THE GATE Y O U R
E N T R A N C E
Dress Like You Belong in the Winnerâ€™s Circle p. 1
How About a Splash of Grace With That Toast? p. 4
The National Sporting Library and Museum p. 6
L U X U R Y
L I F E S T Y L E
THE GATE—YOUR ENTRANCE TO A LUXURY LIFESTYLE
Welcome To The Gate
Your Entrance to a Luxury Lifestyle We are pleased to welcome you to the inaugural issue of The Gate. As our tag line suggests, we want this to be your introduction to a luxury lifestyle, full of good things, great ideas, entertainment and an awareness of how fortunate we are to live in a town—and a nation—where we can express ourselves freely and creatively. Middleburg is a beautiful, unspoiled historic village. While the lovely, shady streets and unique shops make this a truly special place, what drew us here and keeps us here is the character of the town—and that means the people who live here. Middleburg is filled with friendly, compassionate and dedicated citizens who are fiercely protective of the treasure that is this village—but who also welcome visitors and newcomers with open arms. The story of Middleburg reflects the growth of our nation, and the residents appreciate the rich history that it represents. In the pages of this online magazine, you will find stories that spotlight bits of that history, as well as features about current people, places and events in town. We’re also pleased to share with you some of our own expertise. Together, we have many years of experience in the apparel industry and we believe we have developed our own unique product built around a commitment to quality, style and—as always—a high level of customer service. We treasure our customers—it’s as simple as that. There is no greater pleasure for us than to have one of our loyal customers share their delight in our clothing and their appreciation of the care and concern we try to show every day. When you step through the doors of Duchessa, on Washington Street in Middleburg, you will be welcomed like a friend—and we hope that we will make new friends every day. Richard Allen Clothing is sharing space for now with Duchessa, and so we will be able to give you and your spouse the care and attention we believe you deserve. We are truly honored to be part of Middleburg, and The Gate is our way to say thank you to a village that has welcomed us and made us feel at home. We hope you enjoy it.
THE GATE ISSUE 1/2012
INSIDE THE GATE: 1
DRESS LIKE YOU BELONG IN THE WINNER’S CIRCLE
HOW ABOUT A SPLASH
THE NATIONAL SPORTING LIBRARY
HOW TO CARE FOR YOUR SUITS AND SPORT COATS
GRACE KELLY: THE TIMELESS STYLE OF
STORIES FROM MIDDLEBURG’S HISTORY: THE GREAT HOUND MATCH
OFF THE CUFF: MEN’S FASHION TODAY
THE OYSTER: LIVING UP TO ITS REPUTATION
GRACE WITH THAT TOAST?
AROUND THE VILLAGE BITS AND PIECES FROM THE VILLAGE
VOLUNTEERING: THE BEST GIFT OF ALL
PUBLISHERS Robin Cavanagh and Rick Bechtold
MANAGING EDITOR Genie Ford
ART DIRECTOR Joyce Woods
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR William Hanson
R ICHARD A LLEN C LOTHING • 100 E. WASHINGTON S TREET, M IDDLEBURG, V IRGINIA • 540-687-8898 www.duchessaofmiddleburg.com • www.richardallenclothing.com
CALENDAR JULY 2012: Duchessa: July is for our veterans. Throughout the month, Duchessa will donate $2 per transaction to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV)
AUGUST 2012: Duchessa: First weekend in August (3rd, 4th and 5th) is Middleburg’s annual Sidewalk Sale—up to 75% off. August 15: Fall fashion preview. Richard Allen Clothing: Ballin Trousers, John Partridge Outerwear
SEPTEMBER 2012: Duchessa: Sweater Swap—donate a clean and gently worn sweater and take 25% off a Fall 2012 collection sweater. All donated sweaters go to Women Giving Back (WEB). Richard Allen Clothing: Fall trunk show—Samuelsohn Clothing Company, Torino Leather Goods, Pantherella Socks, Scott Barber Sportswear
OCTOBER 2012: Duchessa: Windy Hill Fashion Show to benefit the Windy Hill Foundation. Richard Allen Clothing: Sweater trunk show—Eildon Hills, Fairway and Greene
NOVEMBER 2012: Duchessa: Black Friday holiday sale Richard Allen Clothing: Black and white promotion—tuxedo sale, and any suit or sport coat containing black and/or white.
DECEMBER 2012: Duchessa: Charity of Choice Month—5% of all purchases go to our customers’ charities of choice.
DRESSING FOR THE WINNERS CIRCLE:
Duchessa of Middleburg Takes Shopping for Race Fashions to the Finish Line! For those who love feminine designs, the dress has returned—and none too soon! Duchessa of Middleburg has an abundance of lovely garments to choose from that will suit every age and figure—and everyone is certain to find a winner among the shop’s many designers. Duchessa’s dresses are made in America by Sara Campbell, Bigio and Melly M and are turning up at the most influential tailgate gatherings and Hunt balls. THE GATE/2012/ISSUE 1
Feminine, fitted or floaty are the three best ways to describe the choices todayâ€”and every one of these dresses makes a lovely statement on race day. New designs for this season are extraordinarily beautiful and can be paired with a fabulous hat to make the perfect derby debut.
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Recently, the Middleburg Mad Hatter enchanted the lovely boutique with dramatic hats and fascinators. Patty Milligan Bates, A.K.A “The Middleburg Mad Hatter,” embellishes vintage and new toppers with a unique whimsy of flowers, birds, netting, ribbon and even seashells. The hats are sprinkled throughout the shop. These Middleburg Mad Hatters works of art are featured and can be purchased throughout the Spring and Fall race seasons. Race Fashions in the Years past… Dressing up for the races is nothing new. In 1901, a journalist from the Louisville-Courier described the scene this way: “The seats in the grandstand were filled with gaily dressed women and men. The mass of green, pink, red, yellow, blue—all the colors of the rainbow—blending into one harmonious whole was as beautiful a sight as His Eminence in the lead.” In those days, and well into the middle of the 20th century, ladies often carried parasols and wore gloves as well as hats. Over the decades and now into the 21st century, the persistent trend has been bigger, flashier, wilder hats. Hemlines
went up, of course, as did the height of those heels. In defense of practicality, however, we suggest having stylish flip flops or rubber boots stashed in your handbag in case you find yourself slogging through mud on a rainy spring afternoon. Racetrack Vs. Steeplechase There is, of course, a world of difference between the traditional racetrack, with its grandstands, infield and betting windows, and the steeplechase, usually held on grassy fields with the course surrounded by tents and tailgaters. At a steeplechase event there’s always lots of good food, cocktails and wine and, of course, well-dressed, beautiful people. Although there are also plenty of people who dress like they just came from the barn or the bowling alley, a steeplechase is an occasion to dress up with an extravagance that is seldom adopted at other times. Beautiful dresses, outrageous hats, and a handsome man on your arm allow you to make your own unique fashion statement. It’s also great fun, especially if the weather cooperates and the day is glorious. On the major race days, such as the Kentucky Derby, most people pull out all the stops when it comes to choosing what to wear. This season’s styles are perfect for days like this, when pastels or bright colors adorn the grandstand or the field. Of course, wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is a time-honored tradition, and many believe a hat will bring good luck. Derby day is also one of those times when there’s no reason to hold back! What Comes First? What comes first—the hat or the dress? We say pick something you love and build your outfit around it. If that’s a hat, fine, but here are a few guidelines just in case: •
If your hat is busy, that is, if it’s heavily embellished or patterned, keep the dress simple.
If the hat is simple, go wild with the dress.
If outrageous or funky is the look you’re seeking, go for it. Just try to keep the hat and the dress on an equal footing.
For some, what they wear to the racecourse is more important than the horses running, but whether you choose to dress to the nines or go as you are, the races are a wonderful way to spend a day outdoors. Our only request: Do it with style!
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HOW ABOUT A
SPLASH OF GRACE WITH THAT TOAST? To most of us, when drinking with companions and the time comes for a toast, we simply raise our glasses and say cheers, salud, or the equivalent thereof. The days of long, eloquent toasts seem to be over for most of us. But on those rare occasions when we are asked to say more, we can find ourselves paralyzed with fear, our minds a blank screen, and what is likely to follow will be gibberish—if we’re lucky. If we’re unlucky, we may say something so cringe inducing that the mortification can last years, especially since our friends and families are not
STEVE MCQUEEN KNEW HOW TO MAKE AN ELEGANT TOAST, and it helped that he also knew how to dress with style.
For example, here is a well-meaning but embarrassing toast by a best man at a wedding: “To the bride and groom: 60% of marriages end in divorce and the rest…you live happily until death. Here’s hoping you die.” Or this one, when the person making the toast found himself geographically challenged: “To peace in the Midwest.” What? Is there war in Wisconsin? No, what he really meant to say, which only becomes clear after some contemplation, is “here’s to peace in the Middle East.” Even heads of state can get in trouble. In Britain, the loyal toast is a toast to the Sovereign. It is just simply the words “The Queen,” and after that the British National Anthem is played and one should not drink or raise one’s glass until it has finished playing. Apparently no one in White House protocol told President Obama that, because he confused a toast for a speech during a state banquet in England in 2011, and talked over the orchestra as they played “God Save The Queen.” When words are not carefully chosen, no amount of enthu4
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likely to let us forget it! siasm can make up for the gaffe, as in this toast to a joyful evening: “Here’s to good friends. Tonight is kind of topless.” We’re pretty sure that all those at this event were fully dressed, and that perhaps what the celebrant really meant was that there wasn’t much that could top this evening—and that’s what he should have said. Giving a great toast is always a challenge. Depending on the setting, the wedding of your best friend for example, the stakes can be high. You want your toast to be appropriate, to be poignant or moving, inspirational or funny—or all of those things at once. Make a commitment to yourself to be a little old-fashioned—that is, to add some grace and graciousness to everything you say. If you do, chances are you won’t go wrong. Here also are some basic rules you can follow that should keep you out of trouble. Don’t rush the toast, which is something nervous speakers often do. If you find yourself getting emotional, try counting
Steve McQueen’s relaxed elegance seems to be making a comeback.
backwards from one hundred and that may distract you long enough to get your emotions under control. Take some deep breaths and speak slowly. Rehearsing in advance can be enormously helpful. If you decide to tell a story, be careful. Humor is fine; humiliation is not. A story can be funny but it shouldn’t be embarrassing. Never, ever tell a story at a wedding about former partners of the bride or groom. At a graduation party, don’t talk about past academic difficulties. No swearing, name-calling or insults, either—this is a toast, not a roast. Avoid slang. Avoid clichés. The toast is not about you. You might be in the spotlight for the moment, but you should shine that light as much as possible on the subject of the occasion. Start by saying what the object of your toast is. For example, you start by saying “we’re gathered here tonight to honor Jack Spratt, who is leaving us after 50 years of dedicated service.” Then you give them the highlights of those 50 years, as briefly and succinctly as possible. If this is a formal event—a wedding, graduation, birthday celebration—and you know in advance you will be responsible for making the toast, write it down ahead of time. Mark Twain, the master of the pithy remark, once said that a
good, impromptu speech can take about three weeks to prepare, so keep that in mind. Try to memorize it so you don’t have to read it, and only refer to your notes if you really need them. Speak from the heart; if you can’t do that, then decline ahead of time with graciousness so the host or hostess can find someone else. Follow the KISS rule—keep it short and simple. It’s best to go no more than a couple of minutes or your audience will get restless or bored. Please don’t bang on the glass to get people’s attention. Ask for some help in getting the room to settle down. At a wedding the DJ can provide that service. If you must, say in a loud, commanding but friendly voice, “May I have your attention please,” and say it more than once if necessary. Make eye contact with the person or people being honored. Don’t rely on liquid courage—there’s nothing worse than a drunk giving a toast. It’s usually embarrassing to everyone and when the toast giver sobers up, he or she is going to have to live with a pretty mortifying memory. Always end on a positive note. Raise your glass to shoulder height to signal your audience that you are finished. If you’re on the receiving end, it’s considered a faux pas to drink when a toast is offered to you. In most cultures, you must not clink glasses after completing the toast. The ability to make a moving and memorable toast can reach the level of an art form. In Europe, especially in Germany and the Scandinavian countries, toasting is still an integral part of many meals, which often begin as well as end with a toast. If you find yourself abroad and required to offer a toast, try to do a little homework so you toast appropriately to the culture you are in. And when in doubt, you can always try Shakespeare: May a flock of blessings light upon thy back.
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Museum. The Museum opened in 2011 to much acclaim as people from around the country joined the celebration.
The National Sporting Library and Museum: A National Treasure in Middleburg Visitors to Middleburg, Virginia, in the heart of Hunt Country, will be delighted to find that the village has a fabulous treasure—the National Sporting Library and Museum, one of the premier centers of animal and sporting art and literature in the world. Even more exciting for the visitor, this wonderful trove is open to the public and admission is free.
History Open to researchers and the general public, the NSLM has been built and sustained by the generosity of collectors and donors. Foxhunter, sportsman, and philanthropist George L. Ohrstrom, Sr. and Alexander Mackay-Smith, editor of The Chronicle of the Horse founded the National Sporting Library. George L. Ohrstrom, Jr. became the guiding force for the first five decades. The Library was housed in the basement of the 1804 mansion, called Vine Hill, until John H. and Martha Daniels contributed their collection of more than 5,000 sporting books and it became necessary to build the 15,000 squarefoot Library in 1999. The collection of paintings and sculpture was rapidly expanding and included 15 paintings donated by Felicia Warburg Rogan. A renovation and expansion of the historic building was undertaken and the name was expanded to National Sporting Library and Museum in 2011.
Collections The Daniel’s collection comprises a major portion of the Library’s holdings. Other important donations include the extraordinary 205-volume Ludwig von Hunersdorf Collection, given
The NSLM is dedicated to preserving, sharing, and promoting the literature, art, and culture of equestrian and rural field sports. Founded in 1954, the institution has over 24,000 books and works of art in the collections. Nestled on a hill at the edge of the village, the National Sporting Library and Museum has two buildings. The first is the carriage-style Library built in 1999 to accommodate the expanding collection and protect rare books, some dating back to the 16th century. The second is an expanded and renovated 1804 mansion which is now the Sporting Art The National Sporting Library and Museum in Middleburg, Virginia.
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by the Ohrstrom Foundation; 102 sporting books from the estate of Harry Peters MFH; the famed Huth-Lonsdale Library, donated by Russell Arundel and his family; and more than 250 books from the heirs of Capt. Vladimir S. Littauer, who was a renowned proponent of forward riding. The F. Ambrose Clark Rare Book Room houses 16th century volumes on classical equitation, the first edition (1653) of Izaak Walton’s The Compleat Angler (with 90 subsequent editions), early American shooting and fishing books, and rare volumes of sporting art. The Library is strong in fiction. In The war-weary horse sculpture on the grounds of the Sporting Library honors the 1.5 million horses and mules that died in the Civil War. addition, it houses the papers of Harry Worcester Smith, Visit sportsman, author, and Masters of Foxhounds Association Located less than 50 miles outside of Washington, D.C., the founder, and a collection of early American sporting periodicals. National Sporting Library and Museum welcomes the general The Library’s online catalog of books, periodicals and general public as well as scholars. Admission is free. Library Hours: information can be found at www.nsl.org. The NSLM is a reTuesday-Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to search center rather than a lending library but visitors may 4 p.m. Museum Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. browse in the Daniels Reading Room. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. For more information, visit Images of hunting, racing, fishing, and shooting play an www.nsl.org , call 540-687-6542 or email email@example.com. important role in the culture of field sports. The National The National Sporting Library is located at 102 The Plains Sporting library and Museum collection of fine and decorative Road, Middleburg, VA 20117. arts includes portraits of famous race horses by Edward Troye and Alvin Fisher, paintings of hounds by Gustav Muss-Arnolt, silver trophies, bronzes by Herbert Haseltine, John Skeaping, and others, a huntsman relaxing in a country setting by John Emms, portraits of horses and their owners by Franklin Voss and Jean Bowman, American weathervanes from the collection of the late Paul Mellon, and watercolors by Henry Thomas Alken, Sr. A recent donation of equestrian and British sporting prints collected by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Bobins, Chicago, is on view in the Founders’ Room. Programs The NSLM hosts exhibitions, tours, lectures, seminars, and special events. These convivial gatherings provide opportunities that enhance visitors’ appreciation and understanding of the culture of equestrian and field sports. The John H. Daniels Fellowship provides selected scholars from all over the world the opportunity to take advantage of the Library’s superb collection to further their own research.
“The National Sporting Library and Museum is dedicated to preserving, sharing and promoting the literature, art, and culture of equestrian and rural field sports.”
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A LITTLE TLC FOR YOUR CLOTHES:
How To Care For Your Suits and Sport Coats It’s really very easy to keep your suits and sport coats looking fresh and brand new, and the classic styles of today demand that we give our clothes a little tender loving care so that they’ll be with us for years to come.
Just follow these simple steps and you’ll know that you will always look your best: • Regular bushing keeps dust and grit from accumulating in the fabric. • A suit should not be worn every day. After wearing, empty the pockets, hang on a wooden hanger, and let it air dry. This allows natural fibers to return to their original shape. • The steam from a shower will help restore the natural moisture of fine woolens and remove wrinkles. It’s an easy thing to do when you’re traveling as well, just remember to take the suit off first! • If you get caught in the elements and your garment becomes wet, allow it to dry naturally at room temperature. • Do not dry clean your suit or sport coat unless it’s dirty, and always use a reputable dry cleaner. These tips can help you avoid the problem of excessive dry cleaning. If you have any questions or concerns, drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll try to help. Follow these simple tips, and the classic styles and quality construction at Richard Allen Clothing will give you years of wear and comfort.
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Follow these simple tips, and the classic styles and quality construction at Richard Allen Clothing will give you years of wear and comfort.
Grace Kelly: The Timeless Style of a True Princess Grace Kelly—movie star, real-life princess and, always and forever, fashion icon. Imagine having those words to sum up your life! Yet Grace Kelly brought to all those roles a sense of serenity and self-confidence that raised her above the stereotypes. She was something rare in any generation: Classic and elegant beauty coupled with supreme self-possession.
Grace Kelly in a classic moment—beautiful, elegant and timeless.
A breathtaking gown from Rear Window.
Her life was a fairytale that ended in her tragic death on a mountainside near Monaco, and the grief that ensued proved she was the most beloved princess the tiny principality had ever known. Today, decades after her death, she remains a style icon, so much so that in 2010 the venerable Victoria and Albert Museum in London unveiled a major exhibition, “Grace Kelly: Style Icon.” The exhibit charted her star-crossed course across our collective consciousness, and showed us how a princess is born, not made. The movie that really crystallized her style was her fourth film, Rear Window, with James Stewart. In that movie she wears feminine dresses that fit her beautifully. She exudes a kind of sexy elegance that had rarely been seen on screen. In To Catch a Thief, she wears exquisite gowns, some with trains, some with pleats and cascades of fluting, and all of them made with extraordinary care to fit her perfectly in every sense. In High Society, she wears dresses with fitted shirtwaist bodices and full skirts, and she accessorized with scarves knotted neatly around her neck or with glamorous hats. The colors all flat-
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Prince Rainier and Princess Grace of Monaco, with her eponymous Hermès Kelly bag in hand.
The Kelly Bag
have received almost as much attention as the plot lines and the acting! Designer Tommy Hilfiger has also been quoted as saying that he also references Grace Kelly’s style, as do Zac Posen and other modern designers. And then there was that other royal wedding—the one a year ago—where a soon-to-be princess, Catherine Middleton, took inspiration from the timeless dress Grace Kelly wore when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. Today we can see the influence of Grace Kelly everywhere, not just in the Hermès bag that is named after her. While women seldom wear white gloves any more, the dresses, with full or columnar skirts, remain, as do soft cardigans thrown carelessly over shoulders, the string of perfect pearls, and statement coats. What she seemed to be saying to us was to find what flatters you, make sure the fit is perfection and then wear it with confidence.
Grace Kelly in High Society.
tered her blond elegance—warm yellows, cool, sharp blues, seashell pink, gold, bright white. Janie Bryant, the costume designer for Mad Men, the television show about advertising executives in the 1950s and 1960s, has been quoted as saying that “every time I see Grace Kelly I’m influenced by what she wears.” The clothes on Mad Men 10
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Classic style... Elegant Sophistication...
Grace Kelly poses for a costume check for To Catch a Thief.
A gorgeous dress in a scene from High A dress from Rear Window, the Society. Note the hat in hand. movie that defined her style.
Even in the most relaxed moments, Princess Grace exudes elegance.
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The War of the Hounds: The Great Hound Match of 1905 A huntsman rallies the hounds.
Of all the beautiful places in the lush Piedmont Valley, Middleburg has been heralded as the heart of the prestigious foxhunting world in Virginia. Though a relative speck on the map, you’ll find equestrians behind every tree and bush in Middleburg. This beautiful little village is also the heart of much of the history of America.
Some say the catalyst behind the evolution of Middleburg’s horse and hound culture was the Great Hound Match of 1905. At the turn of the century, Middleburg’s population had dwindled to just under 200. The threat of becoming a forgotten town seemed to loom around the empty homes and vacant streets, until a proverbial “new hound” came to town. Massachusetts hunt master Harry Worcester Smith was determined to persuade the American foxhunting authorities to recognize an emerging breed of American foxhound, far leaner and racier than the existing heavy and hearty English hound. Smith wrote a letter to a periodical called The Rider and Driver in 1904, touting the superiority of the Americanized canine, with its lighter-framed, more agile fox catching capabilities. “Shall we hold to the heavy English type or shall we go to the racing type, that type which is the successful hound. . . acknowledged by and proven so by our own trials?” Smith, the Master of the Grafton Hunt (Massachusetts), wrote. Of course, with resistance to change being so much a part of the human character, this deviation from an ancient, accepted
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standard was met with shock and outrage. The caliber of one’s hounds was also directly related to an individual’s social standing, so it was more than just a threat to a breed that was at stake in what would become a protracted and very heated argument. “The truth of the matter is this–there is no American foxhound to-day,” responded another Massachusetts M.F.H., Henry Higginson of the Middlesex Hunt. “What Mr. Smith wants, what we all want, is a hound that will kill foxes in America. Now, how are we to get this? Mr. Smith thinks by turning to a lighter type of hound. To quote him: ‘This being the situation, it seems wise to me to allow the Southerners, who have put more time, care, and thought into the breeding of hounds for killing the fox than all the rest of us combined, to have their type acknowledged.’ “Now, if Mr. Smith thinks this, then why not take the English standard? No sane man will deny that our brother sportsmen across the pond ‘have put more time, care, and thought into the breeding of hounds to kill foxes than all the rest of us’
(including the Southerners) combined. Why, when they have produced an animal which, for symmetry, power, hardiness, speed, nose, and staying qualities is unequalled, should we Americans— novices at the game—say: ‘No! We know more than they; we’ll stick to our own weedy sort!’” To Smith and his supporters, Higginson’s response was full of fightin’ words. Indeed, at the end of his rebuttal, Higginson issued a challenge directed to Smith. “Let Mr. Smith choose a judge, let me choose a judge, let the two name a third. Then let Mr. Smith go to any fair foxhunting country in America with such hounds as he chooses—and I will bring such clean-bred hounds as I choose and my huntsman and whippers-in—and we’ll hunt on alternate days for love, money, or marbles. Then
Harry Worcester Smith takes a fence. The Master of the Grafton Hounds helped establish Middleburg as a foxhunting mecca in Virginia.
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A weary hound at the end of a big day.
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if his hounds kill more foxes than mine or show better sport, I’ll admit I’m wrong—but not till then.” Where would this war of the hounds lay its battleground? Weeks of sharp and bitter feuds between Higginson and Smith ensued before any official time and place was declared—this was assuredly the most important aspect in reasserting Middleburg’s spot back on the map, especially when Middleburg was chosen as the site of the match. Because of the media circus surrounding the two bickering hunt masters and the approach of the Great Hound Match, Middleburg was on the minds of all the local foxhunters, elite equestrians and wealthy social characters of the era. The debate over the hounds, the hunt masters and the breeding of the two packs even made it into the New York Tribune and The Associated Press. This attention snatched Middleburg away from extinction and the looming fate of becoming little more than a ghost town. Smith jumped on the opportunity to spin support of the English hounds as unpatriotic. “We have just enough pride in America to be willing to back the Grafton Hunt with American hounds, American thoroughbred horses … with saddles and bridles not made by Whippey, but the best that can be made in the United States of America; the livery made in American mills by American operatives, from the tip of the boot to the velvet on the cap, against the imported production.” According to Smith, you weren’t American unless you hunted with an American hound! In addition to the media attention and the ever-widening divide between hound lovers, the money started rolling in as well. The competitors had each put up $1,000 for a winner-takeall prize, and the Orange County Hunt in Virginia sponsored the winner’s choice of a cup or a $250 purse. That was a lot of dough at the turn of the century, especially when the country was still recovering from the after effects of the Civil war. A local newspaper reported that, in preparing for the match, 100 horses had been imported to the Middleburg area so that their riders from up and down the East Coast could ride behind the Grafton and the Middlesex packs. Riders from all over the area came to see the match that would define hound standards on the East coast, and unknown to them, save the town of Middleburg. In the National Sporting Library lies an unpublished treasure trove of Smith’s accounts regarding the actual hunt during the event. He was not only a master huntsman, but also an eloquent writer, demonstrated in his journal:
We started out with 15 couples of grand looking hounds. … There was little chance to follow hounds because of the rough and mountainous country, but it was great how all these sporting families loved and appreciated a good hound. When the hounds were taken to hunt, they went to the mountain. Their owners knew from the cry which hound had struck a cold trail and when another joined in. When the cry was redoubled we knew that Reynard was up. There was no chance of getting to the hounds–you could only figure in your mind where you thought they might come, and, by galloping, obtain a position at a point where they could come towards you in full cry, possibly see the red fox, and hear them go away. Though a sport of gentlemen, foxhunting certainly isn’t lacking in danger, and the Great Hound Match was Henry Higginson believed the English-bred hound was superior in every way. He was no exception. At Goose Creek, hunt Master of the Middlesex Hunt. judge Fred Okie suffered a mishap when he tried to follow the hounds across the water. A reporter recounts Despite ambiguous results, Smith and his hounds were dethe event: clared the winner by the judges, though this declaration was ve“Both he and his horse disappeared under the water, and hemently debated. The moral of this story, however, has for a few minutes it was thought that both would drown. After a nothing to do with the superiority of either hound type; without hard struggle both horse and rider were gotten safely to the this dogfight, Middleburg may not be the fashionable equestrian other shore.” Harry Smith fell off twice, breaking his foot. capital it is today. It was due to the bickering of men over their There were seven reported falls, and “Mrs. Tom Peirce of dogs that this historical treasure of a town found her salvation. Boston, one of the best riders to hounds in America soiled her hunting coat when her gray hunter Tapps put his front feet in a hidden drain.” The thrills and dramatic scenes of the match continued to draw attention to the region. One reporter’s precocious prediction tells it all: “The farmers and landowners have received the hunting contingent royally. Not only have they willingly offered their fields for hunting, but have done all in their power to further good sport. The Piedmont Hunt has done all in its power to protect the farmers, repair the damage done to wire by cutting and keeping an actual record of all injuries received by the farmers on account of riding over their lands. … In this way a fine hunting feeling is spreading through Piedmont valley, and there can be no doubt that very shortly this country will be the Mecca to which all fox hunters will turn for sport.” So, after many weary days of trailing the wily red fox, whose hounds were declared top dog?
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OFF THE CUFF: MEN’S FASHION TODAY
BY RICK BECHTOLD
Over my 40-plus years in the fashion industry, I have had the wonderful opportunity to work on both sides of the fence—the manufacturing as well as wholesale and retail sides of the apparel industry. Men’s fashion has always had its moments of innovation and style, but often at the end of the day, “what’s old is new again.” We as manufacturers, retailers and consumers have a tendency to repeat both good and bad styling. For example, consider pleated or flat-front trousers. When I started in retail in 1964 we were selling only flat-front pants and it took until 1970 to convince the consumer to buy and wear pleated pants. And guess what: In today’s market, you can’t find a pleated style anywhere. But when you look at the old icons of film like Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart and William Powell in the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s, they all were wearing pleated pants. Look again at Paul Newman and Steve McQueen in the 50’s and 60’s and you will only see flat front pants. My point in all of this is that during my recent buying trip at the Men’s Fashion Mart in Charlotte, North Carolina, I was fascinated by the younger retail store merchandisers that were walking the show room floors. I felt like I was transported back in time. They looked and dressed just like we did in the 60’s and 70’s. It was so wonderful to see younger people taking pride in how they dressed. They seemed to be developing a look and style of their own, but the look is a direct knock off of how we used to dress. So the point is proven: “What’s old is new again.”
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Dressed down Fridays had a lot to do with the demise of “dressing up.” It was an opportunity for us to become much too relaxed, even sloppy, in our appearance. This trend also really damaged the suit and sport coat business in the 90’s. Now, with this youthful “dress up” movement, the idea of putting on a new sport coat with your old comfortable pair of jeans is very much in vogue. We are dressing up again and enjoying it. Our wives, girl friends and significant others like it when we put on a sport coat and jeans for a dinner or a movie on date night. That, in itself, is a winning combination. Dinner, movie and a happy partner—what a concept! We realize that with the loss of the great retailers like Garfinkel’s, Raleigh’s, Lewis & Thomas Saltz, Britches and Arthur Adler in our area, there are very few stores where a gentleman can shop and get some personal attention, built around the quality of products as well as fashion guidance. It’s not that those big, nationally advertised retail men’s stores are bad—they just don’t understand that combination and how to deliver it. Do you remember the days when you could visit one of our fine retailers, where you would be treated with respect and given time, attention and guidance to develop your own style? In these stores, the retailers actually remembered you when you returned! Well, that’s why Robin created Duchessa and I have opened Richard Allen Clothing. We believe you will enjoy creating or enhancing your very own style in an atmosphere that is friendly and gracious. We believe in the art of dressing well and the wonderful way it makes us feel every time we don that sport coat or suit made to fit the body perfectly. Please visit www.richardallenclothing.com and www.duchessaofmiddleburg.com and ignite your very own experience. Sincerely, Rick Bechtold
The Oyster: Living Up To Its Reputation BY WILLIAM HANSON Behold the oyster, that delectable little mollusk that is consumed cooked or raw by a devoted following who would never admit but may well believe that it’s reputation as an aphrodisiac is well-deserved. But our purpose here is to neither defend nor malign oysters, but to rather suggest how to properly prepare, display and eat them. Girl Eating Oysters by Jan Steen, c. 1658-1660
Jonathan Swift is alleged to have once said “he was a bold man that first ate an oyster.” For many people, oysters are an indulgence, something you enjoy only occasionally and as a treat. However, oysters weren’t always considered a luxury. In fact people have been eating them for about 2,000 years! Ancient Greeks served oysters and the Romans imported them from England. Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, is reputed to have sprung forth from the sea on an oyster shell. Native Americans on both coasts of the New World considered oysters a staple of their diets. In the early 19th century, oysters were cheap and mainly eaten by the working class. Oysters were eaten by the tens of thousands daily, and early Colonial settlers would regularly enjoy them by the gross (144), rather than by the dozen, as is considered perfectly sufficient today. It’s estimated that per capita consumption of oysters in those days was about 10 bushels a year. New York became the largest source of oysters worldwide at that time—and on any given day some six million oysters could be found on barges tied up to the New York City waterfront!
There was even an ‘Oyster Line’ via stagecoach west to settlers who couldn’t do without their oysters. In 1849, some long ago chef created the Hangtown Fry, a dish of oysters and eggs. Oysters are considered one of the most sustainable food sources we have because of how they grow and how they are harvested. They are designated a “best choice” on the Seafood
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Watch list. However, squeamish eaters may balk at the idea that to be eaten safely, oysters must be eaten alive, or cooked alive. Today people most often eat oysters raw on the half shell, with a little hot sauce or lemon. They are also smoked, boiled, baked, fried, roasted, stewed, canned, pickled, steamed or broiled. Some bartenders make a variety of drinks that incorporate raw oysters. The most famous preparation is oysters Rockefeller, from a recipe developed at the New Orleans restaurant Antoine’s. Chef Jules Alciatore named the dish after John D. Rockefeller, the richest American at the time. The secret is in the sauce, which is thought to be a puree of green vegetables. According to Antoine’s, others have tried to replicate the dish and knock-off versions have proliferated but the restaurant claims they have never fully succeeded. Supposedly, Jules Alciatore took the recipe to the grave with him, but a 1986 laboratory analysis indicated that the primary ingredients were parsley, pureed and strained celery, scallions, olive oil and capers. However you prepare your oysters, they make an impressive display when placed on a bed of rock salt or crushed ice, with a little lemon and parsley for decoration.
WILLIAM HANSON is a tutor with The English Manner, a unique British-based company providing international training and consultancy in contemporary etiquette, protocol, the arts and social skills, household and event planning. In addition, the company creates unique travel experiences with a focus on artistic and cultural skills development for a discerning clientele, providing access to some of England’s most important estates, homes and castles. William Hanson’s entertaining and informative blog can be found on The Huffington Post.
How to Eat An Oyster The first step in dealing with oysters is to make sure they are alive. Tap on the shell and if it responds by closing up tightly, then it’s fine to eat. You can open the oyster with a special knife, which has a short thick blade about two inches long. Insert the blade with moderate force at the hinge between the two valves. Twist the blade until there is a slight pop, then slide the blade upward to cut the abductor muscle which holds the shell closed. Take care—both the blade and the shell itself can be very sharp. Oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac but there's nothing more off-putting than sitting across the table from someone who's making something really very simple look difficult and inelegant. The rules are simple: oysters are either eaten from the shell, after loosening with an oyster fork, or eaten from the fork.If the former method is preferred then it is inevitable that there will be some slurpage from the diner, however this should be kept to a minimum. Oyster forks are one of the only exceptions to the “forks to the left of the plate” rule—instead you will find these set to the right of the plate, with the knives and spoons. As for that aphrodisiac business—a team of American and Italian researchers analyzed oysters and other bivalves and found them to be rich in amino acids that trigger increased levels of sex hormones. The high level of zinc in oysters also supposedly aids the production of testosterone. Are they or aren’t they? You decide.
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AROUND THE VILLAGE
A Winner! Spring is in the air for those who live in “God’s Country,” a beautiful section of Virginia that has seen 400 years of heritage and national history—the Virginia Piedmont hunt country. Some think flowers and gardens, some have just returned from warmer climes, some go fishing, some hike, bike or picnic, and some just can’t wait for Daylight Savings Time to begin. The little country village of historic Middleburg is where Margaret and Trowbridge Littleton live and the Littletons think of spring as the beginning of the steeplechase season, which starts the first of March and goes until June. Margaret comes from a family deeply rooted in the racing world. She was raised on a Thoroughbred horse farm and has never not owned a horse. Trowbridge, owner of his own building and restoration company for almost 40 years, rode as a youth but did not follow that path. After he married Margaret, he enthusiastically joined her passion for the equine world. They have raced four steeplechase horses in the last 19 years and each horse has been a winner or a multiple winner. Racing is a team effort and credit goes not only to the owners but more importantly to the trainers and to the jockeys who risk their lives in this very dangerous sport. The Littletons are fortunate to have such a team with Julie Gomena, and Carl Rafter. Julie, the winner of the 1994 Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event, (the biggest event in that sport) understands her horses and uses all of her experience to condition them into winning chasers. Carl is an English native, beginning his career in Leicestershire in the UK. His winning history has made him one of the most sought after jockeys. He knows the pace, the position, and the stamina of the 30-miles-an-hour beast under him. Most recently, Julie has found an older horse that will carry the Littletons’ racing silks over timber jumps during this 2012 season. This handsome horse, Atrium, won the Warrenton Point-to-Point in March. The word “steeplechase” comes from the early races, when horses ran from “steeple to steeple.” By keeping the church steeple in sight (hence “steeplechasing”), the riders could see their finishing point. The point-to-point races in early spring in the Piedmont are “tune ups” for the more coveted sanctioned races to follow later in the season. These are the races that offer purse money. Few owners make money in the “sport of kings” but the excitement, luck, joint effort and fellowship is unparalleled if one loves horses. Julie, Carl, Margaret and Trowbridge love horses!
Margaret Littleton’s horse, Atrium, with Carl Rafter up, won the novice timber race at the Warrenton Hunt Point-to-Point. Atrium is trained by Julie Gomena. In this photograph, taken by Douglas Lees, Atrium comfortably clears a fence.
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The Journeymen Chap—The Best There Is There are few things in this world that are handmade any more, but since 1978, Journeymen Saddlers has been creating custom chaps for riders that may well be the best in the world. These chaps are durable and well fitting, and are made of the highest quality, natural, full-grain leather. They are made-to-measure—another thing that is rare to find these days. Punkin Lee, owner of Journeymen Saddlers, says that the most important thing to remember is that with care and proper use, good leather will provide you with years of service. After each use, wipe your chaps clean with a damp, almost dry cloth to keep the dirt from settling deep into the grain of the leather. When oil is necessary, use Vogel’s Leather Conditioner on the smooth side only, and wipe off excess oil. To prolong the life Punkin Lee, owner of of zippers, it’s important to keep them lubricated. Apply paraffin Journeymen Saddlers. wax or soap to the zipper, then open and close it several times to spread the lubricant evenly over the teeth of the zipper. Treat your chaps with tender loving care and they could last a lifetime. Journeymen Saddlers is located at 2 W. Federal Street in Middleburg. Telephone: 540-687-5888. Journeymen custom chaps are among the best in the world for fit, comfort and longevity. They are made with care and a commitment to quality.
A Bit of France In Middleburg If you live in or around Middleburg, you’ve probably enjoyed the steak frites at the French Hound, a charming, Provençal-style bistro at 101 S. Madison Street. The building was once a home, and that’s just how it feels when you walk through the door. Chef John-Gustin Birkitt studied at the New England Culinary Institute and later moved to Napa Valley in California. He worked at Bouchon, the bistro of worldrenowned chef Thomas Keller. From there he moved to Domaine Chandon and finally onto Brix Restaurant, where he eventually became chef de cuisine. John-Gustin and his wife, Marny, then made the leap to France, where they ended up in southern Provençe. When they returned, they joined forces with David and Cricket MacDonald, and the French Hound was born. John-Gustin and Marny have created a very special place, where they know their customers by name and are happy to accommodate wishes and desires in any way they can. They use the freshest ingredients, buying locally grown produce and meat as often as possible, to produce a menu that is a delight. Lunch is served Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner is served Tuesday The French Hound through Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and till 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The French Hound is located at 101 S. Madison Marny and Street. Telephone: 540-687-3018. www.thefrenchhound.com Chef John-Gustin Birkitt
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The Inn Of Delights The best thing about the Middleburg Country Inn, 209 E. Washington Street, may well be the innkeepers themselves, Joann and Kevin Hazard. They love their work and it shows. From a glass of wine as a welcome to the fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies always at hand, this is one of Hunt Country’s most charming and delightful inns. The rooms, all with private baths, are large and comfortable and named after various important Colonial connections. All of the rooms are uniquely furnished and some have Jacuzzi tubs and mini-kitchens. The inn has a charming small dining room where Joann works her magic every morning (do not, under any circumstances, skip the lemon cake), and a warm and cozy parlor with a fireplace where you can curl up with a good book or have a nice chat with the innkeepers. Best of all, perhaps, is the knowledge Joann and Kevin have about what’s happening in town, where to eat, shop or simply meander, and they are always ready to Kevin and Joann Hazard on the back steps of the make dinner reserMiddleburg Country Inn. vations, provide directions or assist in any way possible to make visitors feel special. Breakfast is served from 8-9 a.m. on weekdays and from 8-10 a.m. on weekends. Check in is after 3 p.m. and checkout is 11 a.m. The Inn can be reached at 540-687-6082, or visit www.middleburgcountryinn.com, for reservations.
Stitch It Up
Stitch is a wonderful shop to simply browse in, but if you enjoy needlepoint—novice or master—this is the place for you.
At Stitch, 112 West Washington Street in Middleburg, Stacey Norris will instruct you, guide you, or just encourage you to produce beautiful needlework. Failing that, she’ll do it for you! This charming shop offers everything you need to produce beautiful needlepoint pieces, from pillows to wall art. While Stitch has everything a traditional needle pointer could want, the shop also has new and modern designs from the likes of Cartier, Hermes and Christian Louboutin. Customers can buy soy and bamboo fibers in addition to traditional wools, silks and cotton. There are tote bags from Michelle Vale, Beirn, Moya and Jessica Kagan Cushman. The shop also has custom canvas painting, custom finishing and classes, from beginner to advanced. You can also link up with your fellow needle pointers, to share designs, challenges or camaraderie—all in an environment that is welcoming, comfortable and charming. Call Stitch at 540-687-5990.
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VOLUNTEERING: The Best Gift of All Booker T. Washington once said, “if you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” That is certainly the philosophy at both Duchessa and Richard Allen Clothing, where charity always takes center stage. Although such a focus is not usually evident in the day-to-day operations of these two businesses, the value of volunteerism and giving back remains at their core. Both Robin and Rick also find inspiration in the volunteers who keep Middleburg beautiful and vibrant throughout the year, but just as they expect more and more of themselves, they also hope that the spirit of volunteerism will continue to spread. “You always get back more than you give,” says Robin, “if only through the satisfaction of knowing that something you did made another’s life a little easier and better.” Perhaps the best way to build a culture of volunteerism is to start with our youngest citizens.
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There are many activities to help children learn about the idea of sharing and caring for others, and you can start by promoting giving in your own family to instill the value (and rewards) of giving to others first. Start by setting an example for your children. Express to them how good it makes you feel to do a simple act of kindness, like helping with a door. Talk with your children about different charities and let them choose a cause that they would like to contribute to. Begin with a jar where the family contributes spare change throughout the year. As a family, discuss together on where to donate the money. A yearly tradition of clearing out gently used but abandoned toys for those less fortunate is a wonderful way for children to share. A suggestion that they give part of their allowance to charity doesn’t hurt either. Encourage your children to come up with their own ideas on how to help. And praise them with a smile or a thank you when you notice a random act of kindness. But charity—and volunteerism—is about much more than money. It’s about the gift of your time and energy. The opportunities are endless on places to volunteer. Helping out at a food bank, retirement home, youth center, or animal shelter are great places to begin. Volunteer as a family by planting flowers or picking up trash at a local park. In Middleburg, we can take great pride in the beauty of our town, but it doesn’t take care of itself ! You can help in a hundred ways to keep Middleburg the beautiful, charming and welcoming place that it is. Explore the idea of cooking a meal as a family project and then take it to a homeless shelter, or get in the routine of picking out canned foods at the grocery store to donate. Seven Loaves, our own food pantry, always needs food, and in this time of economic hardship, that need is greater than ever. Seven Loaves operates out of the Middleburg Methodist Church at 28 W. Washington Street. Call 540-687-3489 to find out hours and how you can help. When the holidays roll around, you can make a difference by taking an hour to ring the bell for the Salvation Army; volunteers are always needed for this effort. Want to take it a step further? Spend a family vacation helping out others, like building a home with Habitat for Humanity. It would be a generous and rewarding way to spend time together as a family. In Middleburg, there are literally dozens of committees, covering virtually every area of interest, on which you can serve— all you have to do is ask how you can be of service. Go Green, Middleburg Humane, the Middleburg Heritage Museum, Study Buddies, and the Wounded Warriors program are just a few, but think about what interests you and then do some exploring to find out what the opportunities are in your area of focus. If you want to take it a little farther afield, go to www.iparticipate.org and just browse through the opportunities. Another good way to find out how to volunteer is through VolunteerMatch at www.volunteermatch.org. In Middleburg, we have a unique infrastructure that makes volunteering easy and rewarding. Those of us who live here understand that it’s our volunteers who make the town so special, and we appreciate that it does, indeed, take a village to get things done.