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’chuting star

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Hilltop

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6 www.VaNeighbors.com

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JULY | AUGUST 2009

Contents

36 ’chuting Star Carl Lambert made his first jump on a dare and was immediately hooked. Even while attending JMU, Carl still found the time to skydive often and soon realized what he really wanted was to teach others the sport.

Your ideas are important to us, so if you’d like to recommend a story or send an event for Out&About, drop us a line at:

44 Cold Noses and Warm Hearts

Virginia Neighbors 520 William Street, Suite B Fredericksburg, VA 22401

Teaching confidence, respect and good manners has been Sue Coleman’s mission for more than 20 years. Both the dogs and their young owners learn valuable lessons.

Frontdoor

Or, email us at: editor@vaneighbors.com

28 OUTDOORS

54 SPOTLIGHT

14 BITS&PIECES

30 ARE WE THERE YET?

56 BEST BITES

16 FOCUS

32 HOMEKEEPING

13 TRENDS

Exploring the elements of Tea Surge Protection, The Dog Days of Summer, Star-Gazing A look at two of the area’s newest hospitals

18 PROFILE

More than just a drummer in the band

20 FLASHBACK

Riding the rails to Dahlgren

backYard

Friends of the Rappahannock are ever vigilant when it comes to guarding the river Orchids and roses and butterflies, oh my! Yard sale tactics

34 TRAVEL

Delaware beaches

applause 53 ART

Jan Finn Duffy paints what she knows best

Harvey Gold reports on the Arts and Cultural Council of the Rappahannock Fredericksburg’s very own candyland

out&about 59 Summer camps; garden

tours; children’s art expo; living history exhibits; music and much more.

Cul-de-sac 64 Neighbors and Friends

23 COME & GET IT

The power of the berry

24 HOMEGROWN

Agricultural fairs are alive and thriving.

26 HUMOR

Lawn decorations that push the boundaries of good taste

« Check out some of the 135 species of birds that call Ferry Farm home. See page 59.

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All editorial, advertising, reprint, and/or circulation correspondence should use the above address or visit the website. Virginia Neighbors welcomes but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts and art.

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8 www.VaNeighbors.com

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! s ’ e l l ami

At C Roxbury Farm & Garden Center The Areas Most Complete Garden Center!

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FROM THE PUBLISHERS

T

hey say you can’t judge a book by its cover. There has never been a truer statement when it comes to reporting on the colorful people of this region. In Fredericksburg and surrounding counties, exciting personalities and unique back stories abound, just waiting to be profiled. That’s where we come in. As publishers of this community-oriented magazine, we’re given ample opportunity to explore the upbeat culture of our burgeoning community. When we prepare each issue, we take a good, hard look at what defines our region. Often, we uncover stories of inspiration, where people in the community band together in support of good causes. Other times, we find amazing personalities in the neighborhood; people who live lives of intrigue and excitement. Take skydiving for example. In Orange County, locals from all walks of life— ministers, grandmothers, college kids— embrace their adventurous side by jumping out of a plane at 13,500 feet. Some do it for the sheer joy of tip-toeing on life’s edge, while others do it just to prove to themselves that they can. Whatever the reason, they have interesting stories to tell. We want to bring these stories and these people to life, one page at a time. After all, these are your neighbors. In this issue of Virginia Neighbors, we’re pleased to bring you the latest in community news, local travel destinations and profiles on some incredibly unique individuals. Throughout, you’ll learn about the delicious power of blueberries, uncover tips regarding dirty electricity and discover what’s aflutter at Richmond’s Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. We also offer an inside look at Friends of the Rappahannock— the organization responsible for keeping the Rappahannock clean and beautiful— and a sumptuous spotlight on fudge-loving entrepreneurs. Add in event overviews, tasty recipes and entertainment reviews, and there’s something for everybody. We hope you make the most of the summer, and that it’s one filled with lasting memories. Thanks for your continued support in making this region a place we can all be proud of. Kendall Childress Don Saucier

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12 www.VaNeighbors.com

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NEWS | HISTORY | BUSINESS | TRENDS | PERSONALITIES

FrontDoor

TRENDS

a taste For tea Silver Needle, prized for its health benefits, has a mild barely-there flavor, while Earl Grey is dusky with the bite of Bergamot. From its legendary accidental discovery in 2737 B.C. China to its unexpected debut as a summer thirst quencher at the St. Louis Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Fair in 1904, tea has influenced culture and history and is still a competitor for top spot in beverage choices. Each day, about half of the American population drinks tea, according to the Tea Association of the USA. Tea is practically an institution. The Japanese have tea ceremonies and the English popularized tea as a meal. High Tea was the supper for the working class. Low Tea was served in the afternoon with bite size sandwiches and cakes for the wealthy. Tea has about 1/3 the caffeine of coffee. All tea comes from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant. This includes White, Green, Oolong and Black teas. Pu-erh is a tea that is fermented and aged. Herbal teas are not true teas. They are infusions made from soaking parts of various plants in water. Rooibos, though it is called a tea, and is popular

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FrontDoor

TEA continued __________________________ among dieters, is an infusion made from the leaves of the Rooibos plant. Although all tea comes from the same plant, taste and color vary because of oxygen exposure and processing. Oxygen mixes with the leaf enzymes causing a chemical reaction that darkens the leaves. Heating or steaming the leaves shortly after they dry halts oxygenation. Teas like wines are named for the region where they are grown. Also, like wine, their growing environment gives them their distinctive flavor. For example, Darjeeling is from the Darjeeling region in India. The major tea growing countries are India, China, Japan, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. White Tea is an acquired taste. Deborah Riggans, 19, who works at Teavana in Spotsylvania Towne Centre, says customers use it instead of water because of its health benefits. Riggans’ favorite is Strawberry Paraiso, a blend of white and green tea. It has the aroma and taste of fresh Strawberry punch. Bits of dried fruit and popcorn are mixed in it. To maximize tea’s flavor, store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Air, moisture, heat and odors diminishes flavor. The Tea Association recommends using filtered water because Virginia water is moderately hard, which also affects flavor. Overboiling flattens the taste of tea so use just-boiled water. Steeping temperature and time varies. Here are a few of the Tea Association’s recommendations. Black Tea— 3 to 5 min. at 201° F. to 210° F.; Chinese Green Tea— 3 min. at 170°F to 180° F.; and White Tea— 3 to 4 min. at 185° F. For iced tea, use 1 quart of boiling water per 1 ounce tea bag and steep for 3 to 5 min. at 195° F. Add fresh cold water to yield the final quantity of tea. If you want the Tea drinking experience in a friendly Victorian atmosphere, try Pinkadilly Tea on Fauquier Street or Tea Tyme and What Nots on Caroline Street. Patsy Hawkins’ owner of Tea Tyme places Perfect Tea Timers on the tables. These hourglass timers make it easy for you to know when your tea is sufficiently steeped. — Kathleen Lewis

SURGE PROTECTION When most people think of pollution, car exhaust, billowing smoke from factory chimneys and aerosol cans come to mind. Add another one to that list: electrical appliances. Did you know that an increase in the flow of locally provided electricity can cause major damage to appliances? The damage is due to dirty electricity, also known as electrical pollution. In order to protect yourself from unnecessary harm, it’s important you learn about how electrical pollution is controlled and measured, as well as how it impacts the health of you and your environment. To put it in perspective, regular, “clean” power enters homes, buildings and offices at 60 Hz., or 60 times a second. However, the increased use of electrical power in a community can often overload electrical grid bases and create a surge, resulting in many environments receiving dirty electricity. Power is considered “dirty” when it contains the high-frequency signals flowing through overloaded wires,

and not just clean 60 Hz power. Electrical pollution is not caused by the actual power itself, but by what comes along with it in transfer and production. This is occurring more often because of families’ increased reliance on electrical appliances. Thankfully, there are some things people can do to decrease the amount of dirty electricity entering their homes and work spaces. For example, dirty power can be controlled with special filters, such as those designed by GrahamStetzer (GS). GS filters are scientifically proven to reduce dangerous, high-frequency dirty electricity, including a person’s exposure to the resulting harmful electromagnetic energy. Experts recommend a home installing 20 strategically placed filters to help combat the negative effects of dirty electricity. Other helpful tools include power bars containing filters and excellent surge protection, as well as home test kits. To learn more about this electrical phenomenon, visit www. dirtyelectricty.org.

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DOG DAYS OF SUMMER

There’s a stretch of time in the thick of summer when you can practically fry an egg on the sidewalk. Some people refer to this muggy period as the “dog days of summer,” an aphorism that has gained traction over the centuries. Though it’s a fun phrase, few people know the story behind it. Long before smog, man-made pollution and big-city lights obscured the beautiful night sky, people from around the world would draw images in the sky by “connecting the dots” with the stars. Known as constellations, each image is different depending on the culture. There are bulls, twins, a bear… even dogs. Of these stars, the brightest in the night sky is Sirius, belonging to Canis Major, otherwise known as “the dog.” This star is so bright that ancient Romans believed the earth received heat from it. The “dog star” is most prominent in the southern sky (when viewed from northern latitudes) during the month of January. However, during the summer, the star rises and sets with the sun. This led the Romans to believe that its heat added to that of the sun, creating a span of unbearably hot weather. This period of time was known as the “dog days” of summer. Today, the traditional dog days occur from July 3 to August 11, when the sweltering heat envelopes the northern hemisphere. Nothing like a little knowledge to go with your summer tan.

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Did you know that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies out there? Our galaxy—The Milky Way—is approximately 100,000 light years in diameter and comprised of 200 billion stars. That’s a lot to take in the next time you find yourself staring up at the sky. Thankfully, the Rappahannock Astronomy Club (RAC) is here to make sense of it all. RAC is a non-profit organization of amateur astronomers located in the Fredericksburg region. This community-oriented group is dedicated to the advancement of public interest in, and knowledge of, the science of astronomy. With more than 40 members—including a few telescope makers—RAC offers local enthusiasts innumerable chances to experience the stars like never before. They accomplish this by hosting observing events for local schools, Scout troops, other organizations and the general public on a monthly basis. Of their events, their public star-gazing parties are the most popular. Held in and around the region, members and prospective members are encouraged to bring their telescopes and spend the evening observing the night sky. For beginners, it’s a great way to experience the stars in an educational and exciting fashion. There are plenty of experts on hand to help you get the most out of your star-gazing experience. Want to learn more about the stars? If you have a burgeoning interest in the night sky, feel free to attend one of RAC’s monthly meetings. All meetings take place at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and are scheduled for the second Wednesday of each month. For more information, visit www.raclub.org.

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FrontDoor The new Stafford Hospital Center exterior and patient room.

FOCUS

Just What the doctor ordered New hospitals create jobs, offer patients more choice

T

wo new Fredericksburg-area hospitals will offer patients more medical options and could shorten the wait times for people who need emergency and urgent care. Stafford Hospital Center, a new MediCorp Health System facility, opened in February, and Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center in Massaponax plans to open next spring. The Stafford hospital, located on U.S. 1 near the county courthouse, is a state-of-the-art, acute-care, 100-bed facility, said Stafford Hospital Center Administrator Cathy Yablonski. About 350 people are employed at the hospital. Cathy said the Stafford hospital benefits from its association with Mary Washington Hospital, a 412-bed facility that was the sole provider of emergency care in the Fredericksburg region until the recent opening of MediCorp’s Stafford hospital. MediCorp is also Mary Washington Hospital’s parent company. “Having two hospitals increases bringing services to the community, which is what MediCorp has been striving to do for years,” Cathy said. When planning the Stafford facility, administrators took lessons from MWH’s more than 100 years of experience and built a modern structure with an emergency room designed for efficiency, Cathy said. As of early June, Stafford Hospital Center had enough beds open to care for the patients who were coming through, about 100 per day. Yablonski said that the average time a patient waited from treatment to release was about 2.5 hours, which is less than the national average. “We’re proud of the fact that we’ve been open only 100 days and we’re able to have that kind of turnaround,” she said.

Stafford Hospital Center has an obstetrician/gynecologist, a neonatologist or a neonatology nurse practitioner, and a general physician on staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Cathy said the hospital strives to create the safest environment possible and provides an excellent patient care system. By improving access to care in the Fredericksburg region, the Stafford hospital allows MediCorp’s Mary Washington Hospital to focus on being a Level II Trauma Center and to provide open heart surgery and neurosurgery, Cathy said. “For the Rappahannock region, Mary Washington is the hospital for that higher level of care, and that’s what that hospital should be,” she said. The companies that own and operate the region’s two new hospitals differ in size and composition, but both plan to provide quality care to area patients. Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center, which includes a 126-bed hospital with full service emergency care and a medical office building, is owned by HCA Virginia Health System. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, HCA is one of the nation’s largest hospital chains, with 190 hospitals and 90 surgery centers. In Virginia, it is the fourth-largest private employer, with 11 acute-care hospitals, including two of the state’s largest and most profitable: CJW Medical Center and Henrico Doctors’ Hospital, both in Richmond. Though the corporation is national, each of HCA’s hospitals are operated locally with a community-based board of trustees and physicians and staff who reside in the locality, said Mark Foust, Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center spokesman.

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HCA, a for-profit hospital corporation, represents a minority form of hospital ownership in the country and differs in that way from MediCorp. At least 80 percent of America’s hospitals are organized like MediCorp— community not-for-profit hospitals. Many have served their regions for deExpires 9/1/2009 cades, often as sole providers, like Mary www.GarnettRefrigeration.com Washington. Quality Service Since 1957 - 540.898.6461 Mark, the HCA spokesman, said having a choice in providers means better healthcare for the Fredericksburg region. “We’re delighted to be here, and we’re looking forward to a wonderful celebration with the community next spring,” he said. As the hospital and medical office • Design in Massaponax are under construction, the real work of building a new hospital • Cabinetry is happening behind the scenes, Mark 2201 Lafayette Blvd. • Counters Fredericksburg, VA 22401 said, adding that the hospital director • Installation www.KitchenWorksVa.com is recruiting people for his management More than 30 years experience! Come see our showroom!! team who will, “serve as the backbone of our work going forward.” HCA is also working with local physicians in pathology and radiology KitchenWorks_VaNja09_061509.indd1 1 6/18/09 to build its community network. Mark said HCA expects to employ about 400 people at its Spotsylvania medical center. Next time your vehicle needs a As the region awaits the opening of its second new hospital in less than repair, call Brauning Automotive a year, the Stafford Hospital Center is and learn what great customer making plans for the future. Cathy said service is really like. the hospital wants to get a cardiac cathA clean, comfortable waiting area and state-of-the-art repair shop are only part of what Brauning has to offer. eterization lab and plans to open a medWe service most domestic and import vehicles, feature ical office building in early fall 2009. expert diagnostics and repairs, same-day service and “Our goal right now is to make sure Saturday hours. A secure after-hours lock box is available for your convenience. When we’re finished you’ll drive our hospital is run the way it needs to be away with the Brauning 24-month/24,000 mile written SpotSylvANiA toWNe CeNtre run, and that we’re meeting the needs warrantee for each and every repair we make. of Stafford County,” Cathy said. Outstanding Car Care Value CourthouSe roAd Mark, with Spotsylvania Regional ASE Certified Technicians Medical Center, echoed that sentiCustomer Focused Service Managers 90 Cool SpriNg roAd (StAfford) Waiting Area Like No Other ment and said when the HCA hospital Family Owned for 13 Years opens next year it will improve access www.brauningautomotive.com to care for area residents and give them a choice in hospitals for the first time. Mention you saw us in Virginia Neighbors

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FrontDoor

Staff SSG. John Brandt and the 3rd US Infantry Regiment

PROFILE

Beating The Drums For The US Drummer delivers pomp in Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps

T

he 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) Fife and Drum Corps creates a sense of pageantry for the Army and recalls the glory of the American Revolution with their music and Continental Army-patterned uniforms. The 69-member Special Army Band is stationed at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. It was formed in 1960 and has performed in every presidential inaugural parade since John F. Kennedy’s The Corps averages 500 performances annually. Staff SSG. John Brandt is a drummer from the Fredericksburg area. He has served in the Army for five years and the Corps for close to three years. He talked to Virginia Neighbors about his work, the Corps and his passion for drumming. VN: Tell me about the Old Guard Fife

and Drum Corps? JB: We’re the face of the Army. If anything is going on in D.C.— say the arrival of the Queen of England, we’re there and we’re performing our historical music. Our job is to bring a sense of pageantry to the United States Army and whatever event is happening. Sometimes the mission is small. We’ll send two drummers out for a practice, which is called a drum detail. We’ll play while the marching troops train. Every year we use about 36 people for the Spirit of America Show. We perform and do a clinic for the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk. We do funeral missions and march troops in

a parade. If the Army has to use the American flag for an event, we’ll send two fifers and a snare drummer to do the signaling for the Continental Color Guard. VN: What sections make up the band and what

purposes did the instrumentalists serve in the Army of the past?

JB: We have the fifes, the drums and the bugles. A fife is a wooden flute without keys that was used to signal different things during the duty day on the battlefield. A fife is an incredibly high-pitched shrill instrument. If you were half a mile away, you could hear it. There would be a fifer and a drummer who tagged along with the troop commander. When the fife would play calls, the drum would do its part. It also helped the soldiers keep time marching. Gradually the bugle took over some of the signaling. VN: What do you do in the Corps? JB: My primary job is bass drummer. I also run the drum shop. I keep the drums looking and sounding good. We are also required to do all the things that the army has to do. VN: How did you come to be a member

of the Corps?

JB: When I was in the Armed Forces School of Music in Norfolk, they [the Corps] came and performed. I knew that I wanted to play with them so I practiced and then auditioned. Before I was in the Corps, I was a drummer in

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The 1st Infantry Division Band. VN: How long have you been

playing drums?

JB: Since I could sit down at a drum set. My dad was band director and a drummer so drumming was like a genetic quality he handed down to me. I rode my natural talent until college. There I realized that if I wanted to be good, I was going to have to practice. That’s when I really got into marching and drum lines. I pursued a music education degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, but I knew I didn’t want to be a band director so I decided to audition for a regular Army band.

PKC87

VN: What is satisfying about the

O

W N T OW

N

JB: I get to do something I am passionate about. A lot of people have jobs and hobbies. I have a hobby that is my job. I get to watch other people enjoy listening to something I helped create. Also, it’s incredibly humbling and rewarding to have someone, who may be shy, come up and thank you for your service because you are wearing something that attaches you to the Army.

D

work that you do?

VN: What role does music

play in your life outside of your job?

JB: I perform outside of the Corps and I have a number of students. I also lead worship at church. I encourage my kids in music. When I was a college freshman, my dad and I went to a Percussive Art Society Convention. It’s one of the neatest things that happened to me because we were sharing it. We were both passionate about the same thing and each other. I am married and have three children. I hope someday that my kids will have a passion for playing an instrument. If it’s drumming, great. But, if my son wants to be a Red Sox fan, then we’re going to be passionate about the Red Sox together.

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FrontDoor

FLASHBACK

All Aboard The rails are gone but the Railroad Station still provides a service to the Navy Base at Dahlgren

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nce a stop on the Dahlgren Branch railroad, The Railroad Station was constructed in the early 1940s to provide a service to the region carrying passengers and transporting heavy cargo Still called “The Railroad Station” today, this quaint brick one room building is now surrounded by fences and paved roadways and still remains on the same piece of real estate among 4,000+ acres belonging to the federal government at Dahlgren, Virginia. It is no longer the hub of rail activity, but still provides a service to Naval Support Activity, South Potomac. Located just outside of the secured fenced area of the base, The Railroad Station has a great waterview— overlooking the Machodoc Creek (a tributary of the Potomac River) and sits

(Top): The Railroad Station as it is seen today. (Bottom): An Edwards Railcar at Dahlgren in 1942

directly across from the stately brick headquarters building. The location of the Railroad Station is no accident. This designated stop along the Dahlgren Branch railroad came about because of the need to move and offload heavy materials to the Navy base. It also provided shelter for people boarding the train for points North, South, East and West. The Navy base at Dahlgren increased its activities after World War II began, which led to rapid expansion of missions and testing. This made it obvious that a means of moving heavy ordnance and testing supplies was needed in addition to the Potomac River and the highways, so land was acquired to build a government railroad. In the early 1940s, construction was started on the Dahlgren Branch railroad connecting the Dahlgren Naval Base with the existing Fredericksburg rail line at Cool Springs in Stafford. The rail line was used to transport heavy munitions and war materials to the testing facility in rural King George County. Prior to the Dahlgren railroad, heavy test ammunition could only be brought in by water. This was not always a great way of transport because the Potomac would freeze over so that the barges that brought the gun barrels from the gun foundry in Washington could not move down the river. In addition to transporting materials, the Dahlgren railroad allowed local civilians to travel on the trains. During World War II, most of the base workers were women who were members of WAVE (Women Appointed for Volunteer Emergency Service). The Dahlgren railroad provided another form of transportation for the women to travel to Fredericksburg for groceries and other supplies. Prior to riding the train, civilians traveling from the rural base during this time would often get bogged down in mud. Passengers boarding the train at Dahlgren in the 1940s could ride the coach cars to Richmond for $1.45 or head to Washington, D.C. for just $1.15. When the war ended, Dahlgren’s focus shifted from ammunition and weaponry to

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Providing Over 60 Years Combined Experience

John Robb

computer science. The move away Custom homes, Inc. from heavy ordnance testing, combined with the improved highways near Dahlgren, made the railroad less needed. In 1957, rail use was discontinued and the line sat idle until the early 1960s. The Richmond, Fredericksburg now may be the best opportunity to build a custom home in the last 50 years. Whether it’s & Potomac Railroad wanted to use the a first home or a retirement estate, we can help Dahlgren rail line to renew freight trafyou take advantage of this opportunity today. fic. However, government regulations Our Reputation is Building... could not be satisfied, and the Navy “John Robb’s can-do approach is one that declared it surplus in 1963, allowing is not often found among builders at any level. it to be sold through General Services The workmanship in our home is unsurpassed Administration. in quality and design. It has been a pleasure to work with the staff at John Robb. We Today, the Railroad Station is one of would highly recommend John Robb Cusmany office spaces inhabited by more tom homes to anyone seeking a worry-free experience and a beautiful home to enjoy for than 8,700 military personnel, govyears to come.” ernment civilian employees and de~ billy and Lillian V. fense contractors. The route of the old 451 Central Road, Suite b, Your Floors Inc. Dahlgren Branch line is now a proposed Fredericksburg, VA 22401 1327 Alum Springs Road rail trail called the Dahlgren Railroad Fredericksburg, VA 22401 www.johnrobbhomes.com (540) 368-1922 Fax: (540) 368-1933 Heritage Trail (DRHT) planned for non540.371.3001 www.yourfloorsinc.com motorized uses such as cycling, jogging, walking, and skiing. Trains no longer transport materials to the Navy Base, and people now YourFloors_VaNja09.indd 1 6/22/09 9:51:52 AM use cars to travel from Dahlgren to Fredericksburg and beyond. But if you close your eyes, you can almost see those riders standing under the covered porch of the little brick Railroad Station waiting for their train to round the corner. —Debbie McInnis Many thanks to the Public Affairs Office of Naval Support Activity, South Potomac and Wayne Harman for their contributions to this article. Excerpts from “An Independent Study by the Department of Geography,” University of Mary Washington, dated April 30, 2007, was used.

If you have stories and photos of people or places in our region, Virginia Neighbors would be interested in including them in upcoming issues. Please contact Don Saucier at dsaucier@willowpub.com.

SM

540.371.0788

www.steamersseafood.net copyright 2009 Steamers Inc./Getgraphics. All Rights Reserved.

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HOME&GARDEN | TRAVEL | HEALTH | FOOD | FAMILY

BackYard

The Power of the Berry COME & GET IT

Here’s a juicy fruit fact for you: a handful of blueberries has more antioxidants than nearly any other fruit in existence. Who knew a little ol’ blueberry could pack so much punch? As it turns out, a lot of folks, and they’re celebrating the power of the berry during the National Blueberry Month this July. Often overshadowed by its cousins— strawberries, blackberries, raspberries— the blueberry has an impressive history of service. Long considered one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant compounds

»

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BackYard

THE BERRY continued ___________________________________________________ (early settlers used it with medicines,) blueberries are as useful as they are tasty. According to the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, blueberries are at the top of the list of 40 fruits, juices and vegetables when it comes to antioxidant activity. What’s more, they are chock-full of Vitamins A and C, low in calories, virtually fat-free and a great source of fiber. What’s not to love? Every day, people are getting health help without even knowing it. Did you know that just 3.5 ounces of blueberries—enough to cover a bowl of cereal—has the antioxidant capacity of 1,773 international units of Vitamin E? Or that blueberries are considered to be super vitamins filled with dozens of other diseasepreventing substances? That would explain the blue cape, as well as the adoration of food lovers everywhere. In 1999, the United States Department of Agriculture proclaimed the month of July National Blueberry Month, a practical feat considering they’re grown in 35 states and the US produces 90 percent of all the blueberries in the world. Summer is the height of berry season—mid-April through October is their harvest—and there’s no better way to honor these valiant troopers than to insert them into delicious dishes. Outside of the more common uses, such as cobbler, jam, bread and mom’s oldfashioned pie, savvy cooks have been known to use it in stews, soups and as a meat tenderizer. If you’re looking for quick ways to enjoy the brilliance of blueberries, throw a few of them into oatmeal, add them to muffins or mix them into pancakes. You’ll get the kick you need without all the preparatory hassle. This July, as you add summer squash, watermelon and pineapple into the homemade menu, remember to give some love to the blueberry. He may be small, but he has a mighty impact. If you’re looking for a summer snack that’s as nutritional as it is tasty, check out this blueberry smoothie recipe. It’s the perfect answer to the morning munchies or a post-workout snack.

Blueberry Heaven Smoothie 1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen) 7 oz vanilla yogurt 1 tablespoon lemon juice 2 tablespoons orange juice 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 cup ice To make this quick smoothie recipe, simply place the blueberries in your blender, followed by the lemon juice, orange juice, vanilla extract, yogurt and finally the ice. Blend on full power for around 30 seconds. Serve at once. Perfect for a hot summer day. — Nicholas Addison Thomas

HOMEGROWN

Family fun at a fair price Traditional agricultural fairs bring the country way of life to center stage

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ow do beef cattle differ from dairy cattle? What is the proper way to milk a goat? Just how big can a tomato grow? Where would a child, or an adult for that matter, go to learn the answers to these questions? To any one of the agricultural fairs held in the Fredericksburg area in late July and early August. “I think in our society, we are so busy. We eat a hamburger with no thought of where it comes from,” said Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair President Benny Brooks. “When you come to the fair, you can see the beef cow and know where the food comes from.” Benny has been with the Fredericksburg Fair for 30 years, a short time considering the fair has been around 271 years. Benny said it’s the oldest fair in the country, and organizers want to return it to its roots. “In the years I’ve been there, because of the nature of our area, the agricultural element has changed,” he said. “A lot of children don’t know where their food comes from, so that’s one of our tasks: to educate the public.” Each of the four local fairs— in Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, Orange and Louisa— operate as nonprofit groups and strive to present their locality’s history and way of life while educating the public and providing quality entertainment. The Caroline County Agricultural Fair, the second old-

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increased entries,” said Fran Whittaker, president of the Caroline Fair Board of Trustees. Because families are trying to save money this summer while still having fun, there are high expectations for increased attendance at all the local fairs. — C. Ruth Ebrahim

Fredericksburg Agricultural Fair Friday, July 24-Sunday, Aug. 2 Fredericksburg Fairgrounds, off State Rtes. 2 and 17 Gates open weekdays at 5 p.m.; Saturdays at 10 a.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. General Admission $7 www.fredfair.net

est fair in the area with origins dating back to 1918, includes midway rides, but agriculture and cultural heritage dominate the weekend’s activities. Caroline’s fair is moving to a new location for the 2009 event. County resident Ann Tate, a long time supporter of the fair, donated land on her family farm as a permanent home for the fair. The farm is located along U.S. 1 adjacent to the Virginia Sports Complex and is an active small-grains operation and beef cattle farm. “I think it’s just a wonderful thing,” Caroline Fair Manager Mac Wright said about the new location. “Where else better to be than on the back of a working farm?” Both Orange County and Louisa County hold traditional agricultural fairs. With no midway rides or carnivaltype entertainment, these rural county events focus almost solely on agriculture, 4-H activities, home goods contests and children’s games. With more people planting home gardens and making home goods, organizers at all four county fairs expect to see an increase in entries into those contests. “Home goods have been outstanding over the last couple of years because of

Caroline County Agricultural Fair Wednesday, July 22-Sunday, July 26 Caroline County Fair Grounds off U.S. 1 in Carmel Church adjacent to Virginia Sports Complex (Tate Family Farm) Gates open July 22 from 5-11 p.m. for Midway Preview; July 23 and 24 from 5-11 p.m.; July 25 from 9 a.m.-11 p.m.; July 26 from 10 a.m.5 p.m. General Admission $5 for adults and children 10 and up; free for children under 10. www.carolinefair.com Orange County Fair Thursday, July 23-Sunday, July 26 Montpelier Station, behind Montpelier’s old Visitor’s Center on Route 20. Gates open July 23 and 24 from 1-10 p.m.; July 25 from 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; July 26 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. General Admission $6 for adults and children 12 and up; $3 for children 5-12; free for children 4 and under (July 23 is Discount Night) www.orangecountyvafair.com

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Louisa County Agricultural Fair Saturday, July 31-Sunday, Aug. 1 Firemen’s Fairgrounds in Louisa Gates open July 31 from 11 a.m.8 p.m.; Aug. 1 from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. General Admission $4 for adults; $2 for senior citizens and children under 12. www.louisacountyagfair.com

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FrontDoor

HUMOR

Yard Art, The Plague Of Lawns Not since Sherman visited Atlanta has the South experienced such a calamity

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n epidemic has swept the South, one of epic proportions that threatens the very underpinnings of good taste. We’ve all seen it and we’ve all commented on it, it’s the phenomenon of yard art and it’s a plague that seems to be here for the long haul. Yard art takes on many forms, from your traditional gnomes (made popular by a certain internet travel site) to your pink flamingos to your garden variety ceramic rabbits. There’s yard art to match every whim and mood you might need. For the hunters and naturalists, there’s every kind of animal imaginable. I once had neighbors across the street from me that had geese, frogs, rabbits, deer, mushrooms and squirrels. All ceramic. They were arranged in a little nativitytype scene as if they were all in mid-step, frozen in time like the creatures of Narnia. What I don’t understand about yard art is the compulsion to display it in the front yard. It’s the one addition to a house guaranteed to lower the value. To this day, I still don’t comprehend my neighbor’s desire to keep an entire plaster zoo in the natural area of their front yard. The wife and I used to make fun of the display. We thought it would be funny to put a ceramic Elmer Fudd alongside them, elephant gun and all. We even toyed with the idea of buying some outrageous yard art for our own front yard, and trying to out-gaud them. Move the pieces a

foot each night so that every day, they looked like they were alive but moving in super slow motion. After all our talk, we finally did break down and get into the yard art craze. We bought a gnome at a flea market for ten bucks. He was patina colored and pushed a manual lawnmower, the kind with the cylinder blades they used in the fifties. We named him Gordy the Garden Gnome and stuck him in our herb garden out back. It was our wish that one day, he would come to life and mow the back yard for us. He never did. Have you even been out driving and seen that wonder of architecture known as the Plaster Yard? That’s the front yard that has more yard art than grass. Miniature wells, painted animals, birdbaths, garden gazing balls. You name it, those people have it. What, may I ask, is so alluring about these adornments? What type of childhood trauma must one endure to believe this much yard art looks good? Yard art is one of those amazing phenomena that I will never understand. Its appeal crosses racial and social lines, refusing to allow type-casting of its many denizens. Most displays are beyond the definition of gaudy, pushing the boundaries of questionable taste and I just don’t get it. But then again, you should see the lights I decorate the house with at Christmas. Griswald, Schmiswald. — Ross Cavins

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BackYard

OUTDOORS

Guarding the Rappahannock Friends of the Rappahannock lead the way in protecting “our” river

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t’s a very big part of your summer. You plan family outings around it, take a dip in it when temperatures reach the boiling point and have picnics by it. Some people even visit to watch birds, kayak or go tubing. It’s the Rappahannock River, a regional hotspot and one of the state’s most historic waterways. While many embrace the river’s refreshing benefits, few understand what it takes to keep it clean. It’s a full-time job that demands passion for the environment and a dedication for community involvement. That’s where Friends of the Rappahannock (FOR) steps in.

Formed in 1985 as a non-profit, grassroots conservation organization, FOR is a big reason why thousands of locals get to reap the perks of the river every year. Founded by a group of dedicated volunteers, the organization has grown to 11 staff and 1,700 members whose common goal is to maintain the water quality and scenic beauty of the Rappahannock River and its tributaries. In fact, they lead a variety of public education programs that focus on under-

standing and protecting the river’s unique natural, scenic and historic resources. “I think most people are surprised to learn the scope and depth of our programs,” said Rebecca Kurylo, Development Director for the organization. “We really do a lot to ensure the community is environmentally protected and everyone can enjoy the river. We focus on three main programs: advocacy, restoration and education.” When it comes to advocacy, FOR is behind the scenes of many precedent-setting policy work in both the Fredericksburg area and at the state level. For example, they recently led the coalition that put 60 miles of river into conservation easement. They also work with area developers, builders and local governments to enact polluted urban runoff codes. With all the concrete in the area, rainwater washes off sidewalks and roads, carrying harmful chemicals into the river. This is the fastest-growing source of harmful nutrients in the river, says Kurylo. Thankfully, that’s changing. “The City of Fredericksburg is poised to become a model for the nation by enacting a code that will require a set volume of the runoff to be infiltrated into the soil,” said Kurylo. “FOR was invited to spearhead this code revision, and we worked with the Fredericksburg Builders Association and city staff to negotiate codes that everyone agreed on.” “Most folks have heard about our successful effort to remove the Embrey Dam. It opened up more than 600 miles of historical spawning ground for fish,” said Kurylo. “We also keep trash out of the river through our annual river clean up. More than 600 volunteers help remove more than 12,000 pounds of trash each year.” Though most of their restoration efforts occur in and around the river, a bulk of the work involves getting trees into the ground. Trees along stream banks are the single most important way to protect the river, says Kurylo. In the past few years, FOR has facilitated the restoration of

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44,656 feet of riverbank along streams and 200 riverside buffer acres. To increase awareness about the Rappahannock, FOR hosts “Riverfest,” a crab feast along the river, every September. The annual festival is the organization’s primary fundraiser, and it’s the reason FOR has the funds necessary to protect the river. The event attracts 1,300 people from all across the region and includes live bands, an open bar, steamed crabs and live and silent auctions. Hardscapes Sodding Lot Clearing To further get the word out, FOR frequently involves local Concrete Seeding & Grading & students in restoration projects. Through field trips and demSidewalks & Slabs Overseeding Final Grading onstrations, the organization takes students out of the classBasement Aeration Complete Tree Excavation Service room to learn science and nature first-hand. Recently, they New Yards taught Colonial Forge High School students about the imporFrench Drains Erosion Control Mulch Bed tance of forest buffers. The students planted more than 1,200 Water Problems Lawn Renovation Installation & More trees along 416 feet of degraded stream. Roads, Small Aquatic Ponds Commercial Sites According to Kurylo, the two primary problems with the Retaining Walls Rappahannock are sediments and nutrients. The issue with sediments is visible every time it rains, as the water turns muddy very quickly. Nutrients, however, are more of a problem as they flow downstream. “Every summer, the Rappahannock has a dead zone from Tappahannock all the way down to the Bay. Nothing can 3_RR 2`aVZNaR` grow in these dead zones, especially crabs and oysters,” said 0YN`` . 0\[a_NPa\_ ‘ 9\PNYYf <d[RQ  <]R_NaRQ ‘ 3bYYf 6[`b_RQ Kurylo, “It is devastating the waterman way of life downstream, but it is not all doom and gloom.” The good thing about water quality in the Rappahannock Keen_VaNja09.indd 1 6/24/09 is that groups like FOR know exactly what the issues are and they can fix them. Most of the issues occur from the individual decisions made by thousands of homeowners every day. Everything from lawn fertilizers to pet refuse can directly impact the health of the river. Thankfully, the programs FOR have in place work to address these problems one step at a time. “Unlike many of the nation’s rivers, the Rappahannock doesn’t have any big industrial centers. We cannot point to a pipe flowing into the river and simply say, ‘Aha! There’s the source of the problem!’” said Kurylo. “The good news is that since we are a source of the problem, we can also be a source Complimentary Consultation • Kitchens of the solution.” Baths • Closets • Offices • Iron & Wood Stairs This summer, as you swim, canoe and fish in the Built-ins • Bars • Millwork • Coffered Ceilings Rappahannock, keep in mind just how much effort is put Beams • Theater Rooms and more into the upkeep of the river. Were it not for Friends of the Rappahannock and their community volunteers, that lazy Call Schiller for all your remodeling needs! day at the river wouldn’t be an option. That’s something to think about the next time you take a dip in the region’s most precious resource. To learn what you can do to keep the river clean, or to buy a ticket to Riverfest, visit www.RiverFriends.com.

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F A M I LY F U N

Glorious Gardens Enjoy year-round exhibits and events that embody the changing seasons

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here’s no better place to experience the wonderment of outdoors than at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, a family-friendly destination and one of Virginia’s best-kept secrets. For decades, the Garden has educated the region about the plant world, promoted top-notch horticultural and landscape design, and led in botanical and applied horticultural research. Sitting on historic property with more than 40 acres of gardens and 200 orchids, the Garden boasts a bevy of amazing sights. One of the biggest is the classical domed conservatory—the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic—called the “Jewel of the Garden.” This 11,000-square-foot complex is home to exotic plants from around the world and features beautiful seasonal displays. Crowned by a 63-foot-tall dome, the conservatory includes a central Palm House, a semi-tropical wing featuring an orchid collection and two wings with revolving displays. The Garden is beautiful year-round, and there is almost

always something in bloom. You can even look beyond the flowers and appreciate the barks, berries, foliage and seed pods across the illustrious landscape. Perhaps most impressive are the special exhibits held every few months. These exhibits draw in visitors from around the world and leave families in a state of awe. Better yet, they’re inexpensive and educational, and they offer visitors an inside look at the complete metamorphosis and tranquility of nature. The newest exhibit is “Butterflies LIVE!,” a Robins Foundation-supported program that features hundreds of butterflies as part of a metamorphosis-themed 25th anniversary celebration. The exhibit is held between May 22 and October 11, and for only a few dollars, families can walk through the north wing of the conservatory and experience exotic tropical butterflies in free flight, feeding on nectar plants and swarming around fruit. When they’re not in flight, and depending on the weather, the butterflies may be “roosting” on the undersides of leaves, their

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wings folded and colors available for all to see. If you love the various shapes and patterns of butterflies, this is the place to be. The exhibit is aflutter with more than two dozen species in varying colors and sizes, affording attendees a unique chance to admire the beautiful insects up close. The blue morpho, tangerinecolored Julia, translucent glasswing and red cracker are just a few of the tropical varieties that will be on display. These and many others come from exotic regions around the world and are shipped to the Garden as pupa wrapped in cotton. Most of the butterflies on display come from Costa Rica, a country that possesses some of the most species-rich habitats in the world. As you walk through the conservatory, pointing out the brilliant colors and graceful movements of these insects, you may have a question or two. Thankfully, there are resident experts on hand to answer any of your questions. Each species has an amazing back story, including how they were given their names, what genus they belong to and their roles in the insect class. If you’re still eager to learn more, you can visit the Education and Library Complex on-site, where you can read about how these majestic creatures make a home for themselves in rainforests and other environments. This summer, if you’re looking for a quaint destination offering a calm and colorful setting, look to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. With plenty of kid-oriented activities and adultfriendly options, there’s something for everybody. Take a peek at nature’s beauty, and discover an environment where butterflies can spread their wings and children can expand their minds. To learn more, or to get a sneak peek at the current and upcoming exhibits, visit www.lewisginter.org.

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— Nicholas Addison Thomas JULY / AUGUST 2009 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 31

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BackYard

HOMEKEEPING

Yard Sale 101 Understanding the culture, etiquette and business of yard sales

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good yard sale bargain means both the seller and buyer end up on top—either getting rid of unused and unnecessary items (Little Johnny’s favorite train set that he put in a box when he left for college) or inexpensively attaining something desired (another kitchen gadget to add to your collection.) Yard sale hosts should choose and price items so that they will actually sell. Yard sale customers should be ready to barter have a plan and be able to spot a good deal. Whether planning a yard sale or planning to scope out yard sale deals this summer, there are several tips and tricks to successful selling and buying. Jill Carbaugh, who recently moved across the country for a job, was in a “must get rid of anything I don’t absolutely need” mode when she planned a yard sale at her Fredericksburg home. Wanting to maximize the benefits of her yard sale, Jill took a couple of preliminary steps she says will also help you have a successful sale. Here’s what she has to say. Survey your home and belongings for items you haven’t worn, used or looked at in the last year. These items will make up most of your yard sale inventory. I really needed to sell anything I didn’t want to move. If you’re just trying to clean house, then choose items to sell that you think people will be interested in. Yard sale customers are most often looking for children’s toys, kitchen gadgets, and working household electronics. Remember, the goal is to keep this stuff out of your house, so once you’ve decided to sell it, don’t change your mind. Store and label your yard sale inventory as you collect it. And, as you gather items to sell, make sure to get out some soap and water and put in a little elbow grease to make your old stuff look it’s very best. Choose the date for your yard sale carefully. Try to give yourself enough time to organize everything you want to sell. But, don’t set the date so far in the future that you lose motivation before the day arrives. Be prepared for people to show up 30 minutes to an hour earlier than the start time you advertise. I held my yard sale from 8 a.m.-12 noon. However, I had one or two people come by after I had already shut down, so maybe I should have had the sale from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. The highest amount of traffic is in the morning during the first few hours of the sale, so be up and at ‘em ear-

ly on the day of your yard sale so you’ll be ready for the real yard sale enthusiasts! Talk to your neighbors and see if they want to join in! This will help with the variety of items for sale, and will allow you to advertise it as a multi-family yard sale, which always draw a larger crowd. If no one’s interested in a community-wide yard sale, see if some of your friends have things they’d like to add to your sale. The larger variety of items for sale, the better the curb appeal of your yard sale. There is no replacement for advertising. Consider advertising your yard sale in the local weekly newspaper. Also, find out about any upcoming community-wide or neighborhood yard sales before picking your date. If it’s a Moving Sale, put that in the ad. Those seem to attract the most people perhaps because customers know the seller has more to get rid of than the average yard sale host. The night before your yard sale, get out into the neighborhood and place bright poster board signs in high traffic areas. (Remember to take them down after the sale is over.) Also consider putting some signs around the University of Mary Washington campus. College students are often looking for bargains Now, it’s finally the day of the yard sale, and you must have everything well displayed and reasonably priced if you expect to watch it leave your property in someone else’s gleeful hands. Set up your yard sale so everything is easy to see. Set

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boxes of books and gadgets on tables, and try to hang clothes rather than have them in a bin. Make sure the area where you are having the sale— carport, front yard or driveway— is clear and free of hazards and items that you don’t want to sell. Also, be prepared with a cash box to store money. It’s a good idea to have at least $20 in change to help break larger bills. The biggest challenge is pricing items. It’s good to have items clearly identified and priced to expedite the buying process. Small things like books, dishes, silverware and old movies usually don’t sell for more than a quarter. A lot of these items will end up selling for five or 10 cents. Clothes 50 cents. Price items individually, but if there is a bunch of the same kind of thing, make just one sign for all of them— ‘Books 50¢’ ‘Dishes 25¢.’ For bigger items, price slightly higher than what you are willing to let them go for. Try to think about how much you would pay for an item if you were at a yard sale. Remember that the point of the yard sale is to get rid of things while making a few dollars in the process. People won’t buy if your prices are too high, so be flexible when it comes to bartering. Toward the end of the yard sale, consider taking price tags off the items and let the customer decide the price. Be enthusiastic and interactive. Don’t let people walk through your yard sale and leave without at least picking something up and considering a purchase. Talk to the customers. Offer free coffee or have the children set up a lemonade stand. The more people you get to come to your yard sale and the longer they stay, the more things you’ll sell and the happier everyone will be. When the day is over, the sales have been made and you’re dead on your feet, don’t allow any of that stuff back in your house! Take whatever you don’t sell to the Salvation Army or Goodwill. If you don’t have a truck or the means to get it there, call those organizations a few weeks in advance and schedule a pick up. They will come get it! Then, sit back, think of your un-cluttered house, and plan something fun to do with the extra cash you just made. For yard sale customers, the best advice is to go in with a plan— if you need a particular item you think you can find at a yard sale, then choose a Saturday morning and check out the classified ads to see where the yard sales are taking place. Get started early and hit as many as you can in a limited distance, so you can comparison shop if you like. Better yet, aim for community-wide yard sales, church yard sales or multifamily yard sales so there are more vendors to choose from in one location. Go in with a plan of what to buy and how much to spend. If you don’t, you may find that what you pick up will just become inventory for the next yard sale at your home. — C. Ruth Ebrahim

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BackYard

T R AV E L

Delaware Resorts—Something for Everyone Wind, sand, surf and a whole lot more

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t’s that time of year again—that beach time of year. But with so many choices in beach towns and all claiming to be best, the question inevitably arises: “Where do we go this summer?” The beach towns of Delaware, from Lower Delaware Bay, around the Cape to Rehoboth and south to the state line, offer just about anything imaginable for groups and families. Online descriptions mirror the choices. Historic Lewes, one of the smaller communities, touts its history, quiet atmosphere, fine food and laid-back amenities. Rehoboth Beach, by far the largest of the Delaware resorts, is said to be the “most cosmopolitan” of the bunch, and while that may sound exaggerated to some ears, it is a fair generalization.

Rehoboth, popular with generations of Washington and Northern Virginia families, appears to have grown faster than others in the region in recent decades. From fine dining and shopping to its varied array of outdoor pastimes, Rehoboth retains its popularity even in these leaner times. There’s plenty of nightlife in Rehoboth, too, as a stroll

along the mile-long boardwalk attests. Lower (southern) Rehoboth adjoins what all agree is the Delaware coast’s liveliest town: Dewey Beach. Detractors call Dewey Beach “wild” and say it is way too noisy, citing smaller communities nearby such as Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick as far more desirable for all but the twenty-something party-hearty set. Either way, nobody calls it dull or boring. Whatever their differences, the Delaware beach towns are renowned to thousands for being family friendly. Maybe that’s why so many of them have, after years of vacationing in Rehoboth or other communities, elected to find their own properties. A morning spent exploring off-the-beaten tourist paths and back into residential parts of Lewes and Rehoboth and even Dewey Beach quickly reveals quietly livable streets with comfortable homes. For starters and a real eye-opener, try the pleasant neighborhoods just north of Rehoboth’s main commercial stretch. The change, in less than three blocks, is dramatic. But Rehoboth Beach remains the focus for most families, probably because of its broad appeal. The town has a lively calendar of activities including some in the off-season. Among them: a sandcastle-building competition and a jazz festival, to name but two. No summer at the beach is worth scrapbooking without at least one delectable meal to talk about back home. One Fredericksburg couple dined their way through seafood to die for a couple of months ago, finding their favorite at a quiet little place on the main drag (Savannah Road) in Lewes. Here’s what these sleuth-gourmets dined on, taken straight off their impromptu napkin notes. He: broiled rockfish over wilted spinach and tiny roasted red potatoes, with roasted garlic, red onions, button mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. She: Wild salmon over saffron risotto, with tapenade and red pepper coulis and a balsamic drizzle. And that’s not to mention her white Delaware wine and his local microbrew ale.

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Dessert was superfluous, but they had it anyway and lived to laugh about it. Did someone say sophisticated cuisine? Delaware’s beach towns don’t stop at cotton candy, saltwater taffy, and steaks anymore! With meals like that, vacation absolutely has to involve more than passive beach strolls and people-watching. There’s plenty of time for that, but besides all the other pastimes, how many people know there’s one of the finest state parks on the Atlantic Coast at Cape Henlopen, with beach miles to roam and plenty of trails to hike on? And with more than 3,000 acres to explore off the beach at Cape Henlopen alone, nobody’s going to run out of things to do and places to see. Or to burn off some of those calories and ease that gourmet guilt, it just could be that a couple of bicycles are the best things to stick in the minivan on the way to the coast. If you forget ’em, fear not, it’s easy enough to rent them at the beach. Aside from the beach town streets to ride on, there is a fine and quiet walking and cycling trail in the vicinity of Cape Henlopen. Ask about it. If anyone ever undertook to compile a list of things to do at the Delaware resorts, chances are they would run out of space to write on or get bored and abandon the project. There are that many things to do. But whoa! You don’t go to the beach just to keep busy. Enough of that multi-tasking we do the other 51 weeks of the year. Never let it be said that the best things to do at ANY of these beach towns are not also the simplest, the oldest, the cheapest: walking the boardwalk, wandering in the surf, or licking an ice cream cone. And, oh yes, ogling (behind those dark glasses) the totally endless variations on the rest of the human race. Of course, nobody (well, almost nobody) wants to be in that milling throng all the time. And for those other, quieter, low-key times, there are miles and miles of empty sand to roam at water’s edge. These, too, are times to remember, times to take home and walk around with on bleak days in February. Those are the hours that memories are made of; the times that keep us going back to those little towns on the Delaware coast, year after year.

— Paul Sullivan

For detailed and specific information on dining, accomodations, activities and recreation, contact Southern Delaware Tourism: http://www.visitsoutherndelaware.com/gallery/63/page/1/index.htm 800/357-1818 or 302/856-1818 Or, contact the Rehoboth and Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce: beach-fun.com, 800/441-1329 or 302/227-8351 JULY / AUGUST 2009 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 35

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â&#x20AC;&#x2122;chuting star At 13,500 feet above earth, Carl Lambert zooms through the sky like a shoeless, smiling bullet. A skydive instructor and freefall fanatic, this Virginia native gives new meaning to living life at full speed.

by Nicholas Addison Thomas

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(Right): The famous â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mr. Fabulous,â&#x20AC;? a Super Otter, twin-turbine engine airplane capable of holding 22 jumpers. (Below): Lambert waits to jump while in full video regalia. The shooting begins when you board the plane and ends with footage of the landing.

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A few feet from the fenced-in entrance,

tresides the hollow carcass of a single-engine plane, its parts strewn about like the bones of a skeleton. Fifty feet behind it sits a 6,400-square-foot hangar, a common site to area residents but a second home to the region’s X-factor folk. This is what’s known as a drop zone, a place where skydiving enthusiasts bond and boogey 13,500 feet above ground. This is Skydive Orange. I arrived here on assignment one muggy Saturday, anxious to meet Carl Lambert, an experienced skydiver and safety-focused instructor. From our phone calls, I could tell he was addicted to the sport. His infectious energy, coupled with his warm personality, inspired me to see him at work. Since I was going to profile him and Skydive Orange, a place that conducts roughly 18,000 jumps a year, it was only fitting that I see him in action. The first thing I noticed when I entered the gravel parking lot was the noise emitting from the hangar. Dozens of people were walking around, reminiscing about freefalls and watching recent jumps on a television the size of a Mini Cooper. The veterans were carefully packing their parachutes, ironing out the wrinkles of “rip-stop” nylon with their fists and forearms. Others bided their time playing foosball and connecting over pizza. It was a colorful environment full of helping hands, hardy smiles and high-fives. As I stood there, taking it all in, I noticed Lambert from across the room. First thing you should know about the veteran skydiver is that he lives and breaths for the sport. It’s in his blood. Second, he has the kind of smile that can light up the skies, which perfectly complements his calm and collected swagger. And the way he talks about skydiving? It’s the same way kids behave on Christmas morning— with unfiltered, wide-eyed joy. You’d think this was the first time he’s done this, but it isn’t; he’s been skydiving for 16 years and has

Dan Bishop Photo

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more than 4,000 jumps under his belt. He immediately welcomed me into the community like a longlost brother, and began telling me about the diverse culture. “This place hosts the most eclectic groups of people you could ever meet. On a given weekend, I might jump with a preacher, lawyer, mechanic, U.S. Marshall, even a retiree who picked up the sport when she turned 60,” said Lambert. “These guys would probably never hang out together in ‘normal’ society, but they’re here sharing their passion for the sport.” A freefall fanatic who started skydiving on a dare, Lambert is a multi-rated instructor, which means he teaches static-line, tandem and accelerated freefall (AFF) students. He also shoots aerial video and pictures, and serves as the main safety and training advisor at the drop zone. Every year, Lambert (Left to right): Bobby Page, Michael works with several hundred Jasienowski and Josh Mitchell launch students, teaching them the a freefly exit from the Twin Otter ins and outs of the sport, over Skydive Orange. JULY / AUGUST 2009 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 39

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the proper safety precautions and how to get the most out of jumps. His impressive experience comes from years of working within the industry. Prior to working full time at Skydive Orange, Lambert spent three years as Managing Editor of the United States Parachute Association’s (USPA) magazine, Parachutist. Before that, the James Madison University graduate attended flight school in Harrisonburg— he got his commercial pilot’s license there— and worked as the director of admissions at a Waynesboro military school, where he also taught eighth-grade English, coached basketball and ran the drama club. It wasn’t until recently that he transitioned from editing to the airfield. Lambert is currently working on getting his flight instructor ratings so he can pursue a job in the airline industry. “Teaching skydiving has definitely given me an appreciation for the myriad learning styles people have and the countless things that drive people to jump out of airplanes. It has also taught me that Murphy’s Law prevails in the skydiving lives of those who take anything for granted,” said Lambert, who has taught every weekend for a decade. We began the day by taking a quick tour of the hangar— there’s an on-site classroom, showers, a training facility— and the unique exterior of the place. Adjacent to the facility is a dilapidated tiki bar dubbed “The Fabulous Saloon,” as well as a colony of RVs inhabited by weekenders who jump during the day and party at night. After the overview, I was guided to the padded hangar floor where we sat and discussed all-things skydiving. Lambert told me how a lot of couples gravitate to the sport (some even meet here), and how his crew usually does as many as 29 loads a day with anywhere from 8 to 22 jumpers a flight. He talked about how weather-dependent the sport is— it’s all up to the winds and weather gods— how you need 500 jumps to get your master’s license and how purchasing skydiving equipment is like buying a small car (roughly $6,500 for new gear, $2,500 for used). And then there are the parachutes, which like the people they support, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. “Parachutes love to open. And the newer you are, the bigger the parachutes you’ll use. Exit weight, which includes the parachutes, backpacks, helmets, etc., is taken into account. Basically, it’s one square

foot per pound for the average jumper. The smaller the parachute, the faster you go,” said Lambert. I wondered just how fast you could go during a freefall and how long the drop takes. As it turns out, it can last about 50-70 seconds, at which point you’re lunging 120-170 mph toward that place your feet love so much. If you’re a master jumper, you can pull your chute at about 2,000 feet, though first-timers have to pull theirs at about 5,500 on the first couple of jumps. Most beginners, Lambert says, start out making a tandem jump, then transition to AFF training, where they graduate to solo skydiving. That usually takes about seven jumps, and then the crew helps you succeed in your first individual flight. We talked like this for the next hour or so, and Lambert would occasionally leave to assist his coworkers, advise beginners or conduct a training session. Meanwhile, I’d find myself wandering among the people and parachutes, eager to learn more about what it takes to jump from a plane. Little did I know I’d soon be finding out. A little while later, Lambert returned. He had some news. “I talked to my co-workers and we want you to jump,” he said. “We’ll have the video camera going. Are you ready to skydive?” I’m part Welsh, Italian and Irish. Nowhere in my DNA am I avian. That said, the idea of throwing all 235 pounds of my gelatinous self out of a plane had me a little worried at first. Like most beginners, a kaleidoscope of worst-case scenarios ran through my head: What if my parachute doesn’t open? What if my tandem partner commits Hari Kari on me mid-flight? What if I miss my mark and land on a cow? Sure, I already knew the answers. I knew that skydiving is safer than driving down I-95, and that these experienced instructors always put safety first. Still, jumping out of a plane that’s roughly 45 football fields above the earth went against my natural instincts. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that tandem skydiving has been made as simple as possible for the student. Then, if someone chooses to take up the sport, he or she is slowly given more responsibility on each dive,” said Lambert. “Skydiving is not something you take for granted as foolproof, but done with care, the right gear, some common sense and the right amount of training, you can and will have a long, happy and healthy time in the sport without any problems.”

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(Left): The author, Nicholas, prepares for his inaugural jump with veteran Nancy Koreen in position. (Below): Nicholas and tandem instructor Mike French freefall as Nancy takes a front-row seat

Carl Lambert Photos

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Before I could jump out of a perfectly good airplane, I had to undergo the proper training. For the next half hour, I learned how to handle myself on the plane, communicate with my tandem partner and position myself during freefall. I discovered that ninety-nine percent of the responsibility and work would be in the hands of my instructor, which in this case was Mike French, a charming veteran who has completed more than 8,200 jumps. After the class and consultations, I concluded my training with a video featuring an instructor with a ZZ Top complex. A half hour later, I was donning parachute pants, a harness, a wrist altimeter, goggles and a helmet that looked like it belonged on a World War II fighter pilot. After going over the final details with French, I trekked valiantly toward the plane with the rest of the dive crew. There, on a new tarmac, was the Twin Otter, an extremely safe aircraft in all of its purple- and orangestriped glory. I was told the plane could fit 22 jumpers, and that the four harness attachments that connected me to French could lift it up with ease. That was reassuring. Minutes later, we were up in the air, Orange County looking more like an ant farm than a robust agricultural community. “What are we at, four-thousand feet?” I asked confidently. “This isn’t so bad.” “Good, because we have about 10,000 more feet to climb,” Lambert said with a smile. Roughly ten-thousand more feet to go, and then I’d hurl through the atmosphere like a pale, bald comet. When we finally hit our mark, people started exiting the plane one by one. Some threw themselves out like human darts, others barrel-rolled. As I waited for my turn to come, I remembered what Lambert told me on the ground: bend

your back like a banana, hands in the safety position, let the instructor do the rest. Before I knew it, it was my turn to leap. I waddled toward the open door, saw the colors of the distant earth melt into one another, and then 1-2-3 jumped. What did it feel like swimming through the atmosphere? It was indescribable; the marriage of awe and shock. I remember thinking: I’m actually floating on a bed of air. You’re so in the moment, so focused on what you’ve been trained to do that you absorb the experience in pieces. You forget that you’re occupying the skies with just your body and a few pounds of fabric. All you can do is open your mind and experience the pure joy of it all. I remember seeing Lambert to my right, shoeless and recording my goofy grin. And then BOOM, French pulled the parachute and we zigzagged toward the earth with ease. In just a half hour, I managed to join an elite group of people. I experienced my first skydive, and I didn’t scream like a little girl. All in all, this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; one made better by the unbelievable generosity, intellect and overall kindness of Lambert and the Skydive Orange crew. I had heard great things about this place, and now that I’ve experienced it in person, I understand that skydiving is only as amazing as the people who teach you. Just ask Lambert. “To me, skydiving and the community that comes with it is one of the best-kept secrets around. I think there is almost no one who wouldn’t enjoy trying it at least once. Many people will find it a life-changing event that they might make into a regular hobby,” said Lambert. “I love sharing that with anyone willing to learn.” d

To learn more about skydiving, visit www.USPA.org. When you’re ready to fly the open skies with a parachute pack the size of a lunchbox, visit www.SkydiveOrange.com or call 540-943-6587.

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The free-spirited Lambert goes to work in his typical skydiving attire

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Cold Noses and Warm Hearts ConďŹ dence, respect and good manners are the lessons Sue Coleman teaches her students

by Susan Tremblay photography by Jamie Haverkamp 44 www.VaNeighbors.com

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F

or nearly a quarter of a century, Sue Coleman has been training dogs to sit, stay and come. And over the years, she’s discovered what motivates them. Labs will do anything for food, poodles want to please and terriers like their toys. She’s also seen plenty of dogs with problems: German shepherds that whimper, spaniels that snap, and dachshunds that dominate. But none of that fazes Sue. Rare is the dog that can’t be taught to become

Valentine is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

a valued and loving member of a household. In her mind, all dogs are trainable. “No dog is dumb. It’s the owners that mess them up,” she says. Sue, a spunky 68-year-old who hails from Frederick, Maryland, teaches dog obedience classes to youngsters ages 9 through 18 at her farm in King George County. Working under the auspices of the county’s 4-H program, Sue prods, praises and perseveres to bring out the best in her charges and their dogs. Her goals are clear. She wants well-behaved dogs and confident, respectful children. If the children learn, the adults will, too, she figures. And in the process, she instills in the children a desire to help others by serving the community. Her method: Praise the positive, nudge out the negative. “I try to give praise when it’s due. I don’t want to nag, nag, nag the child, or the child will nag the dog.” Her accomplishments: hundreds of students, possibly as many as 500, have taken her classes over the years. Many go on to snag top awards at Virginia State Fair 4-H Dog Shows where the King George contingency has a reputation for winning. “I can’t tell you when we haven’t won Top Dog,” Sue says matter-of-factly. “It’s been years that we’ve dominated.” She was probably the first in the county to take dogs to visit patients in nursing homes and hospitals, long before pet therapy was a household term. She takes dogs to preschools and kindergarten classes to show young children how to treat and respond to dogs. She started a bird-feeding program at Heritage Hall Nursing Home, getting students to apply for a $900 grant to buy and install birdfeeders. She coordinates the

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(Above): Yellow lab Eliza, chocolate lab Jack and Jackâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s handler, Katie Barnum calmly await their instructions. (Left): Amber Garbee puts Cory through his paces on the agility course.

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(Clockwise from above): Judge Kay Livermore looks over Elyse Quartuccio and yellow lab Eliza. English spaniel Conner enjoys a scratch. Zeke and Helen Tripp manuever the agility course. Cory shows off his speed.

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“Atta girl! Good job! Keep control. Stay firm.” students’ monthly visits to the nursing home to fill the feeders and to visit the residents. She organizes food drives for needy families. And in 2001, when bad blood among the dog show leaders threatened to cancel the competition at the state fair, Sue and her husband hosted the event at their farm. Today she’s one of the coordinators of the Virginia State Fair 4-H dog show. And for all of this, she gets nary a penny. Just pleasure and pride in her students. “She is innovative, ahead of the curve,” says Erin Butler, a former student who has known Coleman for 23 years. “She started pet therapy way before it was trendy, before there was a Canine Good Citizen (CGC) program. A lot of people jumped on the bandwagon but Mrs. Coleman was ahead of her time.” Sue’s classes are legendary in King George. Waiting lists are a given, and classes, which are free, can get as large as 25 students. Practically every student goes on to graduate from the basic obedience class and many return to take advanced classes. Some students have been with her for years. Under her tutelage, many go on to show their dogs at competitions, winning at the state level and competing with professionals at the American Kennel Club dog shows. Others stick with pet therapy, working under Sue’s guidance to train their dogs to earn CGC credentials so they can visit nursing homes and hospitals. Obedience classes are held once a week in a ring that Sue’s husband, Howard, put together on the couple’s 10acre property in the Edgehill area of King George County. Class rules are steadfast and straightforward: Don’t be late. Wear sneakers, not sandals. Mind your manners. Respect your dog and your classmates. No scarves on dogs no matter how cute. At home, practice, practice, practice. She’ll know if you don’t heed the latter. In the training ring, Sue is all business. Her white hair clipped short, she wears sensible shoes, a green 4-H shirt, khakis and a baseball cap with 4-H paraphernalia on it. She looks like a grandmother, a very determined grandmother. In class, however, she is more coach than grandmother: kind, yes; indulgent, no. “Let’s do it,” she says to a class of first-timers as she

claps her hands four times. “Everybody out, out, out. Call your dog!” In near unison, the children tell their dogs to sit. Then they walk several feet away and call the dogs. “Happy, happy, happy!” Sue says, reminding the students to be upbeat and encouraging with their dogs. While more experienced students work on the basics with the younger children, Sue takes a child aside, one at a time, to practice the skills that will be tested at graduation. “Come over here, sweetie,” she tells one girl. “You’re showing us what your dog can do.” Sue calls out commands as each student runs through the practice: Forward, nice normal pace, turn right, about turn, fast pace, about turn, halt, sit. Sue peppers her instructions with encouragement. “Atta girl! Good job! Keep control. Stay firm.” And then, there’s the occasional no, no, no! and whoa, whoa, whoa! “Boy, I’m glad you’re not driving yet,” she jokes with a youngster who turned right instead of left and went slow, not fast. She sends the children home with some last-minute reminders: “Don’t over practice what you already know. Your dog will just get bored and sloppy. And remember: You have to know you’re the boss. You let your dog know that with your attitude. You have to trust yourself and trust your dog.” Sue’s no-nonsense approach earns her respect from children, parents and dog show judges. ”In my dealings with her, she was in charge and organized,” says Bradford Noyes, a state fair dog competition judge who has known Sue for about 10 years. “She had a good relationship with the children. They knew what they were doing. The dogs were trained. She just seems to have the best interest of the children at heart, their training and their well-being.” “She keeps you in line,” says Elyse Abell, who took Coleman’s classes for four years with a springer spaniel named Charlie. “She taught you to keep going, not to give up on yourself, to have faith in yourself,” says Elyse, now 17. Her sister Aldyn has been a student with Sue for seven years. “She makes you work, she knows you can do it. She keeps you motivated. She just gets really happy when we do really good, and she’s proud of us.” Aldyn is 14 and plans to keep taking Sue’s classes as JULY / AUGUST 2009 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 49

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(Clockwise from above): Sue offers a smile of encouragement to Stephanie Garbee. After a long day of training, Black and Tucker take a well-deserved rest.

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long as she can. “We’re forever learning something new.” Parent Terry Abell says Sue’s can-do attitude and high expectations bring out the best in the students. “She has confidence in every kid. She’s very good at her craft,” Terry says. “At the end of the course you have a totally different kid. Their self-esteem is higher and so is their confidence level,” Terry says. “They are self-assured and I think a lot of that is due to being successful at training the dogs.” Sue never set out to turn every dog and its owner into a model citizen. It just seems to have worked out that way. The daughter of a lawyer and a housewife, Sue grew up in Maryland surrounded by cats, dogs and horses, and she loved them. While in high school she spent her summers working for a veterinarian. She went to a junior college in Virginia where she majored in equitation (the art of horseback riding) and minored in physical education. After college she taught PE at Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut., for two years. She returned to Frederick to tend to her ill mother and landed a job with a pediatrician. By then she was 27 and ready to get her life focused. She wanted to be a veterinarian and signed up to take chemistry at a community college. Six weeks into the class she came down with chicken pox (from the pediatrician’s patients) and had to drop out of the class. Soon after she recovered from that, she caught another bug: love. She had just met a handsome Army man on a blind date. “Howard Coleman redirected my attention,” she explains. Six months later they were married and Sue Coleman found herself in King George County. She soon realized she didn’t want to teach school or work at the naval base in Dahlgren. She busied herself teaching equestrian classes to children. She took an obedience class with an 8-year-old poodle she and Howard had adopted. Then came children: son Scott, and daughter Kelly, along with another dog, an Irish setter the children named Fancy. “She fit in with our family; the children just loved her,” Sue says. “She was wonderful.” Soon, Sue was taking Fancy to her daughter’s kindergarten class. Word spread that the Irish setter could “talk,” or bark, depending upon your perspective. The whole school wanted to meet Fancy. Next thing Sue knew, she was starting a dog obedience class of her own. At her children’s request, she called it Fancy’s Friends. Sue figures she’ll keep up the classes and the volunteer work for as long as she’s able. “Monday mornings I wake up, I’m happy. I enjoy what I do. The day I get tired of it is the day I quit.” d

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540.373.0100 520 William Street Downtown, Fredericksburg Janet O’Malley, cell: 540.850.3141 Robin Marine, cell: 540.842.3379 www.janelandrobin.com

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7:26 PM

ART | ENTERTAINMENT | MUSIC | DINING

ART

Finding Beauty In The Ordinary

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he chooses her subjects carefully— the barn of a neighboring Woodford farm, chickens in her yard, a riverboat in a Rappahannock town— and paints them with motion, fluidity and light. Painting what she describes as “commonplace” objects, she captures their beauty and focuses on what people love about them. Jan Finn Duffy loved to paint and draw as a child, but it wasn’t until later in life that she took the time to develop her talent. “It’s always been in me,” she said. “My best friend when I was five-years-old, our favorite thing to do was paint and draw. When my kids got old enough to give me some free time, I really started focusing on art.” The self-taught artist paints in her dining room and a year ago, established an art guild at Fredericksburg

Jennie Thomas Photo

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Christian High School. Called the “Mama Lisas,” the group of 10 women who range from amateur to professional artists, gathers once a month to paint and create. “We started out as strangers and we’ve become friends,” Jan said. Her life and her art intertwine, and she enjoys getting to know people through local artists groups, at events in her home county of Caroline and at her art exhibits in Fredericksburg and the Chesapeake Bay area. Jan’s work is displayed on the walls of Jake and Mike’s restaurant in downtown Fredericksburg and at Art Speaks Gallery in Mathews County. She said she paints on small canvases because of the limited space in her dining room/ art studio— a problem Jan’s trying to get her husband, Bob, to solve— and the places where she exhibits are most suitable to smaller paintings. In May she set up four pallets and painted during the

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ART continued _________________________________

town of Bowling Green’s first annual Art and Garden Tour. Using an artistic technique called underpainting, Jan painted the pallets bright orange to serve as a base color for her oil paints. She uses other underpainting colors for indoor or evening scenes, but she prefers bright orange because she likes the light it brings to paintings. During the three-day tour, Jan recreated four garden scenes, using easy brushstrokes and bringing in her intuitive sense of color. Often, Jan’s use of color does not represent the true color of her subject but helps evoke a soft and familiar reaction from the viewer, giving meaning to common objects. That’s what struck Mary Bowie. She purchased two of Jan’s paintings at the Bowling Green Art and Garden Tour because they reminded her of how she felt as a child. One, an oil painting, features bluish- green hues streaking a barn roof and depicts Woodpecker Farm where Mary grew up. Jan loves painting outdoors when she gets the chance, like at the May garden show, but she is usually only able to set up easels on her own property in Woodford. “I choose the scenes carefully. It really evolves as I paint,” she said. “As I put the paint to the board, it kind of ‘becomes,’” she said. The Caroline County artist said she likes to localize her work to the place where it will be shown. Jan exhibited many paintings of local subjects— including “Red Barn,” which depicts a Bowling Green landmark, and “Searching for Bugs,” which features her backyard hens— at the recent garden show. She also had several paintings of Fredericksburg subjects including the Fredericksburg Riverboat in “The Way It Was, Sometimes Still Is.” Jan prefers to paint with oils, but she also works in pastels, watercolors and acrylic. She considers herself an Impressionist artist who has an affinity for color. “Movement in painting using brush strokes and color is what excites me the most,” she said. She has goals of building an art studio at her Woodford home, being a part of LibertyTown Art Workshops in Fredericksburg and expanding the Mama Lisas art guild, but mainly she aspires to just keep getting better. “I always want to produce the best that I can, and I always want to keep improving,” Jan said. “It’s work, but I enjoy it. It’s a blessing and a privilege to be able to paint.” — C. Ruth Ebrahim

SPOTLIGHT

A Not-SoImpossible Dream

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redericksburg and the surrounding counties are well known for being a historical mecca. What often escapes visitors, and sometimes local residents, is the scope of the arts and cultural community and its professional quality. The Fredericksburg region is blessed to have at least two symphony orchestras, a pops orchestra and a community concert band, two major choral groups, a variety of theater and dance groups, artists, sculptors, potters, silversmiths, and a host of writers. With all these skilled performing, creative and visual artists, what has been missing is a vehicle to bring these often struggling organizations together in a way that transforms them into an arts and cultural destination. Enter…the Arts and Cultural Council of the Rappahannock, a new Fredericksburg-area non-profit organization charged with promoting the arts and cultural community. It serves the city of Fredericksburg and Stafford, Spotsylvania, King George and Caroline counties. Many Virginia communities have an

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Carriage House Realty Inc. We do better for our customers in an adjusted market because we are trained and seasoned to manage it. Call us!

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arts and cultural council. The Fredericksburg council is the moving force for the arts. It will provide guidance, counsel, training programs, networking and promotion to area artists, performers and organizations. The council also can act as a clearinghouse for artistic information and a source for a master arts and culture calendar. This helps its members to not schedule competing events and is a source for art offerings schedules. On May 15 the council held a conference that dealt with creating arts and cultural districts and how these districts foster economic development. Currently there are no arts and cultural districts in Fredericksburg and the surrounding counties. About 170 interested individuals and organizations came to the Hospitality House Convention Center to hear first-hand reports of how other localities have created districts and how these have increased their economy through promoting the arts. On the grand scale, the council plans to act as the catalyst for the creation of the dream of all the local artists, performers and a vast majority of the local population…a place to show their talents…a performing arts and cultural center. Whether you call it a theater, auditorium or center, it will be a place where local talent performs or displays their talents. Imagine a smaller Kennedy Center-like facility for not only local talent but also a place where Broadway shows or national artists can entertain. Is it a dream? Yes, it is, but with leadership and passion the Fredericksburg area can become an arts and cultural destination. The Arts and Cultural Council of the Rappahannock hopes to play a major role in making this happen. Someone once said if you move in the direction of your dreams, your dreams will come true. Sometimes even impossible dreams. For more information about how dreams come true, contact the Arts and Cultural Council of the Rappahannock at Rapp_Arts@yahoo.com or call 540-368-9080. — Harvey Gold

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BEST BITES

Rewarding Your Sweet Tooth

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hose sugary sayings that are handed out like candy during Christmas time should be redirected toward the summer months, at least when it comes to the Fredericksburg region. Thanks to the Olde Time Lollipops Candy and Fudge Factory, kids get to do more than just dream of dancing sugar plums and figgy pudding— they can have their pick from dozens of hard-to-find goodies! Located in Downtown Fredericksburg on 705 Caroline Street (across the street from the visitor’s center) this momand-pop store offers an impressive selection of candy that will satisfy any sweet tooth. The store’s claim to fame is their 14 different types of fudge made daily— if you buy a pound, you get a half-pound for free— and 16 flavors of Hershey’s ice cream. In addition, there are dozens of different treats around the store, including black licorice gum, fireballs and taffy. For those adults pining for the type of candy they had growing up, this is the place to be. the Fudge Factory has more retro goodies than you can shake a cinnamon stick at. Owned and run by Cheri and Ron McGaffic, the Fudge Factory has been a popular staple in the downtown community for years, what with their impeccable service and hand-made products. When you walk into the quaint little

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store, the first thing you notice is the wall-to-wall jars filled with home-made lollipops, chocolate pretzels, pecan caramel turtles and any type of gummy concoction you can think of. Unlike corporate stores filled with flashy products and high-tech gadgetry, the Fudge Factory is an old-fashioned type of business that puts quality products and customer care above everything else. And it works; the entire place has a very relaxed and homely feel to it. It’s almost like you’re walking into your mother’s kitchen, eager to get your hands on some fresh goodies. Complementing the store’s wide selection of offerings is their community-oriented programs. If you’re more than a nut about candy and you find yourself with some time, you can sign up for one of the store’s candy-making classes. Not only do these courses offer a fun way to get a “taste” of what it takes to be in the candy business, but you’ll be able to bond with other dessert lovers over fudge and peppermint. If you have a birthday party coming up and you want to make it memorable, the Fudge Factory has everything you need to keep your kids smiling. What’s more, they offer elaborate fudge and candy gift baskets for special occasions like graduations and weddings. Conveniently located in the historic district, the Fudge

Adam DeSio Photo

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Factory has become a fun and tasty getaway for locals and tourists alike. Or, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re near a computer, browse their Web site at www.oldetownlollipops.com and preview the variety of snacks they offer. However you decide to get your candy fix, you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t go wrong with the Fudge Factory. This summer, if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for delicious desserts at reasonable prices or an inexpensive trip down memory lane, look no further. The Fudge Factory has everything you need to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Nicholas Addison Thomas The Fudge Factory 705 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 Phone: 540-371-4973 Web: fudgefactory@oldetimelollipops. com

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WHAT’S HAPPENING IN AND AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD

Out&About

Birding Tours at Ferry Farm

These fun and informative tours are for anyone interested in our feathered friends and their local habitats. The beautiful grounds and wooded paths at Ferry Farm are the perfect setting for viewing birds and listening to their songs. Paul Nasca, a staff archaeologist and resident member of the Fredericksburg Birding Club, will lead the tours and help identify birds seen from among the 135 species that call Ferry Farm home (or at least a vacation spot). Don’t forget to bring your binoculars! Saturdays, July 11, August 1, Sept. 12, Oct. 17. For more information, visit the website at www.kenmore.org

7/8/09 to 7/10/09

Made In Virginia Summer Camp Artists have played a central role in the development of Fredericksburg. Children will learn to appreciate and create community art in this threeday summer camp. 10 a.m.– 2 p.m. $75/ non-member, $65/member per student, ages 7-11. Registration began May 1, 540-371-3037 ext.127. Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. 7/10/09

Where Angels Tread: Clara Barton at Fredericksburg Long before she founded the American Red Cross, Clara Barton was giving aid to wounded Union soldiers on the battlefield. Join Historians Donald Pfanz and John Hennessy as they visit places in town visited by the woman described as the “Angel of the Battlefield.” Meet in front of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library at 7 p.m. for this two-hour walk through

town. FREE Central Rappahannock Regional Library, Fredericksburg. 7/11/09

Summer Saturday Garden Tours Summer Saturday Garden Tour 9-11 a.m. Beate Jensen, Building and Grounds Preservation Supervisor, will highlight the flowers in bloom and discuss how the Belmont landscape has evolved over two centuries of occupancy. Space is limited. To register call 540-654-1839. Free for Friends of Belmont and $5 for non-members. Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Fredericksburg. 7/11/09

Second Saturdays at the Museum The entire family will enjoy hands on activities while exploring river safety. Meet at Old Mill Park. 1 p.m.–3 p.m., FREE,Old Mill Park Pavilion 1, Fredericksburg.

7/11/09

Nighttime Canoe Float Nighttime is when the river comes alive! Join guides Bob Sargeant and Brian Gudmundsson for an enjoyable float in the dark and hopefully spot some wildlife. Meet at the Fredericksburg City Dock. Minimum age is 6 years. 7:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Backup: July 12. Pre-registration required, call Friends of the Rappahannock at 540-373-3448 to register.

Wine & Whiskers

The 4th Annual Wine & Whiskers fund-raiser for the Fredericksburg Regional SPCA will feature wine tastings, a cash wine bar, light fare and desserts, silent auction, door prizes and live music from String Kings. All proceeds benefit the SPCA— the area’s only no-kill animal shelter. July 17, 2009, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Reservations are stongly encouraged and can be made by calling the SPCA at 540-898-1500.

7/11/09

Cajun Zydeco at Lake Anna Winery Fireworks are over, but the sparks still fly at the winery for live Zydeco music with “Dixie Power Trio” and Cajun Fare. Consistently our most popular event. Fee includes live music from The Dixie Power Trio, souvenir wine glass, tours, and tasting. Sold out in 2007! 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Reservations for food are required. Please call 540-895-5085.

7/11/09 to 7/12/09

Mid-Summer Wine Festival Hartwood Winery and a guest winery invite you to come to the vineyard and enjoy live music, wine tastings, tours, and hors d’oeuvres. Hours: 11a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission includes

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Out&About festival glass. 345 Hartwood Road, Fredericksburg. 7/11/09 to 7/12/09

Living History at Chancellorsville The Battle of Chancellorsville was Robert E. Lee’s most brilliant victory of the Civil War but it also resulted in the death of Lee’s incomparable subordinate, “Stonewall” Jackson. The National Park Service will commemorate the battle with a series of programs featuring Civil War reenactors and live cannonfiring demonstrations. FREE 9001 Plank Road, Spotsylvania. 7/16/09 to 7/18/09

Movies Under the Moon FREE family movies downtown under the moon! Bring a blanket or lawn chair and enjoy a fun family feature film! Movies start approx. 8:15 p.m./at dusk. 7/16 – Kung Fu Panda 7/17 – Madagascar 2 7/18 – Indiana Jones: Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Hurkamp Park, Fredericksburg. 7/17/09

Race to the Crossroads: Laurel Hill On May 8, 1864, Confederate infantry seized a critical road junction just minutes ahead

of advacing Union infantry, prompting a two-week battle at Spotsylvania Court House. Historian Greg Mertz discusses this opening clash and its impact on the rest of the battle. This 90-minute walk begins at 7 p.m. at Tour Stop 1 on the Spotsylvania Battlefield. The battlefield is located on Route 613 (Brock Road), two miles northwest of Spotsylvania Courthouse. 7/18/09

Lightning Bug Canoe Float It’s a magical experience to paddle the glassy river under moonlight. Come join guides Michelle Meyer and Bob Sargeant as we learn all about the fireflies that light our way. Minimum age is 6 years. Meet at Fredericksburg City Dock. 7:30 p.m.–10:00 p.m. Backup: July 19. Pre-registration required, call Friends of the Rappahannock at 540-373-3448 to register. 7/24/09

Key Moments for Key People The May 3, 1863, fighting at Hazel Grove and Fairview determined the outcome of the Battle of Chancellorsville. Historians Frank O’Reilly and Kris White describe the fighting through the eyes of

All-American Concert Series Hear the Honkeytonk sound of the Wil Gravatt Band at Patriot Park in Spotsylvania. Wil Gravatt is a multitalented, singer, song writer and guitarist. It will be Kids and Senior Citizen’s Night, Kids 12 & under free, Seniors 65 & up save $3 off admission. Rain or Shine. No pets, coolers, or alcohol. Bring your own chair or blanket. Concessions will be available. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., concert starts at 6:30 p.m. Patriot Park Amphitheater, Spotsylvania

some of its key participants. Meet at 7 p.m. at Tour Stop 9 on the Chancellorsville Battlefield for this 90-minute walking tour. For directions call 540-786-2880. FREE. Tour Stop 9, Chancellorsville Battlefield. 7/25/09

22nd Annual Children’s Art Expo Explore the wide world of art! Messy, creative fun with hands-on art activities for children of all ages. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers wanted! In case of rain, moved to Dorothy Hart Community Center. FREE. 900 Prince Edward St, Fredericksburg. 7/26/09

Guided Woodland Walk Explore the wide world of art! Messy, creative fun with hands-on art activities for children of all ages. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers wanted! In case of rain, moved to Dorothy Hart Community Center. FREE. 900 Prince Edward St, Fredericksburg. 7/31/09

Finally Friday It’s Finally Friday! A celebration of the weekend! Family block party with a live concert by The CalypsoNuts, food and drink in Old Town

Fredericksburg. 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sophia St., Fredericksburg. 7/31/09

War Comes to the Wilderness The briars of the Wilderness were so difficult to maneuver through that the farms carved out of the thickets by the Chewning and Higgerson families attracted the soldiers like magnets. Historian Janice Frye will explain the hardships that this extended family endured. Meet at 7 p.m. at Tour Stop 4 on the Wilderness Battlefield for this 90-minute program. For directions call 540-786-2880. FREE. Tour Stop 4, Wilderness Battlefield Locust Grove. 8/4/09 to 8/7/09

Belmont Summer Art Camp: Where Design Comes Alive Belmont Summer Art Camp: Where Design Comes Alive! Artist M.J. Bradley will teach a 4-day summer art camp. August 4-7, 10 a.m. – Noon Grades 2-5 Using Belmont designs as inspiration, students will create several works of art using various media. Cost of class is $70; Friends of Belmont $60. All supplies included. Contact Education Coordinator Michelle Dolby at 540-654-1851 to register. Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Fredericksburg. 8/7/09

Ellwood by Candlelight Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Warren Harding, “Stonewall” Jackson, the Marquis de Lafayette. Each of these men visited Ellwood. Why did they come, and which one is still there? Find out in this one-hour

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candlelight tour of the house and grounds led by Historian Janice Frye and volunteers of Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield. Meet at Ellwood, located along Rt. 20 approximately two-thirds of a mile west of Rt. 3. Tours begin at 8:00, 8:15, and 8:30 p.m. FREE. 36380 Constitution Highway, Locust Grove. 8/7/09

First Friday A celebration of the arts in Old Town Fredericksburg with new exhibit openings in downtown galleries, food and drink, 6 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. FREE. 706 Caroline St., Fredericksburg 8/8/09

Second Saturdays at the Museum The entire family will enjoy hands on activities in the Learning Center, and architectural walking tours of downtown Fredericksburg. FREE with Museum admission. 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center. 8/14/09

War Means Freedom, War Means Anguish The occupation of Fredericksburg by the Union army caused anguish among the pro-Confederate faction of the community, but was welcomed as a door to freedom by the slave population. In this 90-minute program, Historians John Hennessy and Donald Pfanz will examine the different reactions that residents of Fredericksburg had to living with Yankees in their midst. Meet a 7 p.m. in front of the Rappahannock Regional Library at Caroline and Lewis Streets in Fredericksburg. For directions call 540-373-6122.

Crow’s Nest Float

Join author of A Field Guide to Crow’s Nest, Hal Wiggins, on this tour of Crow’s Nest, celebrated for its ecological importance and diversity. This area is not open to the public, so the Crow’s Nest Float is a Friends of the Rappahannock exclusive! Identify wetland vegetation along an undeveloped shoreline as you paddle through this biological wonder to the Potomac Creek Heronry. Bring a bag lunch. Minimum age 8 yrs. 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Backup: July 26. Pre-registration required, call 540-373-3448 to register. 8/15/09

8/15/09 to 8/16/09

Sunset Canoe Float

Living History at Fredericksburg

Join guides Michelle Meyer and Bob Sargeant on this dusk float. Hopefully, we will see plenty of wildlife as the nocturnal river habitat awakens! Meet at the Fredericksburg City Dock. Minimum age 6 years. 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Backup: August 16. Pre-registration required, call Friends of the Rappahannock at 540-373-3448 to register. 8/15/09

Lake Anna Country/ Bluegrass Jamboree Enjoy backyard cuisine (Pig Roast and comfort food), foot stomping, knee slapping entertainment, souvenir wine glass, tours, and tasting. 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. Reservations for food are required. Please call 540-895-5085. 5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania.

In December 1862, Union troops suffered a crushing defeat at Fredericksburg. Throughout the weekend, the National Park Service will offer a series walking tours, living history programs, and cannon-firing demonstrations illuminating the combat in the Sunken Road and on Marye’s Heights. FREE 1013 Lafayette Boulevard, Fredericksburg. 8/4/09 to 8/7/09

Belmont Summer Art Camp: Where Design Comes Alive Belmont Summer Art Camp: Where Design Comes Alive! Artist M.J. Bradley will teach a 4-day summer art camp. August 18-21, 10 a.m. – Noon, Grades 6-10. Using Belmont designs as inspiration, students will create

several works of art using various media. Cost of class is $70; Friends of Belmont $60 All supplies included. Contact Education Coordinator Michelle Dolby at 540-654-1851 to register. Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Fredericksburg. 8/21/09

All-American Concert Series Spotsylvania’s own Reck-nCrew will perform a mix of rock, country and top 40 music from the ‘60s to the ‘90s. Spotsylvania School Employees Night. Show your Spotsylvania County School ID and save $3 off the admission. Rain or Shine. No pets, coolers, or alcohol. Bring your own chair or blanket. Concessions will be available. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., concert starts at 6:30 p.m.Patriot Park Amphitheater, Spotsylvania.

JULY / AUGUST 2009 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 61

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Finally Friday

First Friday

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Finally Friday! A celebration of the weekend! Family block party with a live concert by The Rhondells, food and drink in Old Town Fredericksburg. 6 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9:30 p.m. Sophia St., Fredericksburg.

A celebration of the arts in Old Town Fredericksburg with new exhibit openings in downtown galleries, food and drink, 6 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 9:30 p.m. 706 Caroline St., Fredericksburg.

8/30/09

Last Days of Summer Jazz at Lake Anna Winery

Guided Woodland Walk Guided Woodland Walk, 2 p.m. Conducted by Virginia Master Naturalists, this informative nature walk covers a mile of woodland and field trails, and it touches on the historic ruins of Belmontâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s past. Please wear sturdy footwear. Meet outside the Visitor Center.FREE. Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Fredericksburg.

9/5/09

Join us at summers end for a savory collection of gourmet cuisine. Fee includes live music, wine glass, tours, and tasting. 6 p.m. â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 10 p.m. Reservations for food are required. Please call 540-895-5085 5621 Courthouse Road, Spotsylvania. 9/8/09

9/1/09

Lunchtime at Hurkamp

Lunchtime at Hurkamp

Free, live lunchtime concert in Hurkamp Park. Music this week by Terry Garland. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Bring a lunch or purchase one in the park while enjoying a music by local performers.

Free, live lunchtime concert 6:22:32 PM in Hurkamp Park. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Bring a lunch or purchase one in the park while enjoying a music by local performers.

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Planning a Fall Vegetable Garden

Saturday, August 29, 9 a.m.â&#x20AC;&#x201C;12 p.m. An illustrated lecture will discuss suitable fall vegetables, cover crops, winterizing and double digging, followed by hands-on work in the Belmont vegetable garden. FREE Gari Melcherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Home and Studio, Fredericksburg.

62 www.VaNeighbors.com SkydiveO_VaNja09.indd 1

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Cul-de-sac

Neighbors and Friends By C. Ruth Ebrahim When we need a change, life often takes us down a well worn path we’ve traveled before. As a way to remind us our footprints may be faded but will never disappear, or to give us a chance to tend our path and keep it clear for future travelers— the phenomena is neither unkind nor unwise. While attending college at Mary Washington, I waited tables at a local downtown restaurant. I’d worked in many restaurants, but waiting tables at what is now known as Bistro Bethem (formerly Bistro 309) meant more than taking orders and slinging drinks. We greeted customers by name, took pride in our appearance and truly learned as much as possible about the food and wine. The staff, a tight knit crew of mostly college students, worked and partied together. We became more than friends and for many those bonds continue today. Customers also took an interest in our lives and we thought of them as more than wallets and pocketbooks. Some of the most useful connections I’ve made in Fredericksburg came from working at this restaurant. After four years, I decided to move on and take “a real job” at a newspaper in Caroline County. Fast forward to 2009, and my husband and I fell on hard times, along with much of the nation. We first met at “the Bistro,” as we affectionately refer to it, in 2001 when we were in our early 20s. We got married at the home of friends we also knew through working at the restaurant. We welcomed our first son after five years of marriage, and thought we had it all figured out. It’s just such times— when you keep looking ahead and concentrating on what’s next— that life pulls up that path you’ve been traveling and takes you for a U-turn. I decided that I needed to go back to work after being a stay at home mom for 18 months. I applied for jobs, filled out applications and went to interviews. Nothing seemed right.

One day, the current owner of the Bistro, Aby Bethem, asked if I wanted to wait tables. I answered yes immediately before thinking through what it would mean. I was just thankful that I’d maintained friendships with people who could (and would) offer me an opportunity so quickly. As I pulled on the new uniform, I remembered the days I thought it was the only clothes I wore. As I learned the new menu, I recalled the beginnings of many dishes and how the flavors developed over the years. As I memorized an extensive wine list, using memory muscles I hadn’t flexed since my son was born, I thought “I can do this.” Getting on my server legs didn’t come immediately. Waiting tables was easier in my memory than in reality. The old nerves came back. I felt the old rush of a busy night and relished the old feeling of money in the pocket. What also came back were the old connections and friends. Of all things I expected of traveling again a road I thought I’d left behind, I wasn’t expecting people to remember me and welcome me and be so glad to see me. For me, neighbors are the regulars and staff of Bistro Bethem, the friends I made years ago who gladly welcomed me back without question. Neighbors are the new folks I meet daily who allow me to be a part of their special occasions. Neighbors are in a place where everyone knows your name. ___________________________________________________________ C. Ruth Ebrahim lives and writes (and works) in Fredericksburg

64 www.VaNeighbors.com

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Virginia Neighbors