharp teeth? It starts off all cute and funny, and then one day you feel like you’re re-creating a scene from Jurassic Park. Yes, puppies bite to explore, they bite to play, they bite to hold, and


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there’s a reason for this. Play biting is necessary for them to learn how to control their jaw pressure and learn to use their jaws and teeth appropriately. The first and foremost important thing is to teach your puppy to bite down gently. A dog who is allowed to play bite with minimal pressure will develop a soft mouth - also known as good bite inhibition. This reflex is trainable until your puppy begins to lose puppy teeth. Why is this important? Because when an adult dog bites out of fear or pain, the dog with good bite inhibition will not leave deep punctures. A dog who was not allowed to develop a soft mouth as a puppy may cause significantly more damage. Once your puppy is about 5 months old, then all biting should be considered inappropriate. How to help them develop a soft mouth? Play with them gently and allow them to mouth you. The second the puppy exerts pressure through his teeth, say “ouch” and immediately walk away. Wait 10 seconds and then try the interaction again. Praise and pet your puppy when they mouth gently.



Contrary to popular belief, socialization is not just mere exposure to people and dogs. Proper socialization is the careful exposure to sights, sounds, smells, textures, other animals, people, dogs, and environments to help form positive associations. The main imprinting period for puppies to be socialized is between 4-16 weeks of age? Yes, that’s right … the window of opportunity where you puppy is a sponge for knowledge closes quite quickly. The key is not to just throw your dog into new and sometimes overwhelming situations. Your goal should be to structure interactions teach coping and adaptation skills. A puppy who is shy or fearful may take significantly more time to adapt than a dog who is a social butterfly. Enrolling in a structured puppy class with a focus on social skills can go a long way!

Household Manners Your puppy does not come with a software program that tells them how to act in the home. In addition to the potential for toilet training accidents your puppy may gnaw on electrical cords, string confetti made of toilet paper through the house, grab toys which belong to children, shred magazines, chew at your crown molding, jump on tables and counters, and steal your favorite pair of socks. If you’re lucky, you can catch them in time to intervene … on the flip side, you could be looking at a $5,000+ surgery to remove that sock from your dog’s intestines. Puppies require constant supervision when loose in the home and must be taught how to act in the house. The use of a tether or a crate can be very helpful to keep your puppy out of trouble when

you’re not directly supervising or interacting with him. Good management at the puppy stage can ensure that a bad habit never begins. Two good behaviors to teach your puppy are “four on the floor” and “drop it.” “Four on the floor” means that the puppy only gets attention or positive reinforcement when all four paws are on the ground, which will teach your puppy not to jump up, either on people or on furniture. “Drop it” is a necessary skill you should teach your puppy for when he does snatch something he shouldn’t have. Chasing him around the home to wrestle items from his mouth will be ineffective long term and either teach him that stealing items is a game, or that he should become possessive of things. It’s our job as pet guardians to set our puppies up for success, not failure. Children should be supervised with young dogs to ensure no teasing, bullying, or inappropriate interactions occur (from both the puppy or child’s perspective!) A puppy training class can be absolutely invaluable. Consider enrolling you and your puppy in one and learn more about how to raise them right; your puppy will thank you for it. On a final note — be prepared for adolescence, it seriously sucks. It is the hardest developmental period for dogs and owners alike due to hormone changes, growth spurts, and an increased interest in the world around them. Adolescents will get easily distracted, act almost defiant, and pretend like they haven’t had a lick of training in their lives. Take it slow, take it easy, and set realistic goals for when working with your dog. In the back of your mind always remember … it takes at least 12-18 months to raise that pup! ❖

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LEFT: Winny Buursink leads a group of new Master Gardener trainees on a tour of the Arboretum at Rady Park.

A Wealth of Knowledge Appreciating the contributions of the Master Gardeners of Fauquier and Rappahannock Counties STORY BY NATALIE ORTIZ AND JESSICA LESEFKA | PHOTOS BY FRANKLIN GARCIA

Our local Master Gardeners bring a wealth of knowledge to our community and put a lot of time and effort into local projects such as the Rady Park Arboretum and Schoolhouse #18 gardens in Marshall. They are also enthusiastic about teaching others about sustainable gardening. What does it take to become a Master Gardener? This month, we had a chance to talk with Tim Ohlwiler, horticulture extension agent in the Fauquier County Extension Office, and two local Master Gardeners, Janet Nixdorf and Mary McGee, about their Master Gardening experiences. We believe it’s important that we highlight the hard-working volunteers who give so much time and efforts to helping our community. What is an Extension Master Gardener? Tim: Extension Master Gardeners are volunteer educators in community. They share horticulture information with youth and adults to improve their lives around environmental stewardship, food production, and improve communities through social impacts. Our mission is to educate Fauquier and Rappahannock County residents about safe, effective and sustainable garden management practices. What are the requirements for becoming a Master Gardener? Tim: Becoming a Extension Master Gardener begins with 50 hours of classroom education. It provides training in many topics including botany,


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pruning, pest management, soils, insects, and various types of plants. After completion of this course, interns than complete 50 hours of hands-on training through volunteer activities available in our community. Can you tell me a little bit about your personal experience becoming a Master Gardener? Janet: No experience necessary; just a willingness to learn and volunteer your time. Personally, I had just retired and had always dabbled in gardening when I had the time. I really wanted to learn more about it, and the Master Gardener program provided the intensive training and experience necessary. Once a person



has gone through the training, there are many opportunities available to volunteer in the community (please see the various FCMGA brochures that list the various projects we are working on). The program is set up so that you can initially try a number of the projects until you find one – or more – that suit you. What is the connection between Master Gardeners and Virginia Tech and Virginia State University? Tim: Master Gardeners are volunteers with Virginia Cooperative Extension, which is the outreach program of Virginia Tech and Virginia State University to share research based information. The goal is to help residents of Virginia improve their lives.





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ABOVE: The gardens at schoolhouse #18 in Marshall , a FCMG project.

What is your favorite part about serving as an Extension Master Gardener? Janet: Not only do I enjoy learning and growing, but the social and professional contacts are really helpful. Whenever I have a gardening questions, I know I can find someone who can and will help me! There is a lot of sharing of plants as well. How do you serve and educate in the community? Janet: I have a background in education, and have been able to put those skills to use in teaching people about gardening. I have given several workshops to the public and to other Master Gardeners on gardening topics. We also have opportunities to provide gardening information through the Farmers Market and various community fairs where we set up booths (such as the Home & Garden Show, the Fourth of July Celebration at the WARF, and the Remington Fair). Mary: I work with the marketing committee and design pamphlets, rack cards, posters, and bulletin boards that advertise our work and class schedules. At Rady Park, I also design pamphlets and rack cards to help educate people about the arboretum, and I update the educational website we have developed for the park.

What advice do you have for people who want to start gardening?

Tell me about a project you enjoy volunteering with?

Janet: I have an extensive container plant garden on my deck every year (in addition to regular vegetable gardens). I plant vegetables, flowers, and herbs in containers. Many people think they have to have a dedicated area in their yard for a garden, but there can be beautiful

Janet: I’ve participated in a number of projects. I have been president and now am past president on our Master Gardeners Association Board; I work with the herb garden at


Schoolhouse #18 in Marshall; I am on the Marketing Committee where we work to make information available on gardening issues and upcoming articles in the local press; and I am currently the Speakers Bureau Program Manager where local organizations can request a speaker on gardening topics. Mary: I have been a co-project leader (with Winny Buursink) of the Rady Park Arboretum since 2014. I became involved with this project because I live near Rady Park and visit it often. It has been an eye-opening experience to learn about trees and shrubs in a public setting and has challenged me to use what skills I have to develop a website for the Rady Park Arboretum, try my hand at landscape design for new beds, and learn and help teach the public about tree identification, proper location, and care.

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Janet: Think about your objectives: are you focused on landscaping or on vegetable gardens? Either way, look at gardening magazines, learn online, and go to any workshops that are available. (FCMGA Master Gardeners run many workshops from spring through early fall. Also, nurseries like Merrifield run workshops that are free or low cost.) Feel free to go to local nurseries and ask questions! You can have real highs and lows when gardening! I learn from the “lows,” and many of my experiments have provided some real successes. It’s important to realize that there are many factors that contribute to the success or failure in the garden (e.g., weather!). It’s important not to get discouraged by the failures. What about Container Gardening?

container gardens on decks, and even balconies. They require a little more watering, but I get compliments every year. And it’s great to just step out on the deck to clip a few herbs for dinner. It’s easier for pest control as well – I’ve only ever found one caterpillar on a container plant! And I guess I’m lucky – so far, no deer have ventured onto my deck! We’ve been hearing about the importance of incorporating native plants into landscaping. Can you please explain the benefits? Janet: Bees are perhaps the most well-known pollinators in landscaping – without them, we are endangering our whole agricultural ecosystem. There are many other insects, however, that also pollinate plants. Thankfully, many homeowners and farmers are becoming aware of the dangers of unrestricted insecticides. Native plants thrive in these naturalistic insecticide-free environments. Because they are native, they are attuned to the environment they are planted in and are often naturally resistant to many of the pests we see in mixed gardens. Native plants also provide a habitat for insects and wildlife. Mary: At the Arboretum, we try to showcase native plants so that homeowners can learn to use them as alternatives for overused non-native plants that do not support the insects and birds that are native to our area. A good example of a non-native would be the thorny Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) which is commonly found in local landscape plantings and has proven to be invasive. As a possible substitution, Native Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is a similar plant that is not invasive, supports habitat for local wildlife and pollinators, and it is thornless. How can I become an Extension Master Gardener? Tim: We do a Master Gardener volunteer training once a year. The 50 hour training starts in January and runs one day each week for 16 weeks. Classes on soils, insects, botany, plant diseases, etc. are taught by a variety of instructors from Extension and the horticulture industry. Information on the training and how to become involved in the Extension Master Gardener program can be found on the local Master Gardener website, www.fc-mg.org or by calling Tim Ohlwiler at 540.341.7950 x 3. ❖

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local EXPERT

THE EXPERT: Klaus Fuechsel HIS EXPERTISE: Computers & Technology Klaus Fuechsel owns the local award-winning computer repair store Dok Klaus. He and his team deal with all kinds of computer issues; data preservation is one of their top priorities. You may contact Dok Klaus via phone 540-428-2376 or visit his website www.DokKlaus.com.

Digital Resolutions for the New Year PREPARE YOUR COMPUTER FOR A STRESS-FREE START TO 2019


T he beginning of the New Year is traditionally a time when people make resolutions toward positive habits and changes. This should include your digital life. Here are my suggestions for some things that you should consider to keep all your electronics shipshape for the New Year.


BACKUP I highly recommend using an external hard drive to backup all of your important data. Those drives currently cost less than $100, and, depending on the amount of data you need to include, even a $10 flash drive might do the job. It’s best to keep this backup disconnected from any computer or network; you could store it in a safety deposit box or special drawer at home. Then, in case your computer gets hit by an encryption virus or crashes due to a hard drive failure, your data is safe from theft or damage. In addition, I recommend creating periodical or regular data backups stored on another external hard drive or in the “cloud.” While you’re thinking of backups, don’t forget your cell phone. If you backup and then delete older photos and videos, this will free up space for new digital content.


UPDATES To start the New Year on your computer right, make sure that your operating system (such as Windows, MAC OS, IOS, or Android) is up-to-date, especially with the latest security updates. Depending on your system, such updates might be uploaded and installed automatically. You should also check your Antivirus protection software to make sure that it is active and up-to-date. And it doesn’t hurt to run a “full system scan” manually from time to time.


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CLEAN UP AND ORGANIZE Once you know your data is secured, you should declutter a bit. I would start with the desktop screen on your computer. I often see systems where the desktop screen shows a hundred icons and shortcuts, of which only ten are being used on a regular basis. Photos and documents on the desktop should be moved to corresponding folders such as “My documents” or “My Pictures.” You can arrange and move things the way you like, but a streamlined desktop layout will make working on your computer much easier and less stressful. Then also take the time to create sub-folders (and even sub-sub-folders) within your “My Documents” and “My Pictures” folders to properly organize all your files and photos, whether by date or subject. This will make it much easier to find things when you need them.


CREATE SAFE PASSWORDS I can’t emphasize this subject enough. Please keep your passwords stored somewhere safe, maybe on a document or print-out in your bank deposit box or a safe at home. At least once a year, it’s a good idea to change the passwords you use most frequently. At least make sure you are not using the same password for multiple accounts, which can make it easier for hackers to make trouble for you. In addition, I recommend using a password storage program such as 1Password or Dashlane. But make sure you don’t forget the password to get into this software! (You need to put that one in the safe, too!) Once you have logged into the program, you have access to all of your passwords, and depending on the program, the password will be even automatically inserted wherever needed in your browser.


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EMAIL And don’t forget to declutter your email system. Thousands of emails are just too unwieldy to sort through when looking for something. Apply the same principle you used with the documents: create subdirectories (or labels in Gmail) and move emails that belong together into certain categories, directories, or labels. And delete emails that you don’t need anymore. Wouldn’t it be nice to begin the New Year with a trimmed down inbox?


ORGANIZATIONAL SOFTWARE While I am on the subject of organizing content, perhaps it’s time to try a time organizer program or calendar software. They are usually pre-installed on your devices. I use the Google calendar, but also “sticky notes” that came free with my Windows computer. They look like the colored paper sticky notes you can buy, but are now programmed to work on the desktop. Really neat. Once you’ve finished backing up, cleaning, organizing, securing, and updating your computer and devices, you’ll be ready to tackle your work and enjoy your digital life with a cleaner system that’s ready for a year’s worth of new data. ❖




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N E W Y E A R , N E W Solutions

Tech decorating

Cords, chargers and shredders! Oh my! BY BRIDGETT WILSON


ou’ve all seen it: the charge cords dangling from kitchen countertops. The home office overrun with electronics equipment. The family room with cords, well, everywhere. So, how do you have beautiful rooms that incorporate technology? As a professional decorator and home stager, I have solutions.


Take that Amazon Alexa or Google Home. Want to make it look good on your kitchen countertop? Make a vignette around it. Vignettes, which are small groupings of objects, have the dual ability to feature pretty décor pieces and disguise everyday things like technology, all at the same time. How to implement this? In my kitchen, I plugged our Alexa into an outlet at the


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About the Author: Bridgett Wilson, of the eponymous Bridgett Wilson Designs, specializes in small-scale decorating projects, home staging, and paint color consultations throughout northern Virginia. A mom to two grown daughters, she lives in Gainesville with her husband and their very fun Belgian shepherd. You can find her at bwilsondesigns.com.

end of the counter. Then, I carefully rolled the excess Alexa cord and placed it behind a decorative, raw-edge, cutting board that rests on the counter and leans against the backsplash. Add a piece of art and a cute bowl, and voilá. You have a nice-looking vignette with your technology incorporated into it.


For cell phone chargers in kitchens, I first recommend a little planning. Choose a dedicated, out-of-the-cooking-space location and upgrade the current outlet to an electrical outlet with USB. It’s under $30. Now, you’re ready for, you guessed it: a vignette. Add a tray, a small lamp, and a real (or faux) plant by your new outlet, and you have a pretty charging station. The tray corrals the electronics and the vignette elevates the look. In family rooms, I like to analyze how people live. For example, in my house my husband has a favorite chair. He loves his chair and always sits there. This lets me plan



a personalized electronics station for him. Right next to his chair there’s a dedicated power strip for his laptop, cell phone, and e-reader cords. They are all rolled up in a decorative box with a lid. The box has wide handle openings built in, so cords come out through these spaces as needed, and the lid stays on. This eliminates piles of charging cords from plain view, while keeping everything handy. My other tip is: extra-long charger cords. Buy one the color of your favorite chair or side table (depending on where you want to put it) and watch it melt into the space with some careful placement behind furniture legs. Mine matches my sofa. We just had house guests, and they didn’t even realize my charger was in the room.


Moving to the office, it’s a great idea to cut down on some of the visible electronics that, when you think about it, don’t really need to be visible. My solution is baskets. For example, take a tall, fairly large, wicker basket with a lid (open handle spaces woven into the sides work best). Place your shredder inside it and loop the cord out through the handle opening. Pop the lid back on the basket and you have visually eliminated the shredder, while still keeping it handy. The key to all these suggestions: tuck those cords. Then sit back and admire your beautiful rooms. ❖

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N E W Y E A R , N E W Thrills


n a recent visit to Vertical Rock Climbing and Fitness in Manassas, the atmosphere could best be described as “controlled energy.” A view from the front desk reveals dozens of climbers slowly spidering their way up the walls — huge floor-to-ceiling climbing structures that dominate the warehouse-sized building. Coaches offer light instruction to teams of junior climbers as they take turns reaching for the next climbing hold. Several folks equipped with harnesses tentatively pick their way upward, secured by cable to a belaying partner on the floor. Elite athletes move vertically — and then horizontally — along a route of impossible-looking climbing holds. Every now and then, one misses a hand- or a foot-hold. Suddenly, they are swinging 30 feet up by their harness. There is an intensity here. Each climber is engaged in an individual struggle with gravity. But the sounds of excited conversation and shouts of


encouragement show that no one is really battling alone. Ian Colton, who owns Vertical Rock with his wife Lindsey, has worked hard to build a feeling of community. He calls the gym a “living room,” where people meet, share their passion and get healthy. “We have had people meet here and end up getting married. Others we lose because they come in here, overweight, maybe depressed, and rock climbing opens up what they think they can do. They change their thinking, change their lifestyle and move to Colorado!” Colton is certain that there is a rock climbing adventure waiting for anyone willing to try. How does someone start rock climbing? “Just walk through the door. We can handle whatever you want to do, climbing or fitness related. We have everything you need,” Colton said. He said that the “Learn the Ropes” class is a good place to start, or “Try an open climb. You get three climbs for $20, and an instructor is with you the whole

ABOVE: Vertical Rock Climbing and Fitness in Manassas offers rock climbing and fitness options for all — from beginners to elite athletes.


{ JANUARY 2019 |



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time. There is always someone here to help you get started.” Colton points to the bouldering area, home to “The Cave” and “The Arch.” A dozen or so climbers are practicing bouldering — a rope-free, lower-altitude option. The floor around the foot of these structures is heavily padded; falls are inevitable, but lower impact. “Bouldering is where a lot of folks choose to begin” he said. “You don’t need anything but a pair of shoes and a chalk bag. You don’t need a partner, but after a few minutes in the bouldering area, you are bound to start making friends.” Colton said, “Most people need encouragement to try the first time. We offer a ton of kids’ classes, teams and summer camps. We offer merit badge programs, birthday parties and overnight lock-ins. Parents bring their kids in and watch them climb. Before long, they want to try too. It’s very individual. It’s all about how you want to challenge yourself.” Director of Operations Rachel Nystrom said, “A woman in her 50s came in looking to fulfill a bucket list challenge. She tried an open climb and made


{ JANUARY 2019 |

it to the top all three times. She was really happy and took information on climbing and fitness classes.” Nystorm smiled as someone who has seen this scenario hundreds of times, “We expect to see her again.” Vertical Rock has been open for eight years and employs about 30 people. Colton said, “Most of our staff started climbing here. Their biggest driver is passion. They will talk for hours about carabiners and what kind of climbing shoes they like and why. They come here on their days off to climb. They get to know our customers and they give back with their passion.” For those who prefer an outdoor adventure, Vertical Rock hosts rock climbing trips. Local excursions include visits to Great Falls National Park in McLean or Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park. Colton arranges multi-day trips out west or up north, and also leads groups that are interested in ice climbing. Colton believes everyone should try rock climbing. “No matter how high you go or how hard, you can find your own challenge. And the byproduct is fitness.” ❖



CLOCKWISE FROM TOP, LEFT: Tara Delaney belays as her climber ascends the wall. Photo by Matthew Rakola. Justin Bridge makes another attempt after a lead climbing fall. A “fall” in this case means the climber falls a few feet, caught by the rope anchored to the wall. Makalea Kirkland warms up with an easy climb. Instructor Bri Black supervises as two new climbers double check their belay system before they begin to climb.

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N E W Y E A R , N E W Adventure

Find Yourself on the Edge of the World A Newfoundland hiking experience BY ANDREAS A. KELLER


hat’s what I was looking for — a hike on the edge of the world. Out of curiosity I googled exactly that and up popped the little known East Coast Trail in Newfoundland, Canada. It looked exactly like what I wanted, and I immediately started visualizing and wondering what it would feel like to hike this trail which ran along the rugged shoreline of the Atlantic Coast. The stunningly beautiful pictures of the East Coast Trail Guide found on the blog “Life in Newfoundland” confirmed that if you’re planning on hiking this trail you can look forward to breathtaking views, exciting wildlife encounters, hidden

coves, secluded beaches, and dozens of charming towns that can trace their history back to the early 1600s. And with that, I was hooked, and the planning began! The Plan At first I thought I could manage to hike the entire trail of 215 miles alone, but the longer I immersed myself into the research of local geography, trail conditions, elevation changes, weather patterns, water sources, resupply opportunities, possible tent places, and the possibility of meeting an 800 pound bull moose in rutting season, the more I questioned the wisdom of venturing out alone at my age with a 40 to 50 pound pack on my back. Everything I read indicated that it was a difficult excursion. Eventually a more feasible plan emerged: two days of travel to get there and back with six days of trail hiking. With a detailed spreadsheet, I approached Sander, “Life in Newfoundland” blogger and author of the bestselling East Coast Trail Guide, hoping that he would review my plan. To my utter astonishment, three days later, I received Sander’s many comments and suggestions as to how I could improve my adventure. He suggested I focus on more highlights,

spend less nights on the trail, and use B&Bs in quaint villages. He shared his intimate knowledge of Newfoundland and the East Coast Trail freely and willingly. I was humbled and grateful. Trail Angels do not only shine on the Appalachian Trail but can be found all over the world. My revised plan was much less ambitious, featuring mostly day-hikes with only two nights out on the trail. At this point I had a group interested in joining me, but as the planning progressed, many hikers were unable to commit except for one person — my son, Kevin, who began to label the trip as a Father-and-Son Bonding Experience. In working on more detailed planning for this bonding experience, I struck gold! All our logistics became simplified when we found Harbour House in Petty Harbour, Newfoundland. This gem offered a reasonable Hikers’ Package that included airport pickup, a two-bedroom apartment close to the hosts’ main house, delicious breakfasts, packed lunches, home-cooked dinners, daily drop-offs and pickups from the trailheads, and two of the most hospitable hosts, Shelley and Bernard, you could find! So we were set. We would be hiking in mid-September between the end of

the tourist season and, hopefully, before the beginning of harsh coastal weather in Newfoundland. But as time neared, weather reporters were tracking hurricane Florence and forecasting a likelihood of rains as far north as eastern Canada. Not a problem. We knew it's not about the weather — it’s about the gear! Change of Plans The first day at the first trailhead, it was a little more brisk and drizzling than we thought it would be. We put on warmer clothes and rain gear and took off climbing uphill. Soon we were leaning into the wind and pouring rains, watching our every step until we found ourselves excitedly on the edge of the world 300 feet over the Atlantic

on Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America. After taking in the expanse of this, our curiosity led us to explore every niche and corner along this beautiful trail. Taking lots of pictures while listening to the eternal waves of the ocean provided a sense of pioneering solitude, especially since there was not another soul on the trail. But we had planned for a day hike of about 10 miles and had hoped to finish in about five hours. Strong and cold winds, intermittent rain, boggy and slippery trails with many roots and rocks had slowed our pace. Many short but steep hills up and down required focus and attention to foot placement. What was meant to be a moderate day hike, intended to prepare us for more ambitious trail hiking to come, not only took much longer than expected but seeded doubts in my mind about backpacking in this treacherous, slippery terrain in the rain and wind with 40 pounds on our backs. Over dinner we decided to forgo backpacking and formulated a new plan that we titled “Let’s Play It By Ear.” An eagle and three laughing hiker girls The next day, sheets of rain kept us inside over a leisurely breakfast before

stay for the night, we watched them in awe as they disappeared into the fading day.

heading out at noon to the quaint fishing village of Quidi Vidi, a little sheltered corner on the East Coast. We explored the steep hills overlooking the small harbor, but after a couple of hours we took refuge from the cold winds and pelting rain at the province’s largest microbrewery, Quidi Vidi Brewery. From some trail workers, we heard about the nearby Sugarloaf Path, which had not figured in our original hike plan. They described it as one of the most beautiful hikes in the area. We decided to hike the full trail the next day, and it did not disappoint. It ran along the coastal ridge through low heath, and patchy, low growing conifers, circling deep gulches and leading to expansive viewpoints and magnificent overlooks. As we turned around a trail corner, we were surprised to see sitting on a rock ledge a large eagle looking us straight in the eye. When I fumbled to take my camera out for an epic shot, my hiking poles clattered to the ground and startled the eagle. He spread his wings, steering into the wind-stream that gracefully carried him so high that he slowly disappeared on the far horizon. Behind me I heard, “Dropping the poles was genius!” At the end of the trail while we were waiting for our pickup, we met three girls who were laughing and chatting as they came walking down the trail. They were on a 10-day backpacking trip on the East Coast Trail. Like us, due to the weather conditions they also had changed their plans by dropping their 50 pound backpacks and switching to day hiking for safety reasons. Kevin and I wholeheartedly agreed when all three of these happy ladies claimed that they never had a more wonderful hiking experience, bad weather and all. One even noted that she had to carry an extra leg. When Kevin looked puzzled, she pulled up her pant leg and part of her prosthetic leg became visible. As they moved on in search of a place to

The Angry Sea With the exception of one sunny day, we kept hiking mostly in wind and rain. But, strange as it may seem, the longer we were on the trail, the more exhilarating the hiking was. One one occasion, sudden sharp gales drove cold rain at us sideways as we climbed steeply uphill over wet rocks and boggy patches, resulting in two wet and freezing hikers. We helped each other pull on our rain suits and then ran down the trail at a fast pace to warm our bodies and avoid hypothermia. By the time we reached the ocean, the rain had lessened, but not the gusty winds which howled in unison with the angry sea and crashing rolling waves high up on the rocks. It was a spectacular experience to be witnessing and feeling the fury of the elements until we noticed the darkening of the sky and saw a huge wall of black clouds on the horizon moving towards us. There was no time to lose. We had to get out before this storm engulfed us. We retired to our cozy B&B, exhilarated by our experience that was strangely accentuated by the violent weather. And Then There Was Sunshine On our last hiking day the sun finally said “hello” to us and magically transformed the northern part of the Avalon Peninsula into the picture perfect

scenery all the colorful brochures had promised. The trails were dry and the sun was warming us. We were in paradise. Looking back, in spite of the weather and maybe even because of the weather, both Kevin and I would do it again. We were mostly alone with some of nature’s most boundless rugged elements, and we both agreed that we had never felt more alive. A father-son bonding experience for sure! ❖

{ JANUARY 2019 |




N E W Y E A R , N E W Reads

An Unforgettable Adventure An Interview with the Characters from Be: The Journey of Rol BY RIC COLEGROVE

Warrenton resident Ric Colegrove is the author of Be: The Journey of Rol, a story for pre-teens and teens—a tale of adventure and hope. Instead of printing an excerpt from the book for our readers, Ric offered to write a “mock interview” with some of the characters to give us a taste of the sometimesquirky personalities of those involved in the adventure. We hope you enjoy getting to know them and perhaps go on to read the book.


he main character, Rol, is a fourteen-year-old boy who finds himself alone facing a life-determining decision to travel the easy path or the long, difficult route to return home and reunite with his family. Rol chooses… well, you will have to read the book to find out. In the story, Rol encounters, among other interesting characters and creatures, traveling companions Kearth and Fhfyrd, whose relentless banter both entertains and

antagonizes Rol throughout his journey. In his quest, Rol is forced to confront internal and external obstacles, learning to rely on his positive attitude, as well as hope, for a successful outcome. Inspiration, values, faith, and thanking God for His blessings are components of this story, as are adventure, humor, and unique characters and challenges. Those who read The Chronicles of Narnia series and The Phantom Tollbooth, or books by Rick Riordan and Eoin Colfer, will enjoy the tale

of Be: The Journey of Rol. Our interview is with four of the main characters of the book: Rol, the young and adventurous hero of the story (although Kearth may argue that point); A. Loysius DaTerrin, the wise uncle of Rol who has a healthy respect for good socks and rainfruit; Fhfyrd, who describes his name in the following manner–“Pronounced Feared. It says about all that needs to be said about me. I’m Fhfyrd. Feared. Fhfyrd wherever I go.


I truly believe that someone, somewhere is praying for good books for their child: books that are engaging and appropriate for their child’s age level, without being edgy or trendy; books that provide a positive message and a reason to hope; and books that demonstrate good values and life lessons in a way that their child can relate to and appreciate. I believe that Be: The Journey of Rol is one of those books. — RIC COLEGROVE, AMAZON.COM


{ JANUARY 2019 |



Do I make myself clear? And the Fh is silent. Got a problem with that?”; and Kearth, who…well, let’s just say that Kearth is…er…uh…he’s… well, he’s Kearth. Enough said. We start with Rol, mainly because the story focuses on his journey, but also because DaTerrin is busy refereeing the discussion (argument) that just broke out between Kearth and Fhfyrd—the two usuallykinda-somewhat-friends who are about as similar as a chicken and chicken pox, neither describing the youths adequately, but providing just enough information to make you nod your head and scratch it at the same time. Interviewer: Rol, as the main character in the story, Be: The Journey of Rol, you went on a journey, right? Rol: Uh…yes. Really—that’s your opening question? Interviewer: Well, I thought I would start off easy. An icebreaker, to get things warmed up, if that makes any sense. And, honestly, I’m distracted by the shouts of “Am not!” and “Are, too!” from your friends over there. Rol: That’s normal. You get used to it. They don’t mean any harm. It’s their way of communicating, annoying as it is. Anyway, yes, I did go on a journey, and what a journey

it was. And is. I’m really still on a journey—through life—as we all are. Sometimes you go somewhere and sometimes you don’t. But you’re always going somewhere. Wow. I sound as wise (chuckle) as Uncle DaTerrin— maybe even wiser. DaTerrin: I heard that. Rol: What I mean is that you go through life—your journey—and it is amazing what you experience and discover and feel each step of the way. And it is important to embrace it all, because you can learn from it all. That’s something I know now. I had an opportunity to travel a far distance recently and I met some unique—to say the least—characters. Fhfyrd: I heard that. Kearth: I heard that, too. But I know he meant you, not me. If he had meant me he would have said “superior” or “amazing” or “heroic” instead of “unique.” Right, Rol, oldbuddy-old-pal? Fhyrd: If he meant you, he would have said a word that I’m not supposed to say, but I will anyway. It is… Rol: OK, let’s get back to the question. Or was it the answer? Anyway, my travels took me to places I never would have dreamed about and experiences that changed my life—forever. At least,

that’s what the back cover of the book says. And I agree. DaTerrin: I agree, also, young one. Your encounters with a faux-wizard, dragonhunter, standlinglings, bears, creatures of all types, strangers, helpers, and more were valuable life experiences, and I applaud your bravery and steadfastness. Kearth: I was steadfast, too. Wasn’t I? Well, wasn’t I? Um… what does “steadfast” mean, anyway? Although, I’m sure if Rol was that, then I was, too. DaTerrin: It means committed and reliable, steady and true. And if I say you were steadfast, can we continue on and let the interviewer interview? Kearth: Yes. Sure. Of course. I’m steadfast and I don’t want to be blamed for steadslowing anything down. Interviewer: Ahem. Yes. Well. I wonder if each of you can briefly summarize your experience in the story. Kearth: You really had toBethere. That was funny, wasn’t it? Fhfyrd: It was an honor to accompany Rol and Kearth through the unforgettable adventure, along with my trusty lyre. Smelton was a mess, and then it was amazing. The ruins hermit was undeniably hermitty. The Breathtaking Mountains were

{ JANUARY 2019 |

definitely breathtaking. The two blank pages still blow my mind. It was all…wow. DaTerrin: I wasn’t there the entire time, but from what I heard, hopelessness became hopefulness, strangers became friends, faith and a positive attitude overcame incredible danger and obstacles. And laughter was important through it all, whenever possible. Rol: It was a journey of a lifetime…so far. Interviewer: Thank you all for your time. It was… interesting. I’m sure everyone appreciates your words of wisdom, as well the other words you offered, which were…also interesting. And, for our readers, young and old—for more information, as well as games, a character blog, and more, visit thejourneyofrol.com. Find the book at Amazon.com or other retailers, and look for the next book in the series, coming this spring. And if our Virginia neighbor, Robert Duvall, happens to be reading this—Mr. Duvall, you would be the perfect actor to play DaTerrin in the movie (when a screenplay is written, and a director and producer and funding and other actors and a film crew and best boy and Foley artist, etc. are found). ❖




N E W Y E A R , N E W Discoveries

Fauquier Community Theatre Celebrates Its 41st Season


FCT’s significant involvement with the community and its professional approach to creative storytelling belie its deceptively small frame BY WILLIAM SCARING


any people familiar with Fauquier County know of the small, cinemastyled building in Vint Hill. It looks old, but there’s a timeless quality to it. It’s just been a fixed part of the community since the late 1970s. Commonly abbreviated as FCT, the small theater building on the hill is actually celebrating its 41st anniversary in the Fauquier County community this year. The Theatre has produced over 250 plays and musicals over the 41 years of its existence.


{ JANUARY 2019 |

The current Co-Director of the establishment, Christie Clark, has been working here for the past ten years. Beginning with no prior background in theater or performing arts, Clark found herself falling in love with the community theater scene when she came to see one of FCT’s performances, but noticed that the building wasn’t selling out all of its tickets, despite having obviously talented players. Ever since then, Clark has handled all of the advertisement, the



marketing, the ticket sales—everything that FCT needs in order to boost its attendance. It’s a numbers game from Clark’s angle—how many advertisements need to be sent out for a particular show, how many sponsors there are, and what expenditures need to be spent to get this show running. Just recently, she oversaw a $75,000 renovation to the building’s sound system and equipment, and will oversee another renovation for the lighting system in 2019.

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TOP, LEFT: Fiddler on the Roof: Marriage advice from beyond the grave! (Tevye: Walter Loope, Golde: Margo Heine, Fruma-Sarah: Barbara Szady). TOP, RIGHT: Fiddler on the Roof: If I were a rich man… (Tevye: Walter Loope, Golde: Margo Heine, the Rabbi: Jacob Lash). BOTTOM: Fiddler on the Roof: An old-world take on the Mamas & the Papas (The cast of Fiddler on the Roof)


{ JANUARY 2019 |

The energy in the building is one of growth, of breathing new life into old bones. When asked about her favorite part of working with FCT, Clark stated, “I may be in the business end, but the thrill of helping to put live theater on the stage, seeing the work that goes into a production from stem to stern, and the gift that the audience receives by seeing a show in action – that makes everything worth it to me.”



Clark isn’t the only one with only good things to say about FCT. Hillary Pierce is a mother of nine children and a longtime contributor to the theatre – 12 years to be exact – having worked on plays either as an actress onstage or as a crew member backstage. Her entire family is involved in the arts; among her children is a mix of actors, actresses, and musicians, many of whom have worked alongside her previously in FCT performances. She stated, “Being involved with FCT has given me so much. Not only do I love the fun of creating characters and sharing great stories with the audience, but I’ve developed some of my deepest friendships with folks I’ve met through FCT. It’s also been a great way to do things with my husband and my kids, or even as an outlet for this mom to have some ‘me time’, depending on the show.” More than anything, FCT is recognized as being an excellent provider of family entertainment for all generations of the family, whether that’s through allowing parents to escape the house to see a show for date night, or making it a family experience. FCT gives many kids in the community the chance to act when they might otherwise not have the opportunity. The theatre keeps itself busy training the new actors of the community through summer camps and youth development events. “Summer is devoted to the children,” Clark stated, with a hint of pride in her voice. Children who enroll in the summer camps are taught acting, costuming, stage work – everything that they may need to spark an interest that may keep for the rest of their lives. FCT

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TOP: White Christmas: Don’t we all love a piano? (Judy: Corinne Knight, Phil: Jonathan Caron) BOTTOM: Into the Woods, Jr.: What you feel when you’re talking to your meal. (Little Red: Mary Ellen Underwood, Wolf: Ava Pastor)


There are many ways to get involved with FCT. If you like to sing, act, design sets, or play in the orchestra, there’s a place for you! But there are many other opportunities, too. It is a great way to meet nice people, and work together to bring something good to the community. AUDITIONS BY CHRISTOPHER COLVIN


{ JANUARY 2019 |



works constantly with other local groups, including Fauquier Community Daycare, Allegro Community School of the Arts, the Warrenton Ruritan Club, and more, in an attempt to keep the torch burning bright for the next generation. This theatrical season is filled with several shows worth going to see. These included Steel Magnolias and She Loves Me last year. 2019 shows will include The Lion in Winter in January, As You Like It in March, and My Fair Lady in May. Clark is extremely excited to be showcasing My Fair Lady this spring, as it hasn’t been shown at FCT since 2003. The theater group has a tradition that no show may be performed more than once every ten years or longer. At first that seems sensible enough, but there’s also a pressure in that statement, an urgency to leave a good lasting impression, but also ensuring that the group moves on smoothly to new content after every show. The energy of new growth continues onward into the performances as much as it does into the building itself. Many people who see FCT from a distance may not quite fully realize the impact that this place has had on the community and its residents. As a Warrenton resident myself, I can’t say how many people have mentioned a show at FCT that they just recently saw, and how much

they enjoyed going to see it. The way that FCT has interwoven itself with the county community and its members is nothing short of remarkable. Similar to a childhood story where the main character discovers a house that is much larger on the inside than it appears on the outside, FCT’s work with the community and its approach to creative storytelling belies its deceptively small frame. It has encouraged growth and new life in the surrounding towns for 41 years now, and for all the work they do, I’m sure that they will stay for at least an easy 41 more. ❖


Auditioning for a show can be scary. Just remember that the directors all want you to do your best and succeed. We try our best to make the experience fun and a time to meet new people. But there are things that you should know. Each director for each show may need to see and hear things in a different manner. This means that you should check the audition announcement carefully. For a straight (non-musical) play you will probably be asked to do cold readings from the script. Occasionally, you may be asked to prepare a short monologue to perform. For a musical, you will be given some pretty specific information about selecting and performing your audition song. You may be given a type of song to perform, a way to perform (with or without accompaniment or tracks), and a time to come depending on your age range. You will generally be asked to learn a short dance routine with a group and perform that. The audition form and sometimes a rehearsal schedule is generally available online. These should be downloaded and completed prior to auditions. We love all our performers and hope that you will join us for a show in the future. —Fauquier Community Theatre



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Studies in Leisure Recreation and Outdoor Leadership Program at Lord Fairfax Community College BY AIMÉE O’GRADY


o you love the outdoors? Ever dreamed of working in the recreation industry helping people have fun? There’s a program at LFCC for you! This might be the most fun you’ve ever had in school. Imagine earning an associate degree by spending some of your classroom time in the great outdoors. Hiking, canoeing, exploring the Shenandoah Valley, and similar activities are all part of the curriculum for LFCC’s Recreation and Outdoor Leadership programs, which can prepare you for a career in the hospitality or parks and recreation industry. As a community college, Lord Fairfax Community College works at creating curriculum for students to prepare them for careers found within our region. A growing sector is the recreation industry. In its third year, the Recreation and Outdoor Leadership Career Studies Certificate and the Associate of Arts and Sciences in General Studies with a concentration in Recreation and Outdoor Leadership programs have been tailored to assist Stacey Ellis students interested in careers in tourism and recreation. The college selected the perfect instructor for the program. Stacey Ellis has been working at LFCC for eight years. During the 2016/2017 school year, she was given the opportunity to run the Recreation Programs under the title of Associate Professor of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. “The creation of these programs developed organically in curriculum discussions,” says Ellis. With an associate degree with a concentration in Recreation and Outdoor Leadership, students can


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Meet LFCC Recreation and Outdoor Leadership student

Sarah Derflinger


find work in hospitality, tourism, public recreation and park administration, sports management, camp management, and other degree tracks. They can also go on to a four-year degree. “An agreement with Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, ensures students that all of the associate credits transfer to a four-year program at the university, if they elect to continue their education,” she says. Although the formal agreement exists with Shepherd University, students may pursue four-year degrees at any school of their choice. The first class in the program is taught online. “The Introduction to Recreation, Parks & Leisure Studies course is an introductory level class intended to give


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Twenty-three-year-old Sarah Derflinger, a 2013 graduate of Culpeper County High School, is currently in her third semester studying in the Recreation and Outdoor Leadership program at LFCC. She works as a facilitator for the Ground Works project held by Goodwill of Culpeper at Verdun Adventure Bound in Rixeyville, a position she obtained through her connection with Stacey Ellis. Verdun teaches things such as leadership skills, communication skills, and teamwork using what is called an “Outward Bound” style of teaching to work with groups and help them achieve their common goal. She brings summer camps as well as daily groups through the program and challenge course (rock wall, zipline, big swing). After completing her Associate’s Degree at the college, she would like to move to a four year school to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in either environmental science or forestry. Her dream is to someday become a park ranger for a national park.

students an overview of the program. We offer this online to encourage people with even a little interest in the program the chance to see what it is all about,” says Ellis. From there, the courses are experiential and include a 32-hour practicum to give students hands-on experience. “We have developed relationships with local venues, such as Verdun Adventure Bound in Rixeyville, to give our students practical experience. In some cases, this has led to part time jobs,” says Ellis. The program’s highlights include study of the Leave No Trace program, canoeing/kayaking trips, hiking, backpacking and/or rock climbing, leadership development, event planning, and exploration of the Shenandoah Valley, to name a few.

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The course is already demonstrating strong enrollment with students straight from high school, mothers returning to complete their education, and older students looking at a second career. The program also has strong support from the community. “We established a Curriculum Advisory Committee to help develop the programs,” says Ellis. Patrick Workman, the manager of the Marshall Community Center, represents Fauquier County on the committee. “I wanted to be involved with this program, and recreation education at the undergraduate level in general, simply to provide information and access to future recreation professionals. Having gone through my graduate studies while working in the recreation industry, I noticed the need for updated curriculum but also practical education and experience. It is an exciting time to be involved with recreation. There will always be the need for physical recreation but the development and integration of “technological recreation” has created new forms of e-based leisure that many of our residents engage in. I think because of this it is important for current recreation professionals to do their best to be involved with the education of future professionals and share information as the industry continues to change,” Workman says. The programs have strong ties to the Fauquier Community. “Having a school like LFCC recognize the need for a program in this area of study is a major advantage for the local areas these students could someday serve as recreation professionals. There are many different recreation fields available, ranging from parks to aquatics to therapeutic recreation. Access to a program like this early in someone’s education can help jumpstart a great career. I think there will be a major call to action in the coming years for high quality recreation programs and facilities, and with the help of programs like LFCC, organizations such as Fauquier County Parks and Recreation have a greater base from which to find qualified recreation professionals to help us accomplish our goals and serve the community,” says Workman. For Ellis, it is in her blood. The Clarke County native and Leave No Trace Master Educator lives near her family farm where she and her siblings were raised. When she isn’t teaching at Lord Fairfax, she is helping on the farm or cleaning out the Rod Hollow Shelter on the Appalachian trail with her two young sons, Jackson, age 11, and Brody, age 8. “This gives me a great balance,” says Ellis. “I teach the recreation program at LFCC and a hiking class at the Mountain Vista Governor’s School during the school year and spend my time off in the summer working outside,” she says. ❖ For more information visit lfcc.edu/recreation



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Focusing on Family, Church, and Community Megan LaChance, Director of Children’s Education, Warrenton United Methodist Church STORY BY HANNAH SAMLALL PHOTOS BY KARA THORPE


ith the way she exudes grace and patience, it’s hard to tell that Megan LaChance, Director of Children’s Education at Warrenton United Methodist Church, is easily the busiest woman in Warrenton. On a warm Tuesday morning at Great Harvest Bread on Main Street, she shared details of her personal and professional life and how, really, they are one and the same. “My life is either at the church or taking care of my children,” she said matter-of-factly. It’s clear that her children are paramount in her life, but that the children in the community are also a priority. For Megan LaChance, Warrenton has always been home. LaChance was raised here, attending P.B. Smith Elementary, Warrenton Middle School, and Fauquier High School, and eventually heading off to college at nearby University of Mary Washington. After graduating from college with a degree in Children Psychology and Elementary Education, it was only natural for her to make the move back to the place she’s always called home. And there is one specific place in town that has


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shaped her life — the Warrenton United Methodist Church. All of her life, her family was heavily involved with WUMC. Her parents were on different committees and helped out with the youth group while she was growing up. Beginning when she was in middle school, LaChance began volunteering in the nursery. Both her mother and grandmother were teachers, so it was almost as if a passion for working with children came second-nature to her. After her second child was born 17 years ago, she was hired to run the nursery on Sunday mornings. LaChance was eager to start the role, since she had two little ones of her own.



Life has been a whirlwind of blessings since then. She is now the Director of Children’s Education at the church and super-mom to four children, ages 17, 16, 13, and 9. Of course, they take after their mom when it comes to being involved with the church. “It’s their second home,” LaChance said. “My daughter sings. My sons help with the tech aspects of the service and they all help out with Vacation Bible School (VBS) and summer camps.” As Director of Children’s Education, LaChance is also in charge of running the WUMC preschool. Between all of the programs, she has about 55 staff members, both paid













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“What would help out local families? Do they need a skating rink? A tutoring facility? A coffee shop? We’d love to be able to help out more with the community’s needs.”

and volunteer. Many of them are moms of children who have gone through the programs in the past. “God has brought me the people we need to be able to serve him and serve our community,” LaChance said. “They’re all so amazing, loving, flexible, and understanding. They have so much patience.” LaChance is not only heavily involved with the church, but the community as well. She is in charge of and part of several different programs, with the goal of assisting as many children and families as she possibly can. Running the nursery made LaChance realize the high demand for childcare in Warrenton, not just on Sundays, but all week long. That being the case, she made the


{ JANUARY 2019 |

decision to start Kingdom’s Kids, a flexible child care program, as a way for parents with young children to run errands on their own time so that when they are home with their kids, they can fully focus on spending time with them. When the program started, it was available just four hours a week. The demand was so high that the program grew rapidly and now runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., five days a week. Between heading the nursery, the preschool program, summer camps, as well as being in charge of the children’s ministry programs, you’d think LaChance would be maxed out. But she hasn’t stopped there. In 2016, she took over the Running Club at Brumfield Elementary. They run in the mornings when



it’s warm enough, and in the winter they have games in the gym before school. She also formed a partnership with the local Parks & Recreation Department and now assists them with their community events that they hold throughout the year. In terms of growth, LaChance, of course, has big plans and dreams. She hopes to eventually offer scholarships for the preschool and Kingdom’s Kids programs. At the top of her list is connecting with the local family shelter in order to provide childcare for parents who are in the process of looking for work. “I would love for WUMC, as a church, to expand into the community,” LaChance said. “What would help out local families? Do they need a skating rink? A tutoring facility? A coffee shop? We’d love to be able to help out more with the community’s needs.” LaChance has worked at attaining more skills that would help her achieve her goals of assisting in the community. She recently participated in the Leadership Fauquier program, an organization whose mission is to foster a community of collaborative leaders. “I wanted a good foundation of management and leadership skills,” LaChance said. “I wanted to be able to look at what’s already great, so that we can support that and also focus on what’s lacking and figure out how we can improve on that.” Long story short, LaChance is on the move and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In the future, she has dreams to help minister to families in need. She mentioned that one day she’d even like to become a foster parent. Thank you for your service to the community, Megan! We can’t wait to see what you do next. ❖



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NEW YEAR, NEW Discoveries

Looking tothe Past Starting genealogical research BY PAM KAMPHUIS


as researching your family tree something you’ve always meant to do, but never got around to? Make it a New Year’s resolution this year...there’s no better time than the present! We have all the information to get you started on the right track. Lifestyle sat down with Bill and Cat Schwetke, local genealogists and members and officers on the staff of the local Culpeper Minutemen Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution and Fauquier Court House Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, respectively. Bill has seven Revolutionary War patriots in his ancestry, and Cat has eleven, as well as a link back to a “witch” from the Salem Witch Trials, which, Bill says with humour, “explains a lot about Cat.” The pair have researched their own ancestries extensively, but also enjoy helping others do so as well on a volunteer basis. “We intended to become professional,” Bills says, “But the pro bono part became 100 percent of the business. And we’re very happy.”

step 1: Bill and Cat recommend, “Start with what you know, write it down. Names of parents, birthdates, marriage dates. If you know your grandparents’ dates, write them down. Then talk to your family, especially the older generations. Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it today, because they won’t be around forever. Go to see them or pick up the phone. They have a wealth of information in their memory, and maybe more written down in records tucked away somewhere. Keep an eye out especially for photos and family bibles.” Genealogy can be dry if you don’t do it right. If all you’re looking for is names and dates, it’s going to be pretty boring. You


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need to get into the stories, step into your ancestors’ shoes and see the world as they saw it. You have to bring it to life. “Get a sense of what the world was like when they were living,” Bill recommends. “What was it like to be them? Just sit down, talk to your relatives, gets dates and places, but also get the stories. You’re not going to be able to write fast enough. You might want to invest in a voice recorder.” step 2: Visit your local library. Both Fauquier and Prince William libraries have a wealth of resources and experts to



help your family research. Both libraries maintain subscriptions to online databases and services used for genealogy. The two principal ones are ancestry.com (available only at the library unless you subscribe personally, which can be expensive) and heritagequest.com (available at the library, or from home using your library card). In addition, the libraries maintain records or links to a plethora of other records and resources, including historical newspapers, in a variety of formats: digitized, microfilmed, or the old-fashioned way, on

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paper. In Fauquier, Vicki Ginter at the Warrenton branch and Mary Sue Marsh at the Bealeton branch can point you in the right direction for your research, and in Prince William County you’ll want to head down to the Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center (RELIC). Based in the Bull Run Branch of the library, the center is staffed with experts in local history and genealogy who can assist you. Additionally, they do informational programs on genealogyrelated topics about once or twice a month.

step 3: Record your facts in an orderly fashion. There are downloadable forms on the internet that can help you organize your information and determine what’s missing. The best way to begin is with a fivegeneration pedigree chart. Once you get past a few generations, you’ll probably want some software to help you organize your data. “Familysearch.org is a great resource,” says Bill. They will let you put a family tree up on their site for free. This will connect you with others doing similar research: as you put in your ancestors’ information, the database will look for matches, and will notify you if that ancestor is in the database already. This is a lucky find, since you may have hooked onto someone who has a lot of information about your mutual family tree. However, each person has only one record in the Familysearch database, and anyone can edit it. Now this is good, if someone else has correct information that can help further your research, but it can be bad if their data is incorrect. The other issue with Familysearch is that its printing capability is very limited, so you can’t really print your trees or reports. Therefore your next step is to invest in a genealogy program such as Family Tree Maker, Roots Magic, Reunion (said to be good on Macs), or one of many others. So the ideal situation is to use Familysearch for research, contacts, and ideas, then utilize a genealogy program for your personal records and notes, which will also enable you to print your data. step 4: Online research.

The thousands of online databases for genealogy (some free, some available only by paid subscription), are growing every day, and there’s a lot you can find from census records, military records, pension records, and many other sources. One subscription database that Bill has found very helpful is Newspapers.com, which permits users to search by name. The first thing to do is


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search for obituaries, for basic facts. After that, conducting more general searches can yield a lot of other information. Bill said, “I found an ancestor who had been invited to a next door neighbor’s 11th birthday party in a newspaper article. The article mentioned other relatives also, and I was literally able to prove an ancestor based on that article.” But, Bill warns, you may not always like what you discover about your ancestors. “That’s part of genealogy,” he says. “You’ll find out some things you didn’t want to know, but you’ll also find an awful lot that you do want to know.”

step 5: Offline research. As Cat says, “The internet is great, but it’s not a substitute for talking to people or visiting the places of your past and really feeling the history. It’s an incredible feeling to know that you’re walking where your ancestors actually walked and seeing the world through their eyes. Always go to the location. I don’t care if it’s clear across the country, go there.” She explains, “ We went to Kentucky to do some research. We visited the local historical society, and the lady there took me to all the family cemeteries where my family members are. One of them was on a privately owned farm, and she coordinated with the farm owner so we could visit the grave, which was in a little family plot. She told us all sorts of stories about the area. That trip alone was worth everything.” dna testing The Schwetkes recommend getting your DNA tested, as well as the DNA of your older generations, even if you don’t intend to do anything with it right away. “In the future, you will deeply regret not having done it,” says Bill. He adds, “For about $50 you can get a good, reliable test. There are four DNA tests available: X, Y, autosomal, and mitochondrial. Autosomal is the best bang for the buck to start with. The company will keep your DNA on file in case you want to do further testing.” In addition, it will add your data to its database, search its population for matches, and then tell you what they’ve found. “You may get a match with a distant cousin,” says Bill. “In that case, number one, you’ve found someone in your family who is also interested in family history. Number two, they may have information you don’t have. They may even have the family bible.” genealogical societies Genealogical societies are eager to help people discover



a few words of caution Genealogy was all the rage in Europe in the 1800s, and many families paid genealogists to trace their family trees. Unfortunately, much of this research is unreliable since the genealogists were trying to please clients by “finding” noble or royal ancestors. Also, there are many family trees out there, on many different databases, and many have errors in them. As with facts in the rest of the world, remember that just because you read it on the internet doesn’t make it true. The bottom line: Consulting others’ family trees online is an excellent place to start and get ideas for where to go next, but there’s no substitute for your own research.

online research There are thousands of websites out there with genealogical information. Where to go first? How to start? Which ones are the most useful? Try starting with these: Familysearch.org (free) Newspapers.com (by subscription) Fold3.com (military records) (by subscription) Findagrave.com (free) Ancestry.com (by subscription or free in-library use)

their ancestry, and there are plenty of them out there: the Daughters of the American Revolution, Sons of the American Revolution, United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Jamestown Society, and the Mayflower Society are just a few. Membership in these groups is contingent on proving your lineage back to a qualifying ancestor. Sound hard? It’s not impossible. If you are interested in researching your family history and/or joining a genealogical society, contact your local DAR, SAR or DoC chapter for help. But be warned: “Genealogy is addictive,” Cat says. “It will draw you in and before you know it you’ll be online at 3 a.m. following a lead.” ❖

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local EXPERT


Mark Luna is a Portfolio Rep for Roanoke Valley Wine Company. He has a Level 3 Advanced Certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) and is a member of the prestigious Wine Scholar Guild, where he’s finishing his Italian Wine Scholar post-nominal accreditation. Through and beyond his work for RVWC, Mark writes, teaches and guest-speaks about wine in a variety of both industry and privately held events. He lives in Nokesville with his family. For events, Mark can be reached at info@winespique.com.

N E W Y E A R , N E W Wines

If you make just one resolution, let it be this: Try new wines! BY MARK LUNA


nd just like that, 2019 is upon us. I have no doubt, and certainly plenty of hope, that it will be filled with just as many unexpected, great wine experiences as its predecessor. Now, if you’re like me, you’re in absolute disbelief that not only has another year has come and gone, but we’re nearly two full decades into the not-so-new millennium. Truth be told, this is my sixth new year that ends in the number 9, and the only real comfort that gives me is that the word nine rhymes with wine. I’ll take what I can get. Of course, no new year worth getting ready for starts without its long, thought out punch-list of resolutions, most of which were probably on last year’s agenda, to motivate and excite us for at least half of the first month, until the post-holiday routines of our pre-holiday lives settle back into their rightful place, keeping us on the winding, yet focused road of just getting through the week. But this is where a new wine can truly make any day of the year seem like New Year’s Day. And at the very least, trying a new wine keeps your curiosity alive and your senses on call, hopefully giving you that oneof-a-kind feeling that no matter what time of year it is, there’s always a new beginning. So, to kick off this new (and final) teenage year of the century, I’ve chosen some wines that are of old grapes, but


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perhaps brand new to the nascent wine lover. They’re unique and untypical in both name and profile, simultaneously historical and hip in all the right ways. Godello is a 19th century, white-wine grape that hails from the province of Galicia, in northwest Spain. Within Galicia is a small appellation called Valdeorras (Valley of Gold, in Latin), where godello shines brightest. Adding to its allure is the fact that beyond Galicia, one would be hard-pressed to find this varietal growing with any significance, minus a few tiny parcels in northern Portugal, where the grape is called gouveio. In Galacia, however, godello is a rock star… and it’s going on tour. If there’s one bottle that epitomizes godello, it’s Bodegas Avancia Godello 2016. Spanish wine importer/legend Jorge Ordonez was the first broker to introduce godello into the United States; and for many years, he was the only merchant offering a wine made from this outstanding grape. There are many other producers now, but no real rivals. A small estate, Bodegas Avancia is both organically and dry farmed, and the Godello 2016 reflects this completely. Handcrafted from a century old vineyard, with low-yielding vines that grow on a steep, arduous slope. Its color is a gorgeous feint gold, with floral and yellow fruit aromatics. One the palate, this wine envelops you with

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both marked acidity and roundness. There’s some oak aging here, though the grape can be produced without it, giving you a richer, fuller mouthfeel. Still, Bodegas Godello 2016 is fresh, lively and very exciting to drink, either by itself or with an array of foods such as soft cheeses, assorted greens and virtually any seafood you want. A great winter white wine priced around $32, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. Last April, I wrote about a great Cabernet Sauvignon from the family owned and operated winery Kiona, in the Red Mountain AVA of Washington State. This month, we visit them again, but this time featuring another wine of theirs, made from one of the coolest varietals around, Lemberger. Lemberger is a red-wine grape with origins in the Franconia region of today’s Germany; in fact, on the global wine stage, it’s most commonly referred to as Blaufränkisch, meaning "blue wine of Franconia." The more common name in American viticulture, lemberger, arose in Germany because during the 19th century, the wine was imported from Lemberg, a location in Lower Styria (now a part of Slovenia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire). It’s widely believed that the grape's history extends back to the middle ages, though first documentation of it was not until 1862. Kiona Vineyards and Winery produced the first commercial bottling of lemberger in the United States, in 1980. Thirty-nine years later, their Kiona Estate Red Mountain Lemberger 2016 is the consummate example of a great winery giving a Below: Since 1896, truly unique varietal the Marenco family not only a chance has been making to succeed, but a beautiful, terroir driven wines. place to call home.


{ JANUARY 2019 |

The original plot of lemberger was a mere 1.8 acres. Today, it stands at 13.1 acres, a testament to the Kiona’s commitment and lemberger’s will. A ‘typical’ lemberger doesn’t really exist, as it can be produced in two very different styles: the first, a cooler climate, Pinot Noir-esque wine, lighter and more finessed in style and approach; and second, a strong, full-bodied wine that can drink like a California big zinfandel. What’s common to both is a bluish-red color and a subtle spicy characteristic, both aromatically and on the palate. Kiona Estate Lemberger 2016 is indeed the latter style, as the Red Mountain heat doesn’t hold back. As a result, all the markings are there for a strong red wine, with dark fruit flavors such as black cherry, blackberry and red currant splashing all over the place, and that unmistakable note of spice. It’s not overtly tannic, but can be an ageworthy wine, though you’ll want to drink it now…besides, doesn’t the new year almost require it? Priced at a ridiculous $15, give or take, it’s also a steal. For quite a long time, my favorite wines have been - and still are - from Piemonte, Italy. Gorgeous grapes from timeless, stunning villages are what these wines are all about; and with ancient varietal names such as nebbiolo, barbera and dolcetto for red wine, and arneis, cortese and erbaluce for whites, you can virtually taste the history in every sip. One such grape of Piemontese uniqueness is brachetto, a red wine varietal



Left: Kiona whose home is in Vineyards the village of Acqui Red Mountain Terme. Brachetto Lemberger. Right: tends to produce light At work in the bodied, highly aromatic Kiona vineyards, located in the Red wines with distinctive Mountain AVA of notes of strawberries, Washington State. raspberries and roses. In the DOCG region of Brachetto d'Acqui, the grape is used to produce a slightly sweet sparkling wine, akin to Lambrusco, and is sometimes referred to as the red Moscato d'Asti, one of Italy’s greatest dessert wines. My bottle of choice is Marenco Pineto Brachetto d’Acqui 2017. Since 1896, the Marenco family has been making beautiful, terroir driven wines. Giuseppe Marenco brought a modern approach to Marenco’s winemaking in the 1950s, expanding both their grape growing and wine producing efforts. Today, Giuseppe’s three daughters run the family business, presiding over 160 acres of vineyards, carrying on the family tradition and their father’s dream. Marenco Pineto Brachetto d’Acqui 2017 is a beautiful wine. It greets you with a light ruby color, somewhere between a red and rosé wine, and then surrounds your senses with candied red fruits and hints of orange peel. The effervescence is soft and foamy, as the fruit flavors ride a creamy mousse. It’s a very balanced, low-alcohol wine that can be thoroughly enjoyed before and after dinner. It’s perfect in its simplicity, but completely true to itself. It’s also as delicious as it gets. Priced around $20, it’s an excellent choice for the brand-new year. Check your local wine stores, not grocery stores, for the wines presented here; you can also reach me at info@winespique.com with any questions. Happy New Year and Happy Vino’ing! ❖




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WA R R E N T O N ’ S

Taj Palace Offering authentic Indian and Nepalese cuisine STORY BY PAM KAMPHUIS | PHOTOS BY KARA THORPE


f you like Indian food, you know how delicious and tongue-tingling it can be. If you’ve yet to discover it, you’re in luck because Warrenton is home to a fantastic Indian restaurant. Tucked away in the shopping center behind Marshalls, Taj Palace is a treasure just waiting to be discovered by those who already love Indian cuisine and those yet to become devotees. (And trust us, you will become a devotee!) Opened in the spring of 2017, the 84-seat restaurant offers both Indian and Nepalese fare. And if the restaurant’s Yelp reviews are any indication, the dishes at Taj Palace lack for nothing. “The meal was savory, succulent, and delicious, with a really nice balance of heat and flavor,” said one. “The food was filled with flavor, it was fresh, and every bite had me salivating for the next,” said another. “I think some people are afraid to try Indian food,” says owner Nepal Thapa.

“They think it’s all very different and spicy, but that’s not the case. A few dishes are spicy, but all the dishes, even the milder ones, are tender, flavorful meals made with fresh ingredients and herbs and spices.” About half of Taj Palace’s dishes are cooked Tandoori style, which means they’re grilled in a clay oven. The meats cook slowly and absorb the flavors in which they’ve been marinated. True, these dishes can take 10-15 minutes longer than others, but the mouthwatering results are worth the wait. Serving delectable, authentic Indian cuisine is of prime importance at Taj Palace and is surpassed only by the restaurant’s commitment to customer service. The spiciness on almost every dish can be adjusted to the customer’s taste, special orders are happily accommodated, and portion sizes/prices can be adjusted to the customer’s wishes. There are vegetarian

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I think some people are afraid to try Indian or Nepalese food. They think it’s all very different and spicy, but that’s not always the case. Some dishes are spicy, but all the dishes, even the milder ones, are tender, flavorful meals made with fresh ingredients, herbs and spices.” — OWNER NEPAL “PAUL” THAPA


gotta try...

If you’ve never tried Indian Cuisine, winter is the perfect time to do so. With its little touch of zing, Indian food can be extremely satisfying comfort food when it’s cold!

and vegan options, as well as a full bar with cocktails, wine, and Indian beer. Catering and delivery within the town of Warrenton is also available. The lunch buffet is a good way to sample the offerings at Taj Palace. It always serves the staples such as basmati rice, naan, curry, and tandoori chicken, but about forty percent of the items are switched out daily, giving customers a different experience each time they come in. Taj Palace enjoys introducing people to its native food, and recently catered a class at Warrenton Middle School that was studying India. The response was overwhelming. The restaurant received 34 letters of thanks from the students, who absolutely raved about the food. Taj Palace has participated in other foodrelated community events as well. “We definitely want to grow our business,” says Thapa, “but it’s not only about that, we want to help out in the community.” ❖


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Chicken Malai Tikka

Taj Tandoori Chicken



For first-time Indian restaurant customers The Butter Chicken, an extremely popular item, is a good dish to start with, being a tiny bit on the sweeter side and not as spicy. Also recommended are the Palak Paneer, which are flavorful fried balls of cottage cheese cooked with fresh spinach, and the mild version of the Himalayan Chicken Curry, which one Yelp reviewer said was “the most flavorful curry I’ve ever had.” Ready to get a bit more adventurous? Thapa recommends the Chicken Tikka Masala, and Lamb Rogan Josh. Already like super spicy food? Go for the Vindaloo, made with chicken, fish, or lamb. Will my kids enjoy Taj Palace? Absolutely! Kids love the Butter Chicken, the chicken wings, the boneless chicken kabob, and the Samosa, a fried pastry stuffed with steamed potatoes and chick peas. Favorite kids’ drink? The Mango Lassi, a mango smoothie. (Yes, it can be made into an “adult beverage” with the addition of vodka or rum!) And of course, the naan bread is always popular with children and adults alike.

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