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Refresh Your Nest Inspired pick-me-ups for your home and garden

gifts for grads: your guide to the year’s top picks $3.95

MAY | JUNE 2010

affordable solar energy comes to town

Summer berries Star in our italian classic

Located only one hour from Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, the Spotsylvania Courthouse Village is perfectly positioned for local employers and commuters. It also strategically sits in the heart of Spotsylvania County— one of the nation’s fastest growing localities.

9010 Old Battlefield Blvd., Spotsylvania, VA, 22553

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Our apartments range in size from 800 to 1,300 SF. Conveniently located over the shops, you can walk to dinner and shop downtown along wide, tree-lined brick sidewalks, park benches and street lamps. Condos for sale and townhomes coming soon.


The Village offers streetlevel shops, offices, on-site multi-office complexes, many nearby schools and municipal buildings. Approximately 8,600 persons already or soon will work within the Village.

4830 Southpoint Drive • Fredericksburg, Virginia 22407 540.898.3242 • Fax 540.735.1056 •


As Spotsylvania’s new— and only—downtown, the Village draws residents from throughout the county. The Village Pavilion hosts concerts and community festivals…a long-sought gathering place for the 41,000 residents within its trade area.



MAY | JUNE 2010


31 Refresh Your Nest Simple tricks and tips to update your home inside and out.

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:

36 Think Small Since 1993 Todd Stewart and Bob Chilton have gathered one of the largest bonsai collections in the mid-Atlantic including a tree from China more than 300 years old.

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

46 Biker Bruce

Or, email us at:

Bruce White combines two loves—volunteering and bicycling— to introduce hundreds of kids in this area to the sport.



9 Summer Solstice 10 T  rends

27 Circle of Life: the joys of being

10 B its&Pieces


Online baby books #1 website for historic home styles, Guerilla gardening & Mocha Moms

12 EC O411

Is recycling really worth it?

14 B  EST OF

Top gifts for graduates


Dynamic Roanoke, gateway to Virginia’s Southwest

18 H  UMOR

Cat-tastrophes and other house-sitting horrors wreck havoc on holidays

Around Town 21 Families of the Wounded Fund 22 O  ne ON ONE Ken McFarland, retiree of Stratford Hall

24 F  ocus

United States Green Energy

first-time grandparents

52 L  ocal culture

Car show season

53 mu sic

Peter Dunning’s small concert group now spans 28 counties, cities and towns

54 w  riter’s block

What’s in season on the library shelf

Best Bites


What’s in a name? More than expected at this Caroline Street eatery!


Old Tom Gin making a comeback

60 C OME & Get IT

Summer’s sweetest berries shine in an Italian classic.

61 F oodie Profile Olde Towne Butcher

Out&About 65 Lunch at Hurkamp, Murder at

the Prom, Shakespeare on the Lawn, American Family Camp out and much more.

Cul-de-sac 72 Creating Father’s Day traditions

« Opa! Come enjoy the Nativity of the Theotokos Greek Festival. See page 65.


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It’s more than where we live, it’s who we are.

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Th e

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Co-Publisher / Creative director Don Saucier Managing Editor Susan Tremblay Contributing Writers Drema Apperson, Robert Burke, Ted Byrd, Candice Carver, Lisa Chinn, Kirk Evans, Julie May, Marty Morrison, Danielle Peters, Elizabeth Rabin, Paul Sullivan, Nicholas Addison Thomas, Susan Tremblay, Neva Trenis

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Car Charger with new activation Additional restrictions may apply. See in store details.

Use of the Palm Pre requires a Palm account, activation and acceptance of Palm terms. Available content and services may vary. Coverage not available everywhere. The 3G Sprint Mobile Broadband Network reaches over 255 million people. Offers not available in all markets/retail locations or for all networks. Other restrictions apply. See store for details. ©2009 Handmark, Inc. Handmark,® Pocket Express® and the distinctive hand design are registered trademarks of Handmark, Inc. in the U.S. and other territories. All rights reserved. All other trademarks belong to their respective owners. ©2009 Sprint. Sprint and the logo are trademarks of Sprint. Other marks are the property of their respective owners. 1101_66_4C

Contributing Photographers Adam DeSio, Jamie Haverkamp, Norm Shafer Advertising and Circulation Director Gerald Childress Account executive John Budd, Nancy Price

Virginia Neighbors is published every two months by:

520 William Street, Suite B Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-899-3999 E-mail: To subscribe visit: 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. © 2010 by Willow Publishing, Inc.


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Each issue of Virginia Neighbors showcases the people, places, businesses and events in and around our region, reminding us all that our community and world is still a place of “good neighbors.” MAY / JUNE 2010 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 5

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’m a Daddy’s girl. I always have been. For as long as I can remember, I have adored and admired my father. I’m not sure how this began. Perhaps it’s because I look so much like him. As my mother’s obstetrician and family friend told her on the day I was born, “He can’t deny he’s the father.” Not that he would’ve. My earliest memories revolve around him: a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, where he promised to wrestle a bear for me until he said he saw a “Do Not Wrestle with Bears” sign; playing in the tree house he built for me, an only child; proudly walking down the hallways with him at the high school where he was the principal. When I was about 5, I even dressed up as Daddy for Halloween, wearing a tie and carrying a pipe. My mother nurtured my relationship with my father, always telling me what a good man he was and how much he loved me. I never doubted her. Daddy was a school superintendent in Tennessee during the early days of integration. Perhaps my mother believed his goodness could serve as a foil to the fear, anger and hostility that dominated during those turbulent years in the South. My father died in 2006, and rarely a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I smile when I remember some of his words of wisdom. Never enter an establishment that says “Ladies Welcome,” he told me, and I have followed that advice to this day. I realize now how self-centered I was. Daddy often took me fishing, and one time I caught 26 bream. I refused to touch the worms or the fish, so he did all of the work. And, most important, I realize how lucky I am to have had him. He challenged my beliefs, encouraged me to pursue my dreams, and showed me through example how to lead a fulfilling and balanced life. Too often, I think, men get shortchanged on Father’s Day. The holiday occurs when schools are usually out. So dads don’t always get the handmade Popsicle stick coasters or the pencil holders made from orange juice cans wrapped with construction paper. I realize not everyone is as fortunate as I am to have had a wonderful dad. And I know that mothers, too, deserve their own day of recognition. (Note to my sons: Mother’s Day is May 9. Call home.) This June, I urge everyone to thank the men, like my father, who encouraged their daughters to be smart, strong, and successful; and the men—my husband included—who taught their sons, through word and deed, to respect, honor, and appreciate women. This issue of Virginia Neighbors features a father who devotes his time to helping youngsters learn the joys of cycling, and Kirk Evans’s humorous column on Father’s Day traditions. We also have a tasty tiramisu recipe, gift suggestions for your favorite graduates, home decorating tips, book reviews and more. We hope you enjoy this issue of Virginia Neighbors, and we look forward to hearing from you. If you know a neighbor who should be featured, give us a call at (540)899-3999, send me an email at or drop by our office at 520 William Street. We’d love to hear from you.

Susan Tremblay Editor





More Sunny Hours to Celebrate The Summer Solstice on June 21st, also known as Midsummer, St. John’s Day, or the first harvest of the year, is when many cultures host large feasts, bon fires, and celebrate the sun and all those fertile things summer brings. The word “solstice” is derived from the Latin words sol meaning sun, and sistere meaning to stand still. This 
is because, as the days lengthen the sun seems to stand still in the sky, resulting in the longest day and the shortest night of the year. How can we celebrate the extra sunny hours? Break in the grill with veggie skewers to commemorate the first harvest. Play sun-related songs like “Cruel Summer,” or “Summer of ’69.” And, finish with a traditional bon-fire and beat all those July 4 parties to the punch!

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” “The Honey Moon” The first full moon in the month of June is called this because in many cultures a record number of marriages are performed in honor of celebrating fertility during the solstice.

‘Chase-Devil’ The herb also known as St. John’s Wort, named after St. John the Baptist, is harvested in full bloom on St. John’s Day. Candice Carver Illustration

Shakespeare’s well-known play is based on the idea that spirits and fairies come out on the solstice.

3,000 to 5,000 The number of people attracted annually to NYC Swedish Midsummer celebrations in Battery Park, New York City, which makes it one of the largest celebrations in the world.

“Return to the right path.” According to lore, St. John was troublesome when he was young and the people hit him on the head with garlic repeating this saying. During St. John’s Day celebrations in Portugal, people carry a whole plant of flowering garlic which they use to bang their neighbors’ heads for good luck.


The amount of sunlight North of the Arctic Circle and duration of darkness south of the Antarctic circle on the day of the solstice.

17 feet high, and burning for 2 days Guinness Book noted “World’s Largest Fire” is the center of the “Biggest Outdoor Country Festival” held the first day of harvest in Caruaru, Brazil.




Looking for a Tiffany Lamp or an Art Deco Wallcovering? Fredericksburg-based website has all the answers


For Crying Out Loud! Baby Books Go High Tech

Reese Pattison lives in Blacksburg, Va. Her great-grandmother lives five states away in

Iowa, but that doesn’t stop her from knowing exactly what little Reese is up to. Through photos, she’s seen the toddler practice tummy time, sit on Santa’s lap and swing with her sister in the park.

Reese’s mother, Rachel, makes it possible by pasting pictures, recording memories

and writing about the firsts in the lives of her children, Reese, 2½, and baby sister Emma Grace, on her blog. Her own mother did the same thing for her decades ago, recording milestones between the covers of a traditional baby book. But to peruse the Pattison girls’ early years, readers don’t flip through the pages, they scroll.

Cyberspace is toddling onto the baby-book scene in a big way. Blogs, like the one

Rachel Pattison keeps, are just one outlet for Web-savvy moms and dads. Facebook pages for baby are among this year’s biggest parenting trends, according to iVillage, a website that caters to the concerns of women. And baby book-building sites, like TotSpot, Kidmondo and lil’grams, make it easy to document the same types of tidbits parents once packed into old-fashioned books, minus the bulk.

For the most part, online sites stick with tradition, offering growth charts, places to

record baby’s firsts and favorites, medical and food journals, and timelines. But unlike their more conventional counterparts, Web-based books let users post up-to-the-minute reports and offer convenience for today’s parents, who already spend much of their time in front of a computer screen. Users can post video, add friends, track visits and create their own books by printing posted information onto real paper. Plus, logging children’s activities online comes with a sense of camaraderie.

“It’s a way not to feel so secluded,” said Pattison, who often reads what her friends have

posted about their own little ones. “You realize your child isn’t the only one opening packages of training pants in Target before you’ve been given the chance to pay for them.”

Perhaps the only things missing from baby books built in cyberspace are the pockets.

Being able to touch treasured mementos, like hospital bracelets, locks of hair and lost teeth, adds charm and nostalgia. That’s why Pattison keeps both her online baby blog and a journal she can hold in her hands.

“The actual baby book has old-school charm,” she said. “It’s nice to have something

real in an age where everything seems to be electronic.” —Lisa Chinn


A few years ago, Louise Corderman couldn’t even send an email. Today, she’s the proprietor of the number one website for American historic interiors. The website,, gives home owners and professionals alike a comprehensive list of resources to find historically accurate American furnishings, from chandeliers to rugs to paint colors. The website directs people to “period-correct” artisans who sell

furnishings typical of the decorating styles of American homes between the years 1680 to 1930, from Early Colonial to Art Deco. Many of these artisans don’t have the marketing budget to advertise nationally, so Louise’s website helps them as well as their customers. A longtime interior designer, Louise retired two years ago. Working for historic organizations such as the James Monroe Law Library, Kenmore and Montpelier, inspired her to start the website. Louise designed it with two types of people in mind: a woman who dreams of decorating her home in a certain historic period and wants to start collecting all the information she can; and a curator of a small museum with limited funds who has been assigned to decorate a room but doesn’t have a background in decorative arts. A history lover, Louise believes that homes’ interiors reveal much about our nation’s past. “They tell our most important history: what we’re like at home.” Louise devotes a section of her website to one historic home every month, just to give that home exposure and to encourage people to visit it. She takes pride in knowing that all of the companies she lists on her website sell only American made products or products with the majority of the components made in the USA. The website is a resource guide only, Louise said, and she estimates that 60 percent of the web visitors are everyday people looking for decorating help for their homes; the rest are curators. She believes her website has a healthy mix of information for the novice decorator and enough “sophisticated sources that a curator would feel comfortable using it.” —Susan Tremblay




Guerilla Gardening A year ago several University of Mary Washington students found a plot of land in Fredericksburg and turned it into a community garden. Karl Gergel, Colleen Brooke, and Kendel Wynne are all members of a club called Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), and wanted to add to their community. In February 2009 the students began composting food products, green compost (leaves and other dead plants) and brown compost (dirt). Colleen and Karl kept the garden running over the summer and had a habanera plant that produced so many peppers they took a basket to the Farmer’s Market downtown and handed them out for donations and to get the word out Their list of plants so far this season abounds: peas, cilantro, basil, mint, carrots, broccoli, radishes, cabbage, lettuce, and arugula. Colleen mentions, “It’s really exciting. We went down there a couple days ago; we were digging up compost from a year ago and putting it on the plot.” Wary of using a seemingly abandoned plot, the students contacted City Hall for information on the plot. The proprietor listed led to Kenmore Plantation, but the lead ended there. Karl, however, has recently heard through the

grapevine that the rented house next door is owned by the same person and he said he was fine with the ‘hippie kids’ making a garden. “Every single conversation I’ve had with a neighbor has been a really good one,” Karl mentions. The students are helping to keep trash off the property and recycle what they find, including bricks from an old foundation. “The whole idea behind the garden is to use what is already there, like the bricks we dig up,” says Karl. “It’s very satisfying to see physical work manifest itself.” Now the group is working to introduce the campus and the community to the garden, which is located on Winchester Street, between Amelia Street and Lewis Avenue. SDS encourages people to bring donations of compost, dirt, seeds, tools, or just a helping hand. “We’re trying to pull some of the students off-campus,” Colleen states. “We want them to come down and interact with Fredericksburg.” Plus, “[fresh produce] tastes so much better!” — Danielle Peters To get involved or find out more, you can contact Karl Gergel:

ECO 411 The Truth about Recycling

Why bother with recycling? It all goes in the landfill anyway, right? Your local recycling program is either making money from the sale of your recyclables or generating a cost savings by diverting recyclable materials from the landfill, keeping overall disposal costs low. In fact, the aluminum can you leave at the curb may appear back on the shelf in as few as 60 days. In the late 1980s there was a strong push for community recycling programs because of the belief that there wouldn’t be enough landfill space for all of our garbage. In the last 20 years, that has turned out to not be true. Recycling has likely played a part in that, but is only effective when it makes economic sense. Making something into a new product is often less expensive than making that product from virgin materials.


The aluminum can industry is a great example of successful, closed loop recycling. According to the Alcoa Recycling Company, recycled aluminum is identical to smelted aluminum, requiring only 1/20 of the energy to make it. Aluminum can also be recycled over and over again without losing quality. A typical beverage can is about 40 percent recycled aluminum. The Can Manufacturers Institute says recycling aluminum cans generates 95 percent fewer emissions and creates 97 percent less water pollution than generating new metal from ore. Wondering about the recyclability of other items? Polystyrene, i.e. Styrofoam®, can theoretically be melted down into plastic soup to be molded into new products, but because of its light weight, it costs too much to haul it to a recycling center. Most plastic products are made from natural gas and as long as it is cheaper to make new take-out containers from natural gas rather than recycled

MOCHA MOMS The Fredericksburg chapter of Mocha Moms, a national non-profit organization designed to support stay-at-home moms of color and their families, meets the third Thursday of each month, normally at a local library. The meetings give mothers a chance to discuss issues involving their children, swap recipes and share child-rearing tips. The group also meets just for fun to give the mothers a break. Mocha Moms supports strengthening marriages and families, promoting self-care, strong educational foundations and volunteerism. The national chapter’s main project is a program to encourage reading among boys in urban communities, called “Boys Booked on Barbershops.” The Fredericksburg chapter serves mothers and their families in the city and the counties of King George and Spotsylvania. The group welcomes mothers of all races to join. For more information on the organization and its Fredericksburg chapter, go to

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polystyrene, that material will continue to go into the landfill. The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board, serving Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg, places emphasis on the diversion of recyclables, rather than their sale. Our single-stream (no sorting required) program allows us to recycle a greater volume of items, removing them from the waste stream and ultimately extending the life of our landfill. Contact your local government to find out about recycling opportunities in your community. Author Julie May is an Analyst for the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board. For more information about R-Board programs, visit




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“The Naked Roommate” by Brian Cohen, presents a straightforward and unbiased look at the various issues college students may face from orientation to that longsought graduation. (, $14.99)

Students come clean with the Lesson Laundry Bag featuring step-bystep instructions printed on its front. (, $38)

The right size for cramped dorm rooms, the BODUM TRAVEL COFFEE PRESS is a perk for those caffeine-craving college freshmen. (Bed Bath & Beyond, $15)


Personalized coffee mugs and fancy picture frames are nice. But whether they’re heading off to college or planning to start a career, today’s grads want gifts that will help them make the grade. Here are some of this year’s top picks:

“The College Students Stepby-Step Guide to Landing a Job” by Michael Krush—a guide that covers all aspects of the job search process from resumes and interviewing skills to what to wear on your first day. (, $15) 14

Help cash-strapped grads stay fit with a GYM MEMBERSHIP, providing an outlet for the stress of the power positions they’re hoping to land. ($30-50 per month) Fresh-from-college job seekers will have it all in the bag with a briefcasE that reflects their personality. (Urban Outfitters, $50-85)

The Earth-friendly TOCS Solar Powered Watch pulls double duty, helping ensure grads get to work on time and catering to going green. (, $33.75)

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T r av e l

Roanoke: Valley of Surprises In a valley below the Blue Ridge Parkway lies this lively center of hospitality


oanoke may not be Virginia’s largest city, but it occupies a special place in the hearts of tourists as a highlight of any trip to the lower Shenandoah Valley. Variously termed Star City, Capital of Southwest Virginia and Gateway to western Virginia and the Cumberland Gap, Roanoke continues to reinvent itself, surprising everyone but the friendly people who call it home. Once a bustling railroad center during the days when coal was king, Roanoke continues to evolve as a tourist magnet, amazing in its energy and new attractions.

Seeing & Doing The list of things to see, places to go and activities in Roanoke, regional population 260,000, is lengthy and varied, but not-to-miss highlights include the recently opened Taubman Museum of Art, the O. Winston Link Museum, Virginia Museum of Transportation, Historic City Market and the Center in the Square. The city has its share of museums and galleries, but the Taubman stands out, literally. The large and dynamic design for the Taubman is attention grabbing even in a town known for eclectic architecture. And its light and airy galleries include a wide range of 19th and 20th century art which, with changing exhibits, have added to the city’s reputation as an arts destination. It’s been said that railroads built early Roanoke, and while that is a simplification, it has much truth. And it surely explains two of the city’s most popular attractions, the Virginia Museum of Transportation and


adjacent O. Winston Link Museum of railroad photography. The latter shares a building with the visitor center, a handy thing to know. The city has also long been renowned for its fine markets and shopping opportunities, and its centerpiece is the City Market, with blocks of vendors offering not only edibles of every imaginable variety but plants and flowers, arts and crafts galore. Center in the Square is a cultural and entertainments complex located within the Historic City Market.

Finding Food Roanoke has a vast variety of means to satisfy a particular (and hungry) palate. A contender for the top of anyone’s list of fine places for an Lamb Chops at Alexander’s Restaurant evening meal would be Alexander’s Restaurant (540/982-6983;; 105 S. Jefferson St.). Alexander’s, long a fixture in the city, is a dinner-only restaurant, with the exception of Wednesdays, when lunch is served. Carlos Brazilian International Cuisine is another of the city’s highly-rated places to eat, offering fine dining with a city view. (540/776-1117;; 4167 Electric Rd.)

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Metro specializes in “refined American cuisine” and offers mid-day service except Monday. (540/345-6645;; 14 Campbell Ave., SE) Not to be overlooked in Roanoke’s restaurant scene are The Roanoker Restaurant, which may be the best breakfast spot around, (; 540/344-7746; 2522 Colonial Ave., SW) plus the Texas Tavern (540/3424825;; 114 Church Ave., SW), and the Roanoke Wiener Stand, another long-time favorite for a quick bite to eat, with locations at 25 Campbell Ave., SE, and 3601 Brandon Ave., SW.

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Think of Roanoke and one place immediately comes to mind, the Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center. Conveniently located, elegant and well-staffed, it has been around a long time, renovated and improved many times, and it remains popular…for a reason. Located at 110 Shenandoah Ave., NW; 540/985-5900. There are a number of downtown alternatives, among them the Holiday Inn Express at Roanoke Civic Center, (540)982-0100; Ramada Inn Rivers Edge Conference Center at 1927 Franklin Rd., SW, (540)342-0121.

Travel Tips The heart of Roanoke’s downtown tourist district is compact and invites exploring afoot. Coming and going, avoid I-81, plan to take either scenic US 11 through the Valley or the even more scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. — Paul Sullivan For further information, contact the visitor center at:

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A Part-Time Pet Mishaps and near cat-tastrophes


ast December, I spent the holidays cat-sitting. Chris, my former creative writing professor, and his wife, Erin would be traveling in Europe for a month. I said yes because it meant I would have a part-time pet. I didn’t have many furry friends growing up, mainly because my mother had a soft heart when it came to animals. She couldn’t stand to think of them growing old and dying. Neither could I. When I imagined a curious, dainty kitten, Chris filled me in on some of the details. Olive was old. She was grouchy. She had to eat prescription food. It didn’t sink in until I actually went to meet Olive. The 12-year-old white cat lived in the basement because of Erin’s allergies. As Chris showed me where the food and litter box were, Olive, who has one blue eye and the other one green, peered at me once and slouched away to hide under the heater. After giving me the keys, Chris said, “Look, I know Olive is old. We’ve had her checked out; she’s as healthy as can be. Nothing unexpected should happen. Unless you kick her or something.” The first days were full of typical getting-to-knowyou events. I opened the basement door, Olive tried to get out. I pulled the tab on the can of food, she hissed if I took too long to get it in her bowl. If I didn’t keep the box immaculate, she used the floor around it. Just as we were falling into a familiar rhythm, I arrived one morning to find two surprises. First, Olive was sick all over the basement stairs. Second, a legal notice was posted on my friends’ door. The sheriff’s office needed Chris to perform jury duty immediately. Failure to respond meant “inconvenience to you of late night and frequent visits.” As I cleaned up the mess, I imagined Fredericksburg’s finest drafting extradition orders.


Fortunately, a quick call from me to Chris, then another call from Chris to the cops, resolved the matter. Then, the weekend before Christmas, the big snow came. My husband and I were unable to dig out until Sunday, so a neighbor helped feed the overstuffed Olive. When I showed up Monday morning, Olive greeted me by crying her head off and following me everywhere. Either she really missed me or she was distressed by the crickets that had drowned themselves in her water bowl. As long as I kept her in her two-can-a-day gourmet lifestyle, I had to be good for something. She got into the habit of letting me rub her belly for whole minutes at a time. My heart melted. Unfortunately, so did the snow. A puddle slowly spread from the drain in the basement floor. I stood by the sump pump as I left a breathless twominute voicemail for Chris and Erin. “I don’t know if you can hear this,” I stammered and held the phone next to the machine as it made grinding noises. “Anyway…hope you guys are enjoying your trip!” To even the karmic balance, I tidied the house for the New Year. I changed Olive’s litter, left her some catnip and used an entire roll of paper towels to sop up the puddle in the basement. Olive even did her small part by lapping at the water. When I knelt down, she rubbed her face on my hip. When my friends returned a few days later, it was hard to say good-bye to Olive after everything we’d been through. The next time I spoke to Chris, I asked if Olive was happy to see them. He said, “If by ‘happy’ you mean ‘meowing non-stop’, then yes, she’s glad to have us home.” — Elizabeth Rabin

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Raising Funds For Families Who Are Caring For Severely Wounded Family Members Many of America’s most severely wounded service members are being treated at McGuire Veteran’s Hospital in Richmond following their medical evacuation from Iraq and Afghanistan. The VA Hospital is recognized as having unique capabilities in rehabilitating those with brain and spinal cord injuries, wounds that are often horribly traumatic and complicated by amputations. The families of the wounded come from all parts of the nation and receive little government assistance as they stay at the bedsides of their loved ones for as long as they can, typically 6–8 weeks. They find themselves in an

unfamiliar city, often far from home and facing hardships exacerbated by concern for their loved ones. Many of them find that while they are in Richmond the bills back home are piling up. These Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines have a long and very difficult road ahead. Most are young, and their lives and the lives of their families have been forever changed. Regardless of their gender, race, or ethnic heritage, these wounded American heroes and their families clearly understand the high cost of freedom. They need and deserve all the support we can give them. Simply put, helping the families is the right thing to do.

The purpose of the fund is to raise money and assist these families while they are in Central Virginia. The Families of the Wounded Fund has been doing this since 2005. However, it is apparent they need to increase the level of family support. This comes as patient levels are expected to rise significantly as funds continue to be depleted. If you would like to learn more, join the mailing list or send a tax deductible donation to the Families of the Wounded Fund, Inc. you can visit or send checks to: Families of the Wounded Fund, Inc., 11504 Henegan Place, Spotsylvania, VA 22551, ID #32-0157288 MAY / JUNE 2010 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 21



Historian Prepares to Retire…A Little For a decade Stratford’s Ken McFarland shined a light on the Lees of Virginia


estmoreland County’s Stratford Hall Plantation, built in the 1730s, was home to four generations of the Lee family. Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, both signers of the Declaration of Independence, lived there in the mid-tolate 1700s. Robert E. Lee was born there in 1807. The family sold the estate in the early 1800s and it remained in private hands until 1929, when a private group bought it to highlight the Lees. Kenneth M. McFarland joined the organization in 2000 as director of education. He’s retiring this year. Ken has degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He’s the author of “The Architecture of Warren County, North Carolina, 1770s-1860s.” VN: W  hat exactly does the director of education

at Stratford Hall do?

KM: We try to provide seminars and workshops and programs for teachers on the different time periods at Stratford. Robert E. Lee is always going to be center stage here in various ways, but we also try to focus on the Colonial period. We look at the economies of the times and what women’s roles were in society. VN: H  ow did you end up working at Stratford? KM: I’d known Stratford, I’d been coming here for many years. And I’d worked with a lot of education programs like they were doing here. It was a good match. VN: W  here did your interest in historic buildings

come from?

KM: Well, if you want to go back to the very beginning, it came from my family’s interest in history. I was hauled around to various historic houses and I had family that served in the Confederacy. I grew up in a multigenerational house and there was talk about that history.

VN: W  hat can old houses and history teach

people in the Internet age?

KM: Very much, I think. I’m a huge fan of the Internet, but you can’t get the sense of a painting without being there and seeing it, and it’s the same with history—nothing can replicate being there, experiencing the ambience, even the aroma. Most people don’t realize Stratford has almost 2000 acres, walking trails and two miles of Potomac River waterfront. VN: F  redericksburg seems like a pretty good

place for a historian to live.

KM: I plan to stay. It has great balance. There are things from the Colonial era, plus the Civil War. My wife (who works at Belmont) and I live on Marye Street in the middle of a battlefield. VN: Despite retirement, you’re already working on

a fall music festival symposium at Stratford?

KM: We’ll look at the musical interests of the Lees and their instruments and then have professional musicians perform music from the time. The Tidewater planters weren’t too far behind what was happening in Great Britain and Europe music-wise. It won’t be anything the Lees wouldn’t recognize. — Ted Byrd Jamie Haverkamp Photo


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Do the Light Thing A fledgling business in Spotsylvania is hoping to take a technology that already exists and make housing products that builders will actually want to use


engineers and scientists, and the contractors have a difficult time with it.” What he means, for example, is that the materials— such as solar voltaic panels—are made to metric-sized dimensions, instead of the standard four-foot by eight-foot size that contractors use. Like the plywood panels that get used on every roof or exterior wall. Plus, the products are designed in such a way that it takes a lot of different people to install. Electricians, carpenters, roofers. All that extra cost is discouraging people from using a technology that actually works, he says. “There are a lot of contractors who did solar once and will never touch it again.”

olar energy has the power (brilliant pun) to fix a lot of problems. It’s better for the environment, cheaper, and is safer than a lot of the fuels we use today. If that’s really true, then there should be solar panels on every rooftop. But there aren’t. So why don’t more of us use it? Bob Bennett believes he knows the answer. And if he’s right, he is going to make a lot of money. The problem isn’t the technology, says Bob. It’s how the solarpowered products on the market today are built and sold. “It’ll never reach the mass market the way it’s currently designed and distributed,” Bob says. “It’s designed by

How are solar panels created? The interior of United States Green Energy resembles a warehouse with large machinery and many workers crouched over what look like lab tables and light boards. What they are doing is assembling the solar panels Bob Bennett hopes will change the energy and building industries.

The Reoo Full-automatic laminator produces almost paper thin solar modules through a heating process. The modules are made of solar cells that convert the energy of sunlight directly into electricity through the photovoltaic effect.


The solar modules are tested so those with like voltage output can be grouped. Next, a length of interconnection wire is soldered to each connection strip on the front of the solar module. Modules are grouped into 2x3 panels and soldered together.

Transmitters are soldered to the panels. Then panels are sandwiched between protective thermoplastic sheets to prevents oxygen and other contaminants from reaching inside the panel, which would degrade them prematurely.

Once the panels have been laminated they are tested for conductivity. Finally the panels are mounted to roof sections in the warehouse. Once assembled these sections are shipped to job sites to be installed.

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Plus, the solar-powered products aren’t being sold by the same businesses that already sell standard building materials. “The solar industry thinks it’s special and different, and is trying to set up its own distribution network instead of taking advantage of the network that already exists,” he says. Bob is president and co-founder of a new company called United States Green Energy, and for now it’s based in Spotsylvania County, where he and a few partners are designing and making products that they say solve these problems. Their first products include a solar slate for roofs, made of fiberglass and designed to last 75 years. “It will generate power, potentially enough to power all of your house,” Bob says. And, he adds it’s competitive in price with other highend roofing materials, such as slate and rubber. The standard shingle roof is still cheaper, but Bob says his company is working on designing a solar-energy shingle roof too. Again, his argument is that the technology has already been developed. It just needs to be made the right way. “We’re technology appliers, not technology developers,” he says. Nearly 80 percent of the cost of solar voltaic cells is installation, he says. “So that’s what we’re tackling, the 80 percent. The more we make it easier to install, the more we take the roofers and technicians out of the equation…the lower the price goes.” Bob has 40 years of experience in the business. He worked for Westinghouse Electric, and later as an alternative-energy consultant working with companies and countries around the world. Others involved in building the new company include John Karrol, co-president, who has spent 35 years in the contracting and construction business; and Karim Salehmohammed, who has 24 years of experience in the import-export business. He’s the company’s vice president. Their next product is designed for an overseas market, in rural areas—Africa or Pakistan, he says, places that have no easy way to connect to an existing power grid. It’s just four panels in a box. “You plug the panels together and.. nail them to a tree or a house or something. This is not high tech. It’s giving people something simple, relatively inexpensive and it generates a little power for their needs. And the cost is low, so that they can afford it.” The business is just south of Massaponnax off of U.S. 1, but it will need more space if the market develops the way Bob predicts it will. He and his partners are shopping now for a new and bigger production facility, which could be anywhere, he says. The company expects to do about $20 million in business this year. The partners foresee a $100 million-a-year business within three years. Says Bob, “We see no reason we won’t do that.” — Bob Burke

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A Toast to Grandchildren First-time grandparents warm up to a rewarding new chapter in life


t was a special day—our eldest daughter’s wedding. At the reception, nerves got the best of my husband, Tommy. Before the nuptials, he had rehearsed a toast welcoming his new son-in-law into our family and wishing the happy couple a lifetime of wedded bliss. Instead, he raised his glass at a poignant moment and blurted out: “Have babies.” The subliminal slip was indeed telling. Here was a 63-year-old father who doted on his three daughters and fretted that he might never live to see the day he could hold a grandchild in his arms. I, on the other hand, took a bit longer to warm up to the idea of grandparenthood. I clung to the stereotypical notion that such a generational life status might age me more than I was prepared to accept. That notion quickly evaporated when less than three years after the providential toast, Sarah and husband Ben announced that they would be parents. Tommy and I spent the first trimester teetering between euphoria and apprehension while we waited anxiously for the mother-to-be to get the all-clear that the fetus was healthy and developing. Week by week, Sarah’s pregnancy became more real with each prenatal sonogram showing healthy growth—from a miniscule tadpole to a little person with distinguishable tiny fingers and feet and a button nose. And word of the baby’s gender—a boy—spurred Tommy to stock up on all things UVA to foster his grandson’s Wahoo legacy. I found myself stopping mothers strolling their infants, so I could steal a glimpse and ponder whether our grandson would have mounds of black hair like his mother or the lanky physique of his father. By the ninth month, his anticipated name—Owen—rolled more easily off our lips. We packed our bags and prepared for the phone call that would spirit us by train to the New York hospital where we


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—Marty Morrison 28

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RefreshYour Nest

Whatever your personal style may look like—traditional furnishings and warm colors that embrace the past, or sleek, functional and contemporary— a simple, personalized space is the design equivalent of comfort food. A little sprucing in each room can make your home feel new again. »

by Candice Carver Images Courtesy of Home Infatuation and Made

Color is ALWAYS THe MOST Affordable Tool for a facelift

color predictions for 2010

Neutrals. This comfortable palette is always in style. Think Zinc, Marble and Silt–the warmer tones. Benjamin Moore has selected the above colors as your go-to neutrals: HC-85 Fairview Taup, AF-160 Caron, AF-605 Slip, OC-33 Opaline, OC22-Calm, OC-116 Pale Celery and AF-685 Thunder.

Global Style. Since most cultures of the world embrace color, pattern and texture much more than we do, this is always a bold, dynamic look. Rich jewel tones like Blueberry 2063-30 create a new twist on the luxurious French Blue and 2008-20 Claret Rose is a softer shade of Ruby. Bright 2022-50 Sundance and contrasting 2067-10 Midnight Blue set off the palette.

Mother NaturE. Think of the richness of colors like eggplant, tomato, paprika, lemon and apple. Cedar Green, 2034-40 is the go-to color for 2010. August Morning 2156-40 is a mid-tone orange with a touch of yellow and sets the tone of cheerfulness instantly. Colors like Violetta AF-615, Caponata AF-650 reflect violets when paired with rich greens. 32

Image and Colors Courtesy of Benjamin Moore

Green is no longer a movement; it’s design Even the most traditionally styled home should have modern amenities, as well as sensors in appliances and in the home to track energy use. Modern materials like this recycled glass backsplash, buffed concrete counter top, and bamboo cabinets are both stylish and easy to upkeep when going green.

kitchen The kitchen is where the whole family gathers, and homeowners are as eager to maximize storage space, as they are to change the room’s look.

maximize Cabinet space One thing every kitchen needs is an island whether it be built-in or mobile. The additional work surface and storage will make any kitchen feel larger and less cluttered. This eco-friendly bamboo island adds storage and a breakfast bar. (

Reduce your water bill. Choose water-saving faucets. This GROHE Ladylux Pro with WaterCare is Green Certified to save 30% more water than regular faucets; available at major home improvement stores.

Indoor gardens are easy. Grobal™ selfwatering pots keep your window herbs and plants lush and green. Grobal™ does the work, you look good. (

Organize It All. This Step On Recycle Bin from Neu Home has three compartments to separate recyclables. Color coded foot pedals and removable inner buckets make home recycling easy. (

Image Courtesy of Wolf

Replace or reface? Existing cabinets that are well built and well placed can be refaced or painted for a fraction of the price of new cabinets. Add under cabinet lights to illuminate work surfaces and update existing lighting to give the feel of a complete makeover. Image Courtesy of Wolf


anything goes, Old is new again


Whether you’re browsing shops on vacation, or strolling downtown through antique stores, incorporating vintage antiques and souvenirs in a space adds soul and personality. The right 19th-century piece will mix with 70s and 80s vintage pieces and the latest styles. From websites to consignment and thrift stores, there are sources out there for any budget.

Image Courtesy of Decorati

bed+bath The bedroom and bath are where you slow down and relax, or efficiently prepare for your day. How do you make a room functional yet fulfill all those emotional needs?

Relaxation. Peace. Serenity. Calm.

Create a personal reading nook in your bedroom with a chair and ottoman like these from Ethan Allen . Stock side table with books you’ve been meaning to read and enjoy the peace and solitude.

Image Courtesy of Decorati

Fashionable with years of comfort If you are planning to remodel, save money by refinishing your old tub and choosing a free-standing vanity which is cheaper and easier to install. Have more money to spend? A walk-in shower will save more down the road by allowing you to ‘Age in Place’ and not have to install expensive safety equipment later. Image Courtesy of American Standard

Accessorize the bath. Look around a home improvement store and you’ll notice all kinds of new storage and hanging products. Hang your outfit and allow shower steam to release wrinkles with this bathroom valet by Kohler.

Test color. Experiment to find what works in your space by changing sheets, towels, shower curtains, etc. These towels by Tracy Reese, available at Macy’s, will allow you to test having a bold bathroom before you paint.

Surprisingly affordable luxuries Without tearing down your existing bathroom you can find recessed infrared heat lamps, steam-free mirrors, and heated towel racks, like the one shown, at local home improvement store along with installation advice. (




We’ve all seen the contrasting color or wallpapered accent wall. How about the ceiling? When trying to establish separate spaces, arranging furniture and adding a rug are options. The ceiling can help define a space by creating a bold canopy over the room, yet maintains a pleasing visual transition from one room to the next. Freshen up the rest of the decor by introducing the ceiling color through accessories, pillows, or rugs.

Image Courtesy of SeagullLighting

living+dining Remember the formal rooms that looked like museum exhibits in your grandmother’s home? Today homeowners favor comfortable surroundings for entertaining.

not enough space? fake it If your dining room seems cramped maybe you have the wrong table. The most practical dining table is still the rectangle. Round tables require a square room to fit properly and oval tables have a lot of wasted space. Ideally, a rectangular table with a pedestal base allows for maximum seating. Also, you can create the illusion of roominess by adding surfaces that reflect light. A mirror-back hutch will expand a space visually. Image Courtesy of Hayneedle

Generate energy savings. Ceiling fans move the air enough to register a change on your thermostat. This hidden blade fan will make your rooms cooler in summer and warmer in the winter. (

Adapt to crowd size. Mixed seating options include ottomans that can be easily moved by guests. In turn if it’s family game night, the same ottoman can serve as a cozy board game table. (

Wow them with a BOLD! Bold accents can change or update your room’s style without a huge investment. This pair of merino glass lamps will fit any style and are available in a variety of colors (

Image Courtesy of Decorati

Space is a premium, so rooms are actually being used Even in homes where space is not so limited, where once purposedriven rooms stood, now stands the hybrid. Books make a great conversation starter at dinner parties, hence the “Dining Library.” You can use the room to dine and entertain, and with walls lined with library shelves the room makes a novel retreat when guests are gone.


Add an entire room without adding on


Homeowners are extending the comfort and luxury of their homes outdoors, and the result is the popular trend called the “outdoor room.� Anyone can easily create an outdoor room. In general, the concept encompasses a grilling and eating area, pulled together with a hearth product, such as a fireplace, fire pit or chiminea. Decks and patios are usable in all but the worst weather, and outdoor kitchens or at least upscale barbecues, will make entertaining easier.

Image Courtesy of KitchenAid

outdoor Sitting comfortably with friends or family in the backyard on a cool summer evening, with dinner sizzling on the grill, is pure pleasure.

your yard has a big impact on how efficient your home is When planting, remember strategically planted shade trees can help to reduce energy costs. Consider using native plants adapted to your area like Tulip Poplar, Autumn Purple Ash and multiple varieties of Red Maple that require less maintenance and water.

garden tool of the year For your lawn, there are alternatives to gas-powered mowers that are non-polluting. Modern reel mowers cut the lawn and you get exercise at the same time. If you find a man-powered mower intimidating, there are electric options that pollute. The rechargeable Brill Razorcut mower is available at

Keep guests happy. Not everyone can afford an outdoor fridge to keep drinks cool. With the Patio Cooler Cart, there’s a water drain, bottle opener, storage underneath, and it’s easy to roll. (

Accent your outdoor room or patio. Outdoor area rugs add color, and in this case, humor. This doormat reads differently depending whether you are walking in or out of the house. (

Make Gardeners Gold

Return nutrients to the soil through composting. An outdoor bin like the Wibo Compost Bin, with its smart design and subtle color can be placed anywhere in your garden without worrying about smell or being an eye sore. (


Home+Garden Resource Directory

ARCHITECTS Tucker Architects Inc. William B. Tucker A.I.A. 1508 Augustine Ave. Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-373-0020

INTERIOR DESIGN & DECORATION WALL CREATIONS by Janese Murals-Custom Painting Faux Finishes 540-538-6120 A. Hickman Design Everything Interior 540-361-7444 Facebook: A. HICKMANDesign The CoDesign Chafin Hill Artistry 540-645-1658 Parker’s Painting 540-846-2046 A.HICKMAN Design 540-361-7444 Shelf Genie 804-690-3975 The Silver Spider 822 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-899-2100

FURNITURE Sofa Outlet Super Store 3708 Plank Road Fredericksburg, VA 22407


HOME IMPROVEMENT CONTRACTORS Roofworks of Va, Inc. 12108 Chewning Lane Fredericksburg, VA 22407 540-786-4552 The Kitchen Works, Inc. 2201 Lafayette Blvd. Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-898-4811

FLOORING & CARPET J&J Tile 4763 Jefferson Davis Highway Fredericksburg, VA 22408 540-710-0303 Paymon Rugs Over 10,000 Oriental Rugs in Stock 501 William Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-371-0858 Your Floors, Inc. 1327 Alum Spring Road Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-368-1922

cabinetry Shelf Genie Designed to Transform Your Cabinetry More Space. Better organization. Easy Access 804-690-3975


countertops ANK Granite, LLC Custom Countertops Call Us Today for Your Free Estimate 804-245-4228

PAINTERS Stuarts Contracting Interior/ Exterior Painting, Residential and Commercial 703-220-8574 Colonial Painting & Home Enhancement, LLC Custom Home Painting 540-287-5623 C&K Painting Services 4528 Massaponax Church Rd. Fredericksburg, VA 22408 540-898-6448

LANDSCAPE & GARDEN Custom Lawn & Landscaping 4505 Partlow Road Partlow, VA 22534 540-582-2397 The Silver Spider 822 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-899-2100

All Seasons Landscaping & Irrigation, LLC “Often Imitated, Never Duplicated” Fredericksburg: 540-371-5563 www.allseasonslandscaping Vic Meadows, Landscape Designer Virginia Society of Landscape Designers Certified Fredericksburg, VA 540-786-7585 Quail Ridge Products Mulches/Composts/Soils 4821 Massaponax Church Rd. Fredericksburg, VA 22408 540-898-7434 Carolyn Helfrich Floral & Landscape Design 828 Marye Streey Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-371-5461

Driveways & SURFACES All-Weather Driveway Seal Coating Shawn Dantant 12111 Knight Court Fredericksburg, VA 22407 540-846-5154 / 540-785-0817

STONE & PAVERS Stone Center 8241 Jefferson Davis Hwy. Fredericksburg, VA 22407 540-891-7866

Equipment rental RSC Equipment Rental 4616 Lassen Lane Fredericksburg, VA 22408 540-710-2300/ 800-222-7777

SECURITY Absolute Security, Inc. ADT Authorized Dealer 866-362-8858

REAL ESTATE Coldwell Banker Carriage House Realty, Inc. 520 William Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-373-0100 800-852-1798 Don Freeman Coldwell Banker Carriage House Realty, Inc. 520 William Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-226-4181 Cell 540-370-1853 Office Linda Caron Century 21 New Millennium 1931 Plank Road, Suite 201 Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-623-6725 Chuck Hoffman Coldwell Banker Carriage House Realty, Inc. 520 William Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-845-1468 Cell 540-373-0695 Office Brian Sullivan, Realtor Coldwell Banker Carriage House Realty, Inc. 520 William Street, Suite A Fredericksburg, VA 22401 Karen Weimer, Realtor Coldwell Banker Carriage House Realty, Inc. 520 William Street, Suite A Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-760-1530


1st Choice Better Homes & Land, LLC 1302 Bragg Road Fredericksburg, VA 22407 540-786-0088 or 800-442-2199 Sandra Bacon, Realtor The Bacon Group, Inc. RE/MAX Bravo 703-405-2548 sbacon@remax,net RE/MAX Bravo “RE/MAX Outstanding Brokerage of the Year for Virginia” 10401 Courthouse Rd., Suite A Spotsylvania, VA 22553 540-891-8888 Blue & Gray Title. Inc. Where Service & Excellence Is No Coincidence” Stafford: 1101 International Pkwy. Spotsylvania: 10401 Courthouse Rd. 540-752-1121/540-735-3036

MORTGAGE SunTrust Home Mortgages Mac Church 2010 President’s Team 540-548-8957 Purchase or Refinance, Service with a Smile!

LENDERS Stellar One Sean J. O’Toole, Financial Center Manager 4805 Lassen Lane Fredericksburg, VA 22408 540-710-8973

INSURANCE Reeves Insurance Agency State Farm Bryce Reeves, Stafford: 540-657-7030 Anne Reeves, Fredericksburg: 540-372-3400


Todd Steward pinches new growth off a Sargent’s Juniper bonsai to prevent the tips of the branches from turning brown.


Todd Stewart and Bob Chilton have turned their passion for the ancient art of Bonsai into a unique Caroline County business.


by Robert Burke photography by Norm Shafer

The lowest branch of the aging Chinese elm had a broad, flat shape to it, like a handheld fan, and extended down and away from the trunk. The limb above it was nicer, with a kind of graceful dip. So maybe that lower branch needed to go... For practitioners of bonsai, a cut like that is never done in haste. This elm tree, about four feet high and imported from China in 2007, is more than 300 years old. So Todd Stewart and Bob Chilton deliberated, carefully. For close to two years. Then one warm Saturday in late March, Todd took a small saw to the tree they call “the emperor” and removed the branch. They stood back, studied the new version, and liked it. “We felt like the branch…didn’t really show off this curve,” Todd says. “It’s trying to bring that balance of health, as well as aesthetics.” The two have been partners in the bonsai field since


Todd Stewart, left, and Bob Chilton work on trimming a Chinese Elm bonsai known as “the emperor” a 300 year old tree collected in China. Chilton and Stewart have amassed one of the largest bonsai collections in the mid-Atlantic region at their nursery, Gardens Unlimited in Caroline County.

1993, and have developed one of the largest collections in the mid-Atlantic region, with thousands of tropical and deciduous bonsai. On 10 acres in Caroline County, they have established Gardens Unlimited, a nursery unlike any other around here. For one thing, it’s not easy to find. There’s no sign, just a rusted red farm gate at the top of a hill on County Line Church Road in Caroline. The people who do bonsai, or who want to, find out about it mostly through word of mouth. Todd says they get visitors from all over Virginia, and from the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore regions. “We’re the antithesis of any business model,” Todd says. “Open just one day a week, and no sign on the road. But the people that really want bonsai seek us out.” Bonsai is an art of sorts, and it takes patience and prudence. The term is a Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese “penzai,” which is the growing of trees and plants in small containers that, through careful pruning of roots and foliage, gives the appearance of mature growth. 44

Bonsai plants often start from older plants, not seedlings. Among the collection at Gardens Unlimited is a Japanese maple that they rescued from a nursery about 15 years ago. They also have a juniper that they found in 1997 in the woods next to a road construction project south of Richmond. They sometimes buy from bonsai dealers in China. They’re even working on a young redwood tree. Images of that plant are on their UnlimitedBonsai. com Web site. “Anything that responds well to pruning and being in a pot, you can do,” Todd says. “We try to use native plants, but there are things that you’re not going to find here.” They have a few greenhouses, one that is kept warm and moist for the tropical bonsai, such as a Brazilian rain tree, a favorite variety for bonsai. There’s a lot of care required to raise bonsai plants: the water and light, when to trim the roots or foliage, what size pot to use. They have many dozens of plants for sale, both young and mature. They also display their private collection of bonsai, though

those plants aren’t for sale. “At this stage, it wouldn’t be the money,” says Todd. “I’d want to know that it was going to a good home.” That connection to a bonsai creation is at the heart of what sets this pursuit apart. “You’re trying to work a sculpture out of something that is alive,” Todd says. “You’re trying to direct and grow a plant in a certain way, while still allowing it to have its own nature. It’s building a relationship. You pay attention to it.” Besides trading in bonsai, the pair also do custom garden designs that can be pretty unusual. They did a garden for Restaurant Nora in Northwest Washington, a restaurant serving organic fare known lately for its famous guests: the Obamas dined there in January, for Michelle Obama’s birthday. They’ve also just finished a garden at a house in Hanover County that features a five-foot-tall bronze tortoise and petrified wood. “We do contemporary designs, but we also specialize in Asian gardens, which have a sensibility much different than western gardens, Todd says. “You’re not planting things in rows. You’re trying to make it look as natural as possible, but still having man’s hand in there.” They don’t really advertise that side of their business either, and get clients through referrals. They keep busy. “Even through this recession we’ve been booked solid for everything. We can barely

A Sargent’s Juniper bonsai, also known as a Shimpaku, is shown here styled in an informal upright style.

keep up,” Bob says. It’s taking up enough time that they’re not looking to expand their bonsai sales, just keep caring for the plants they have. “We sort of want to lean toward being a museum, and less a place where you can buy stuff.” Their start in bonsai included a little serendipity. Bob says he played around with growing plants on his own when he was growing up, and in the early 1980s he met a bonsai wholesale supplier who sold them through Roxbury Farm & Garden Center in Fredericksburg. That supplier had a nursery in Linden, a little town on the boundary between Warren and Fauquier counties, and he was getting ready to move to a new location in Maryland. Todd and Bob helped him move, and then started taking care of the bonsai at the new nursery. “We went one weekend and helped him move, and before we knew it, we had a job,” Bob says. A few years later the supplier decided to close the nursery, and he gave them all of his plants and pots and a couple of greenhouses. From that beginning, they’ve built a life neither ever imagined. Bob laughs and remembers that back in the mid-1980s, they made their living washing windows for shops on Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg. “We had a bucket and a squeegee. We just didn’t want to get a real job,” Bob says. “We never thought, ‘Hey, let’s start a bonsai business.’ It just happened. I’m very proud of how far we’ve made it.” d

(above) A Japanese Red Pine which has been trained in the slanting style. (at left) A Dawn Redwood bonsai is in the early stages of being evaluated for how it can be styled.


Biker Bruce Stafford County’s Bruce White has shared his passion for cycling with many young riders. Now he’s getting ready to lead a group this summer on a 2,000-mile ride through six states and Washington, D.C. by Robert Burke | photography by Jamie Haverkamp

There is always at least one kid who shows up with an old bike that weighs 50 pounds and has only a couple of working gears. The brakes are rusted. The tires are worn. “They have no expectations” for the ride, he says. “They just flat out know they can’t do it. So I start them out on something that I think they’re ready for. And then it sneaks up on them and they realize, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ That’s the fun part.” Bruce, who is 52, has seen that kind of transformation plenty of times. A longtime rider and a leader of a local Boy Scout troop, Bruce has single-handedly introduced hundreds 46

of young people in the Fredericksburg region (and sometimes their parents, too) to the sport of cycling. He’s ridden many thousands of miles, and organized dozens of long rides, through places such as the Outer Banks of North Carolina, the Florida Keys, and to New York City and back. Now he’s organizing his biggest ride ever: a 2,000-mile, 33-day group ride with dozens of Scouts, dubbed “Cycling the Loop.” It will start June 25 in Fredericksburg and weave through Pennsylvania, Ohio, upstate New York and New York City, then come south through New Jersey, Maryland and Washington, D.C.


The ride ends July 27 at Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County, where the riders will take part the following day in the opening parade of the National Boy Scout Jamboree. “If I can excite youth about the benefits of cycling, let’s go,” he says. Bruce did some cycling trips as a teen growing up in Bergen County, N.J., where he went on rides with his own Boy Scout troop. But he didn’t get serious about it until 1993, when he and a childhood friend took on the challenge of a 100-mile ride across Death Valley in California. He’s not crazy—“I researched when to go,” he says. They went in November when the temperatures were in the 80s. After that he was hooked. He and his wife, Vikki, and their sons, Ian and Cory, moved to Stafford County in 1995, and Bruce started searching out new cycling challenges here. He joined a fundraising ride to raise money for AIDS research, from Charlotte, N.C., to Washington, D.C., in 1998. He did 24-hour marathon rides to raise money for different causes, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis research. And, he discovered the C&O Canal, one of the best cycling paths in the country. Sons Ian, now 23, and Cory, 22, joined Troop 165 in Fredericksburg about a decade ago. Bruce got involved too, and eventually became the troop’s scoutmaster. Scouts can earn a merit badge after doing a series of progressively longer rides, from 10 miles up to a 50-miler, and Bruce leads those trips. He has taken his cycling passion to schools, too. Several years ago he became certified as a USA Cycling coach and organized the Fredericksburg Area High School Riding Club and got students from 14 schools involved in regular rides. Then in early 2008 he set up a school-versus-school 24-hour bike ride, and 10 teams took part. Massaponax High School won, with its riders putting in 402 miles in 24 hours. “All the teams finished 300 miles. It was amazing,” Bruce says. Riding and training for long rides takes up a lot of his spare time. So do fixing bikes and finding bikes for boys who don’t have the right kind. The garage of his home in Stafford County has about 15 Bruce leads a group of boy scouts, eagle scouts, and adult participants, through Fredericksburg Battlefield during the groups training for their 33 day bike tour this summer.


or 20 bikes in various stages of repair. Bruce buys them on eBay when he sees a good deal, or the owners of a local shop, Olde Towne Bicycles, let him know when they have a decent used bike. Bruce lends them out to new riders. “Sometimes a kid will fall in love with a bike and buy it, and then outgrow it and sell it back to me,” he says. Sometimes parents get involved too, in group rides, under the guise of just helping out. They learn right along with their kids about cycling safety and how to handle long rides, Bruce says. “It’s kind of a beginner course for them. Then two years later they’ve lost 30 pounds,” he says. The Cycling the Loop ride is a major planning

For Bruce, one of the best parts of teaching kids about cycling is taking them on their first real bike ride. Not just a roll around the neighborhood, but a distance that will challenge them a little. challenge. To raise funds for the ride and for several local trail groups, Bruce has organized a 24-hour bike-a-thon at Spotsylvania Courthouse Village on May 29-30. Information about that event is on the website. The riders will be staying at about a dozen Scout summer camps along the way, and riding through many state and national parks as well as some major cities. Bruce and other organizers have laid out the course and marked each turn along the way.

Every year brings a new group of young riders, so Bruce leads more first-time riders every spring. He also gets to go on rides with the older ones who have become accomplished riders themselves. He likes those too, even though he can’t keep up. “I started with them when they were 11, and going eight miles an hour and encouraging them up their first hill,” he says. “Then they get older and they get nice equipment, and tease me about how I’m going too slow.” d




It’s the beginning of car show season! Find out why it’s such a popular

pasttime; both restoring the vehicles and attending the events. »

Adam DeSio Photo


Wayne Mason with his “Best in Show” 1935 Chevrolet

Outdoor Museums, Old Fashioned Fun


hen Wayne Mason was a teen, there was no CarMax. Even if there were, he could scarcely have afforded to buy a hotrod. So he built one. Over the years, he modified and improved his creation, even doing a little racing on the local circuits. These days, he’s more into restoring and customizing cars as a hobbie than racing them. While not a member of a car club, Wayne knows many folks who are, and he often joins them in showing off their customized vintage hotrods at local shows. Each weekend, from April through October, there is a car show somewhere in the area. And chances are Wayne and hundreds of other people will be there. Among them is Marty Miller, one of the owners of Classic Car Center in Spotsylvania County. Marty describes car shows as “outdoor museums,” a place where older folks can take a trip down memory


lane, and parents can show the younger generation what cars looked like “in the good old days.” Going to car shows, Marty said, is a hobby “vigorously pursued by a large number of people, but also a spectator sport.” He said many people attend the shows just to admire the workmanship, the beauty and the novelty of these hotrods and classic cars. Marty remembers one show he attended that had a military vehicle with a machine gun attached. “Hopefully, it was nonfunctional,” he said. It’s that chance to see something different, whether it’s a Model A Ford or an old military jeep, that attracts people on a pretty day. Vehicles built before 1970, probably draw the biggest crowd, say those in the know. Some people go to shows to swap parts. They bring


Concerts, Plays and More


parts of all description, maybe rebuilt carburetors, or whatever they have in the garage. Others go to get tips on restoration or to look for a fixer-upper. Cars that need total restoration can sell for as little as $200, nicely restored models command a much higher price. National shows often sell vehicles for hundreds of thousand of dollars. Around here, a lot of people attend car shows to exhibit and vie for a chance to win a trophy. In 2009, Wayne’s 1935 Chevrolet master deluxe fourdoor sedan, won “Best in Show.” But that’s not why Wayne goes to shows most weekends. He likes that the events often raise money for charities, such as children’s hospitals and cancer research. And he also likes to admire the workmanship of fellow car restorers. “It’s not something that people casually do. It’s a love that people do.” — Susan Tremblay Adam DeSio Photos

bout 40 miles west of the Washington Beltway, State Route 7 tops the first range of the Blue Ridge Mountains near a town called Bluemont. In the late 1970s, Peter Dunning and a loose group of musicians, dancers and other artists would gather at his house for low-key get-togethers. Over time, artists from Washington or elsewhere were invited, an old Stetson hat was put out for donations to defray traveling expenses, and what would eventually morph into the Bluemont Concert Series was born. “It was sort of a community thing for that area,” Dunning said recently. “It was very informal at first.” Since 1976, more than three million people have attended one of the group’s 8,000 performances. The popular concerts are probably the group’s hallmark, although it now sponsors music, plays and other programs more frequently at schools and nursing homes. Beginning in Leesburg, Winchester and Warrenton, Bluemont now has performances in 28 area jurisdictions stretching from Loudoun County to Westmoreland and Hanover. In the Fredericksburg area, summer concerts are held in the city, Colonial Beach, Culpeper and Warrenton. It still operates under the Bluemont Concert Series name, although the official name is Bluemont, The Cultural Spirit of Our Communities. That mouthful of a name reflects the variety of programs the group now offers, Peter said. Just about any genre, from bluegrass to big-band and classical to jazz, are represented in the concert series. “The idea is to bring a wide variety of good quality music that people wouldn’t otherwise see,” Peter said. And to do that at an affordable price for audiences while also paying artists for their efforts. Bluemont now has more than 750 financial supporters—including individuals, business and local and state government. Peter believes that Bluemont brings a sense of community to the towns and cities where a field is being farmed one month, and covered with new homes the next. “It’s hard to get a sense of what’s permanent and real and what’s the fabric of the community,” Peter said. Bluemont’s outdoor concerts conjure up a time when things at least seemed simpler. Parents push strollers or chase toddlers; friends and neighbors chat; and for the younger set, the concerts are a cheap date night. Summed up by Peter, “The word community has been central to Bluemont.” — Ted Byrd MAY / JUNE 2010 | VIRGINIA NEIGHBORS 53


Home & Garden Bookshelf A Slice of Summer

Talk about a juicy book! Tomato lovers’ mouths will water over this guide for choosing, growing and cooking. Packed with photos that pop, “Tomato” explores a rainbow of varieties, from green zebra to Cherokee purple. Gail Harland and Sofia Larrinua–Craxton entice readers with a colorful overview, lead them into the garden with a bounty of growing tips, and take them to the kitchen with tempting recipes for salsas, chutneys, salads, even tomato–mascarpone ice cream.

The Holy Grail for Gardeners Outdoor décor lovers, be warned: Before you open this bigger-thanlife gardening book, flipping the pages may inspire you to tackle more than just household chores.

Sean Conway and Lee Alan Buttala teamed up o bring you “Sean Conway’s Cultivating Life: 125 Projects for Backyard Living.” Chock full of 125 different backyard projects, all of which are supported by step-by-step instructions, tools lists and elaborate photos, this is a must-read for every green thumb. Read a few pages, and in no time your backyard will be the envy of your neighbors! 54

Worth a Second Look

Dinner with Danger

Kevin Michael Connolly, “Double Take: A Memoir” Kevin, a 23-yearold who was born without his lower body, tackles the world with high-octane ambition, and all of that’s on display in this remarkable memoir. Each chapter captures key moments of his life—everything from getting beat up in school to photographing strangers’ stares while skateboarding through 17 countries. What happens in between is a story that’s both touching and telling. Kevin takes readers through an abridged version of his life at ground level, and it resonates like a canon in a cave.

Colin Harrison, “The Havana Room” In Colin Harrison’s bestseller, we follow Bill Wyeth, an attorney whose life is upended after he accidentally kills his son’s friend. Losing everything, Bill trudges through New York before stumbling into a steak house run by a complex woman named Allison Sparks. Every day he sulks, eats and idolizes this woman he barely knows. Will she help him rebuild his life, or is he headed for more danger? This is an obsessively detailed, tantalizing account of one man’s eagerness to both find, and hide, the truth.

Out of this World

Step Right Up

Lewis Carroll, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” Penned way back in 1865, the outlandish story that hit theaters this spring seems to be perpetually popular with adults as well as children. When Alice falls down a rabbit hole, she enters a fantastical world filled with curious characters. Where else can you find a cat with a magical grin, a hookahsmoking caterpillar and a Queen of Hearts with a fondness for chopping off heads?

Sara Gruen, “Water for Elephants” Jacob is living out his last days in a retirement home. His outrage at another resident’s false claim involving elephants, opens a window to his life-shaping stint with a traveling circus—the beautiful performer Marlena, who steals Jacob’s heart, and the vile dynamics of life on a Depression-era circus train. But a pachyderm named Rosie is the star of this book, and her story will steal your heart. — Lisa Chinn & Nicholas Addison Thomas

Summer memorieS AwAit You Enjoy Virginia's beautiful lakes, rivers and coastal waterways with your family & friends. Wakeboarding, tubing, fishing, waterskiing or cruising—Lake Country Marine has the right boat for your boating dreams to become memories that last a lifetime.

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Our doctors are among the best-trained podiatric foot and ankle surgeons in the country–our goal is to educate each patient and begin a relevant treatment program with the highest quality of care available. We strongly believe that the more a patient understands their ailment the more likely a patient is to comply with our treatment regimens. This has proven to result in faster healing and in better outcomes for our patients. Whatever your foot and ankle trouble, we'll work together to find the answers that will comfort you and bring you relief.

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You’ll definitely want to save room for this particular “Etc.” Robert Gonzales’ Mango Brûlée at Soup&Taco, Etc. »

Jamie Haverkamp Photo



The Soup & Taco, Etc. A fresh take on Tex-Mex—and more! Etc.—it’s a phrase we barely notice, but in the case of Fredericksburg’s Caroline Street eatery, The Soup & Taco, Etc., it’s the “Etc.” that makes the difference. When cousins Jose Gonzalez and Reina Gonzales (sic) took over the restaurant in 2008, the name was a challenge. Yes, they wanted to serve soups and fresh tacos, but they didn’t want to be restricted to those dishes. Then Jose realized the “Etc.” was the answer. “I thought, ‘This is what I’m going to take advantage of,’” he says. He and Reina have developed a full menu of Mexican, Tex-Mex and other Latin American items, with the occasional Creole, French, or American dish for variety. The result is a blessed change from the monotonously red-sauced, cheese-smothered, beans-and-rice overkill of most similarly themed restaurants. Forget whatever you thought you knew about the place. Instead, open yourself to experience a fish taco that patrons

Brothers Jose and Robert Gonzalez

have declared to be “like the ones in San Diego,” the purported home of that dish. Enjoy chicken sautéed in luxurious chipotle butter; fresh corn tamales with a creamy, soufflé-like filling; or a Creolestyle crab soup, redolent with sherry, leeks, and shallots and just enough cayenne for a pleasant tingle after the last spoonful is gone. The narrow store front and dining area might fool you, but this isn’t a grab-it-and-go place. You’ll want to stay a while. But, you may certainly call ahead to take out your order. Originally from El Salvador, Jose and Reina are part of an extended family of restaurateurs and sport impressive credentials. Jose worked at an Alexandria restaurant for 20 years, and Reina was manager of several corporate-owned restaurants in Alexandria and Woodbridge. Jose’s twin, Robert, is head cook at The Soup & Taco, Etc., with two decades of experience and a special knack for soups, sauces, and fillings. When they first opened, public perceptions were a challenge to overcome, based on the restaurant’s prior history as a take-out lunch establishment. Jose and Reina, amazed that most businesses on Caroline Street closed at 5:00 p.m., were persistent until their customers realized they keep their doors open until 9:00 p.m. They have since built a loyal cliJamie Haverkamp Photos


Complex, Completely New Drinking Experience. Legend has it that 18th century English pubs advertised the availability of Old Tom gin by hanging a wooden sign in the shape of a black tom cat at street level. Thirsty passersby would pay a penny for a shot, which was dispensed from inside the bar through a spigot held between the cat’s paws into whatever the customer had at hand, from a cup to an open mouth. Once considered the drink of choice for working-class Londoners, Old Tom gin is virtually unknown today. Prohibition put an end to countless wine and spirit traditions like this one. But a few artisanal distillers are working to revive this long-forgotten tipple. It’s almost impossible to be absolutely certain that one Old Tom gin is more historically accurate than another, but a small Oregon distillery claims to have the most authentic recipe. At Ransom Spirits (, distiller Tad Seestedt crafts a spirit that straddles the line between whiskey and gin.

Instead of neutral grain, rice or potatoes, which form the basis of all other conventional gins, Seestedt uses malted barley. He then adds a number of highly aromatic botanicals, the catch-all term to describe the essential oils, herbs and spices used to flavor gin. Finally, he ages the raw spirit in oak barrels for six months, mimicking the unintentional aging that spirits underwent 200 years ago as they were stored or transported in oak, the period’s most widely available container. The result is a caramel-brown, clear spirit with an almost aggressive aroma of roses and cardamom. The malted barley imparts a subtle, Scotch-like sweetness, balancing the bitterness of juniper. Seestedt also uses orange and lemon peel, coriander seed, angelica root and cardamom pod to flavor his Old Tom. The original Tom Collins called for Old Tom, and a Ransom Tom Collins is a revelation. Also try the classic Martinez, and my variation, which I named the Hello Mudder, due to its murky appearance. — Kirk Evans


Soup&Taco, Etc.’s famous fish tacos

entele, enjoying a brisk business at lunch and dinner. “People really like what we’ve done here,” Jose says. “We were so fortunate to find this spot.” Jose confesses to experiencing culture shock when he first came to Fredericksburg, marveling that the people here are much more relaxed than in Alexandria. “Everybody is friendly, everybody knows each other—a lot like El Salvador,” he says. At The Soup & Taco, Etc., you’ll find ample servings and fair prices, with lots of fresh ingredients. Even standards such as enchiladas or quesadillas are a

pleasant departure from the ordinary. If you feel more adventurous, try chicken tamales wrapped in banana leaves, traditional Salvadoran chicken, beef-filled pupusas, or fried ripe plantains known as maduros. Check out the daily specials as well, always a deliciously good deal. — Drema Apperson

The Soup & Taco, Etc. 813 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA 22401 540-899-0969 Call for take-out. Tuesday—Saturday 11 a.m.—9 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m.—6 p.m.

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Tom Collins


Ice 2 oz Ransom Old Tom 1 oz simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water boiled and allowed to cool) 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice. Add gin, simple syrup and lime juice. Shake vigorously and pour into a rocks glass. Top with bubbly water if you wish.

Ingredients: Ice 1½ oz Ransom Old Tom gin 1½ oz sweet vermouth 1 tsp maraschino liqueur (not the juice from maraschino cherries) 2 dashes orange or aromatic bitters 1 twist of lemon or orange peel garnish Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full with ice. Add the gin, vermouth, maraschino liqueur and bitters. Stir vigorously for at least 30 seconds, then strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the lemon or orange peel twist. Variation: The Hello Mudder. Substitute pomegranate syrup for the maraschino liqueur.




Variation on Italian favorite makes a delicious change for summer. When fresh local strawberries become available in June, try this take on the popular Italian “pick me up” dessert, tiramisu. Perfect for any special occasion, it might even supplant strawberry shortcake as your favorite early summer dessert! You’ll want to use authentic Italian ingredients, such as mascarpone, an Italian triple-crème cheese available in grocery stores with specialty cheese departments. Cookielike Italian ladyfingers called savioardi can be found in Italian specialty markets. Substitute regular cream cheese and cake ladyfingers if you absolutely must, but you won’t regret using the real thing for the most delicious results.

Strawberry Tiramisu Serves 8 1½ pints strawberries 1 pound mascarpone, or regular cream cheese ½ cup powdered sugar 2 tablespoons Marsala ½ cup sour cream 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ cup heavy cream ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup Marsala 1 cup espresso, cooled Note: You’ll only need half the amount of espresso mixture if using cake ladyfingers. 8 ounces savioardi (Italian ladyfingers), or cake ladyfingers 1 ounce white chocolate ½ cup heavy cream, whipped (optional, for decoration) Wash and sort the strawberries, reserving the prettiest berries (about half) for decoration. Slice or coarsely chop remaining berries.

In a shallow bowl, combine the espresso, sugar, and ¼ cup Marsala, stirring until sugar dissolves. Have ready a 3-inch deep 8-inch square decorative dish. In a food processor or with an electric mixer, blend mascarpone, powdered sugar, and 2 tablespoons Marsala until smooth. Mix in sour cream and vanilla. In a separate bowl, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the mascarpone mixture. Quickly dip individual savioardi into the espresso mixture, turning to coat, and place flat side up in the dish. Repeat with enough savioardi to cover bottom of dish, trimming to fit. Note: Cake ladyfingers won’t hold up to dipping! Instead, fit them into the dish and brush with espresso mixture. Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the savioardi. Cover with sliced or chopped strawberries. Make another savioardi layer just like the first, and top with remaining mascarpone mixture. Grate white chocolate over the top with a microplane grater. Decorate with reserved strawberries and, if desired, whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours. May be made 24 hours ahead of serving. — Drema Apperson


Adam DeSio Photo


Fresh Meat on the Block A popular saying warns that if you want to enjoy the meat, it’s best not to see the sausagemaking. That myth gets busted at Fredericksburg’s Olde Towne Butcher. At the full-service shop on William Street, people pay owner Lee Russell to learn Now Open in The Village at Towne Centre! to make his custom sausage blends of red wine and sage, Fred Red, Norfolk, Caribbean, andouille, Italian, and more. Brunch Every Sunday: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Lee had been a big-store meat cutter for nearly 20 years when Reservations Accepted • Call for BRAVO! To-Go! he opened what he calls an “old school” butcher shop in October. His wife, Linda, welcomes customers and attends to their orders. Behind her is a spotless picture window to the cutting room where VILLAGE AT TOWNE CENTRE • 1 TOWNE CENTRE BLVD. patrons see Lee and two apprentices cleave grass-fed Angus from FREDERICKSBURG • 22407 • 540.786.1099 Fauquier County, air-dried chickens from Pennsylvania, and pork from Culpeper and Orange counties. Along with other meats and fish, the shop also sells Stafford County eggs and Trickling Springs Creamery milk, cream, ice cream, and butter. Lee seeks out nearby farmers who feed animals well and who treat them humanely. “I like dealing with the local guys,” Lee said. “I know what he’s doing; he knows what I’m doing. I 11521 BRV Freds_VirNeigh4/19.indd 1 4/16/10 think that is a good way of doing business.” Last winter, Lee and his crew welcomed students into the scrupulously scrubbed butcher room for five sold-out hands-on sausage-making classes. Clad in a red apron and traditional butcher’s cap, Lee talked pig—what to buy, what to discard, how to bone. He heaved two fresh butts of pork from the walk-in refrigerator onto a stainless steel table. Most important, he said, keep the meat cold and clean. Rubber gloves snapped on 20 sets of hands, and everyone got to work. A father and teen-aged daughter cubed pork and chatted with an onion-slicing Gen X-er. Nearby, a bowler-clad apprentice twisted ropes of filled casings into links as a bearded professor mimicked his deft twirl of hands. A group of hunters measured herbs and discussed the merits of a dry rub. And everybody took turns at the grinder, guiding the ground meat as it torpedoed through the casings to form a glistening, weighty spiral. Under the tutelage of Lee and his apprentices, and for a fee of $40, participants learned the basics of the butcher’s specialties. They left with five pounds of sausage to enjoy at home, a sausage-making text book, and smiles of satisfaction.

Stay in Fredericksburg. Dine in Rome.

11:24:06 AM

— Neva S. Trenis The Olde Towne Butcher plans to offer classes this spring on how to cut and bone chicken. To find out more, visit the store at 405 William St. or its page on Facebook. Reach the butcher by phone at 540/370-4105 Jamie Haverkamp Photo


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2010 Greek Festival

Our biggest festival ever! May 28th through the 31st, come join the fun and listen to traditional Greek music & be entertained by our dance troupe, “The Athenians.” Smell the aromas from the outdoor grill, including a roast lamb dinner every evening. Then relax with a cup of coffee and mouth-watering pastry: Baklava (layered fillo and nut pastry), Koulourakia (butter cookies), Amigthalota (almond cookies), Yiourtopita (yogurt cake) and Ravani (light syrup cake). Tours of the Greek Orthodox Church will be conducted daily throughout the festival. This year we are featuring Greek Artisans and Vendors from around the country. No admission fee! Plenty of free parking available! The Nativity of the Theotokos is the local Fredericksburg parish of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. Visit for directions and more infomation. 5/8/2010


Fancy Nancy Tea Party

Mother’s Day Jazz

Join us for a Fancy Nancy Tea Party. Listen to a story, make a Mother’s Day craft, and, of course, have tea. Dress up in your “fanciest” ensemble, if you please. Ages 4 and up, 10–11 a.m. Please sign up at the Children’s Desk. The Salem Church Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2607 Salem Church Road,

Kick things off for Mom a day early. Indulge Mom with a savory buffet of gourmet cuisine. $30 ticket includes live Jazz with Aaron Noe and his Big Band Sound (14 piece orchestra), souvenir glass, tours, tasting and a rose for Mom. Reservations required for food. Tickets and more information available at Lake Anna Winery, Spotsylvania



Bejewel Your Mom

Mother’s Day Luncheon and Preservation Month Tour at Stratford Hall

Come create your own jewelry with your mother for Mother’s Day. All supplies provided. Please sign up. Grades 7-12 and their mothers, noon–1 p.m. The Salem Church Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2607 Salem Church Road,
Fredericksburg Candice Carver Illustration

Take Mom out to a special place for Mother’sDay and have a buffet lunch in the Stratford dining room. Also, in celebration of Preservation Month, join us for a preservation focused tour at

2 p.m. This tour is included in the cost of the Great House tour ticket. Find out more by visiting www.

Lunchtime at Hurkamp Starting May 11, every Tuesday enjoy a free, live concert in Hurkamp Park. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Bring a lunch or purchase one in the park from Chick-fil-A. Large groups call ahead (540) 786-7979 and pick up your food at the concert! We’ve got an exciting vehicle line up for Touch-A-Truck! Visit www. departments/recreation for concert line up. 900 Prince Edward St, Fredericksburg.


Mother’s Day Specials Bring Mom in for a complimentary wine tasting and special discounts for Mom only at Potomac Point Winery! Enjoy tasting our award winning wines, while the children play in our “little bud’s” room. Hours posted at www. 275 Decatur Road, Stafford 5/12/2010

MINDS WIDE OPEN: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Art Elizabeth M. Gushee, Digital Collections Librarian at the University of Virginia, will give an illustrated talk on

photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston’s efforts to capture the fast-vanishing architectural landscape of Virginia in the 1930s. Supported by grants from the Carnegie Corporation, what originally had been envisioned by Johnston as a year-long project to document the lesser-known structures of the colonial era turned into a far more extensive venture, leading


Out&About her to cover 50,000 miles in Virginia. Part of the Evening with an Expert series, presntation is from 7–9p.m., Fredericksburg Area Musuem and Cultural Center, 1001 Princess Anne Street, Fredericksburg 5/13/2010 to 7/3/2010

Alice in Wonderland– The Musical Take a wildly entertaining musical journey with Alice as she follows the watchcarrying rabbit into a Wonderland of nonsense and good sense. Lunch and show are enjoyed from private candlelit tables. Time: Sat. Matinee 1—3:15 p.m.; select Tues. & Thurs. 10 a.m.—12:45 p.m. For details and ticket prices visit www. Riverside Center Dinner Theater, Fredericksburg

montage of love songs by the Gershwin brothers and by Cole Porter. There will also be renditions of “The Exodus Song,” the African-American spiritual “My Lord, What a Morning, “ and “Somehwere Out there” from “An American Tail.” The second half of the conccert will feature music from the Rodgers and Hammertein musical “South Pacific” including favorites “Bloody Mary,” “Bali Hai,” and “There is Nothin’ Like a Dame.” Under the direction of Linda Monner with Marilla Haas as accompanist, there will be two performances at 8 p.m May 15, and 3 p.m. May 16; at Spotsylvania Middle School, 8801 Courthouse Rd, Spotsylvania. Tickets are $8 for regualr admission and $5 for students and those over age 60. For more information ca;; 540.789.9643 or visit

they compete for prizes at Hurkamp Park for the 38th Annual Fredericksburg Art Festival. Art will be on display Saturday 10 a.m.—5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.—4 p.m. In addition there will be live music by Laurie Rose Griffith & Peter Mealy Saturday from Noon—5 p.m. This event is free and open to the public. See www.fredericksburgva. gov for details. 900 Prince Edward St., Fredericksburg 5/15/2010—6/13/2010

The Virginia Renissance Faire

Spotsylvanians Annual Spring Concert

5/15/2010 and 5/16/2010

In its eighth concert season the chorus will perform a

Art Festival

Back and bigger than ever! The Faire brings a unique brand of educational interactive family entertainment. Join in the revelry as the little 16th century town of Staffordshire celebrates the arrival of Elizabeth, Queen of England and her court. Weekends only. For more information and admission prices visit www. Lake Anna Winery, Spotsylvania

Artists from all over Virginia display and sell their work as


5/15/2010 and 5/16/2010

Murder at the Prom Teen Council presents Murder at the Prom on May 14th. Bring your friends, and see if you can solve this murder mystery after the library closes, from 6:30—8 p.m. Everyone has a secret to hide. Grades 7-12, must sign up to participate at the Porter Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, or www. There will be refreshments, music, and dancing. Everyone is encouraged to dress up. 2001 Parkway Boulevard, Stafford


11th Annual Taste of Fredericksburg It’s time for one of the city’s most looked forward to charitable events, the Annual Taste of Frederickbsurg from 6—9 p.m. at Jepson Alumni Center at the University of Mary Washington. This popular event features an evening of food sampling from local dining and catering establishments. All proceeds will go to help the children of our community through the Rappahannock Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency. Attendees also participate in a silent and a live auction and enjoy an evening of live music, and various events with over 300 people in attendance. Tickets

and sponsorship information available at node/652. 5/20/2010—8/20/2010

Culpeper Concert Series Join us in downtown Culpeper for the 3rd Thursday Summer Concert Series starting May 20th. Bring friends, family & a lawn chair from 5–9 p.m.! There will be plenty of free children’s activities that promise to be fun for kids of all ages. Admission for those 21 and over is $5 in advance and $7 at the gate. Kids are FREE!, 109 South Commerce Street 5/21/2010—5/29/2010

The Women Of Lockerbie Stage Door Productions presents The Women Of Lockerbie, a play written by Deborah Brevoort, as part of “Minds Wide Open: Virginia Celebrates Women in the Arts.” Based loosely on a true story, this award-winning play describes a mother’s search for her son’s remains that were lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103. Production runs from 8–10:30 p.m., Admission Fee is $12 per person; visit www. for details. Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 1201 Caroline Street, Fredericksburg 5/21/2010—7/18/2010

Footloose–The Musical Relive this unforgettable musical, based on the 1984 movie. A Chicago teenager moves to a small town where the local government has banned dancing and rock music. Learn how he and his classmates figure out how to get a school dance back. Enjoy dinner and this musical from the privacy of a candlelit dining table. For details and



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Shakespeare on the Lawn Each summer the Fredericksburg Players, a talented group of high-school and college-aged thespians under the direction of Fred Franklin, present a play in the 18th-century style on the lawn in front of Historic Kenmore. Plays written in the 1700s as well as adaptations of earlier plays that would have been performed in the 18th century give the audiences a glimpse of how the Washingtons and Lewises and their contemporaries would have enjoyed the theatre. Shakespeare is a favorite among the actors and their audience, and is often raucously interpreted with enjoyable results including audience participation as would have been done in colonial Virginia.

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On June 12, 13 and June 19, 20, 2010, Mr. Franklin and the Fredericksburg Players will perform Shakespeare’s Richard III. The play is dominated by Richard the hunchback Duke of Gloucester, who becomes Richard III through a series of horrible acts, killing off his enemies, his kinsmen, his wife, and most of his supporters before reaching the Battle of Bosworth and crying out the familiar “My kingdom for a horse!” In a work that is as much melodrama as history, Richard is exposed as a pure, self-professed villain of monstrous proportions. His evil drives the plot until his final defeat by the good forces opposing him led by the Duke of Richmond (who became Henry VII) in the play’s last act. Performances begin at 7 p.m. but guests are welcome to come early and enjoy a picnic supper on the grounds (no food provided by The George Washington Foundation.) No pets, please. Limited seating is provided but guests may bring their own lawn chairs or blankets. In the event of rain, the performance will be moved inside to the Fleming-Smith room. For more infomation visit


Out&About ticket prices visit www. Riverside Center Dinner Theater, Fredericksburg 5/22/2010

Mid-Atlantic Wind Symphony Inaugural Concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 door or $8 in advance. Repertoire will include the music of Beethoven, Grainger, Halvorsen, Mendelssohn,and Sousa. www.midatlantic



Ladysmith Day 2010

Sky Party at Curtis Park

Held 10 a.m. and 5 p.m, this year, the event will bigger and better! There will be two stages, and the trolleys will be back. Main Stage Lineup: Message Sent (10 a.m–noon), Milford Station (12:30–2:30 p.m.), and Runnin’ Hot (3–5 p.m.)Side-stage entertainment includes an Elvis Impersonator (Jim Smith), Magician, Comedian, Clown, and Storytelling presented by the Virginia Renaissance Faire

Join the Rappahannock Astronomy Club at Curtis Park and explore the night sky from 7—9 p.m. There is no charge to participate, but you must pre-register, by 5/14/2010, (540) 658-5114. Be sure to dress appropriately for the evening air. Bring your own lawn chairs and binoculars. Ages 5+, all children must be accompanied by an adult. 58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Hartwood 5/22/2010—5/23/2010

2010 Spotsylvania Civil War Reenactment Civil War Reenactment in the heart of Spotsylvania County’s Historic Courthouse Area. Events for the entire family Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m. and Sunday noon–4 p.m., with Battles 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Bluegrass Concert Sat 6–10 p.m. to benefit Battlefield Preservation. Tickets available at www.spotsylvania. org. Spotsylvania Courthouse Village 5/23/2010

Celebrate Spring at Rikki’s Refuge Animal Sanctuary Open House!

American Family Campout! Remember when life was simple? Catching fireflies while camping out with friends was an exciting adventure. Join us the weekend of June 26 and 27th! Saturday activities start at 3:30 p.m. including canoeing/kayaking on Curtis Lake, archery, nature programs, and crafts. After a hot dog dinner, take a night hike or go star gazing. The evening will conclude with a group campfire (guitars welcome!) and making s'mores. Sunday will include a continental breakfast and conclude at 10 a.m. Bring your own camping equipment (tents, sleeping bags, etc.). Sat. dinner, Sun. breakfast, and all activities are included in the price, $10/ person or $25/family. All children must be accompanied by an adult. RSVP by 6/18/2010, (540) 658-5114. 58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Hartwood.


The gates open at 11:30 a.m. Take a tour and meet Rikki’s lovable critters. The first tour starts at 12:30 p.m. Enjoy refreshments, music by Greg Allen), a Children’s Craft Corner, face painting, and purr-fectly wonderful raffles. The event is outdoors so please dress for the weather and critters! Rikki’s Refuge is a no-kill, domestic/farm animals and wildlife sanctuary supported solely by donations and volunteers. Admission is 2 (or more) cans of cat/dog food per person; for more information visit:

10910 Barr Lane, Rapidan (Orange County) 5/25/2010

Master Gardener Lecture Series Gardening advice from the experts 7–9 p.m. “Terrariums or Dish Gardens” presented by Linda Dunn. The Salem Church Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2607 Salem Church Road,
Fredericksburg 5/28/2010 to 5/29/2010

Lee/Jackson Civil War Relic Show This is a first time Civil War Relic Show which will sponsor over 100 tables for the sale and display of Civil War era merchandise and memorbelia. Come to the Fredericksburg Fairgrounds, view, purchase and enjoy the civil war encampment while eating the products of “Just 2 Girls Cookin” that will be prepared on site. Admission is $5, 12 and under free; 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Fredericksburg Fairgrounds, 2400 Airport Ave. 5/29/2010

Fredericksburg National Cemetery Luminaria Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts will light 15,300 luminaria at Fredericksburg National Cemetery, one candle for each soldier buried there. Volunteers and National Park Service historians will guide historical walking tours discussing the cemetery and some of the people buried there. A military bugler will play “Taps” every 30 minutes. Event runs from 8—11 p.m.; the cemetery will remain open until the luminaria lights are out. A free shuttle service will be provided from the University of Mary Washington parking lot on the corner of William Street and Sunken

Road. Free and open to the public. More details at 500 Sunken Rd 5/29/2010—8/21/2010

Patriot Park Concert Series It’s time for he Annual Patriot Park Concert series one Saturday each month through the summer. Join us for our kick off on May 29th with “Sweetbriar.” Gates open at 6 p.m. Concert begins at 7 p.m. 5710 Smith Station Rd., Fredericksburg 5/30/2010

Guided Nature Tours Take a free guided tour of the woods and fields of Belmont; led by members of the Central Rappahannock Chapter of the Virginia Master Naturalist program. This informative nature walk covers 1 mile of woodland and field trails, and it touches on the historic ruins of Belmont’s past. Tours will take place rain or shine at 2 p.m. Please wear sturdy footwear. Reservations are not necessary. Meet outside the Stafford Visitor Center. Belmont– Gari Melchers Home & Studio, Falmouth 6/3/2010

Culpeper Fest Come enjoy food, fun, music, a variety of booths from local businesses and organizations, from 4–8:30p.m. Bring your appetite for an all-you-can eat extravaganza of pork, lamb, catfish, chicken, hot dogs, Italian sausage and all the fixin’s. (Dinner served from 5–7:30 p.m.) Put on your dancin’ feet and enjoy great music! Tickets must be purchased in advance, adults $25 and kids $5. Visit us at Germanna’s Daniel Center for Advanced Technology, 18121 Technology Drive, Culpeper

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Masters of the NIght We will go in search of bats while hiking the perimeter of Curtis Park at dusk (6:30-8 p.m.). Following your hike and field observation, you will return to build your own bat house to start your own colony. Fee of $20 per family includes supplies to build one bat house. Please bring a hammer. All ages. RSVP by 5/28/10, (540) 658-5114 . 58 Jesse Curtis Lane, Hartwood

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Out&About 6/5/2010




Lees and Independence

History at Sunset Tours

Father’s Day Barbeque

This years Lee’s and Independence event at Stratford Hall will take place in the late afternoon, at 3 p.m. Enjoy activities for kids, Revolutionary War re-enactors and free live music at an evening concert. This event is free and fun for all ages! www.

Starting June 11, every Friday night starting at 7 p.m. The Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, host free guided walking tours of various parts of the battlefields. Tours cover a wide variety of topics. Check our website for tour information frsp. Fredericksburg Battlefield Visitor Center, 1013 Layfayette Blvd., Fredericksburg

Rappahannock Regional Soap Box Derby


Antique Automobile Show 53rd Annual Historic Fredericksburg Region AACA Antique Automobile Show. Open to the public. All originally preserved or restored antique automobiles, 25 years or older, may be entered into the show. Free for spectators. Contact J Brown (540) 372-6896 for more information. Caroline Street, Fredericksburg 6/6/2010

Spotswood Baptist Church Orchestra Concert Bring a lawn chair or spread a blanket on the lawn of Chatham as the Spotswood Baptist Church Orchestra entertains you with a variety of classical and patriotic music. 7p.m., 120 Chatham Lane, Fredericksburg

6/11/2010 to 6/20/2010

Christian Youth Theater Presents: Disney’s Aladdin, Jr. Welcome to Agrabah, City of Enchantment, where every beggar has a story and every camel has a tail! All of your favorite characters are here in this stage adaptation of the Disney hit. The tuneful, Academy award-winning score with songs including “A Whole New World” and “Friend Like Me” will certainly make this musical a favorite for many years to come! Tickets $13 per person on-line, $15 at the door. For times and to purchase tickets visit Spotsylvania High School, Spotsylvania

Race downtown derby style! Children aged 9–17 compete in this classic unmotorized car race on William Street, beginning at 8 a.m. Fredericksburg

Relax and enjoy a fun afternoon at Potomac Point Winery alongside Dad with fine wine, horse shoes, live music, & BBQ! Call for reservations at 540-446-2107. 275 Decatur Road, Stafford


6/21/2010 to 6/25/2010

Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s Summer Concert Series

2010 Summer History Camp

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s Summer Concert Series starts out featuring Quantico Marine Band, one of the oldest musical ensembles in the Marine Corps. Enjoy an outdoor concert on the grounds of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, free. 7–8:30 p.m. www. 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Triangle 6/19/2010

Summer Solstice Rhythm and Blues in the Vineyard Welcome the summer out on our lawn and dance into the night. $15 ticket includes music with Jerry McClam and Destiny, souvenir wine glass, tours, and tasting. Food will be available for sale from local vendors. 540-895-5085, Lake Anna Winery, Spotsylvania

Come explore history and follow in the footsteps of George Washington. Have fun with hands-on activities, projects, and games at the Rising Sun Tavern, George Washington’s Ferry Farm, the Mary Washington House, Historic Kenmore, and the Hugh Mercer Apothecary. From 9 a.m.— Noon. Ages 8-12. To register, contact Vickie Hayes at (540) 370-0732 x24 or email at 6/24/2010 to 6/27/2010

28th Annual Fredericksburg Photography Show Amateur photographers from across the region display their photos and compete in numerous categories for prizes. Photographer deadline 6/11. Free and open to the public at Dorothy Hart Community Center. Sponsored by Fredericks-

Annual 4th of July Fireworks As is the tradition, on July 4th, fireworks will be launched from the hills of southern Stafford County in beautiful Pratt Park. Bring family, friends and a picnic. Event starts at 6 p.m., music begins at 8 p.m., leading up to the fireworks–which will begin at dusk (around 9:15 p.m.). Parking is free at Pratt Park, but be sure to carpool, as space is limited. These are the best fireworks in the Fredericksburg area! 120 River Road, Falmouth


Ongoing burg Parks and Recreation. 408 Canal St, Fredericksburg 6/24/2010 to 6/27/2010

Adventure Camp What an adventure it is for children and their families to experience the realities of plantation life as it was 250 years ago. There is something for everyone with so many educational and fun-filled activities packed into a weekend for children, age 8–12, and accompanying adult relatives. Stratford Hall, Westmoreland;

Fredericksburg Area Battlefields “Fredericksburg Area Battlefields: Old Times They Are Not Forgotten” will kick off the Fredericksburg Area Museum’s celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. Displays include post war images of local battlefields, and photos of the monuments erected by veterans. Early attempts at preservation, and documents on local veterans’ reunions will also be featured. Many of the objects featured in this exhibit have never publicly been displayed before creating the rare opportunity to see them for the first time. The exhibit lasts through July. Visit www. to find admission prices and museum hours. 1001 Princess Anne St.


Music Under the Stars Free, live concert by the Fredericksburg Community Concert Band! Bring a blanket or chair. 7p.m. Rain date: 7/7. 900 Prince Edward St 7/3/2010

Culpeper Independence Day Celebration Join us for a day of celebration and patriotism in and around downtown Culpeper. The day is filled with sporting events, patriotic speeches, an antique car & bike show, a festive parade, and entertainment that will delight everyone. Main Street, Davis Street, and Yowell Meadow Park, 7/4/2010

Fabulous 4th Please join us for Fabulous Fourth at Ferry Farm from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Join General George Washington and first-person interpreters for a look into colonial era life, with make-and-take crafts. A Native American village will provide a look at how they lived. Frontiersmen will demonstrate how they helped shape the nation. Visit the website for more details, www.kenmore. org/events. Fredericksburg

Through 6/20/2010

Through 9/24/2010

Belmont through a Lens

Finally Fridays

Gari Melchers Home and Studio presents “Belmont through a Lens: Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston,” an exhibition of eighteen historic images of its site by this pioneering female photographer. To visit the exhibit go to gari_melchers. Falmouth

A celebration of the weekend in Old Town Fredericksburg with live music, dancing, food and more from 6–9:30 p.m.
 Admission: Adults $4, Teens (13-20yrs) $3, Kids (6-12yrs) $1, Under 6 FREE. All proceeds go to local charities, to find out more visit www. Sophia Street Parking Lot

Through 6/24/2010

Chess and Go

Through 12/18/2010

Drop in and play chess or the Asian game of strategy called Go. Come to the Young Adult Reference Desk for games and instructions. Meet 6:30–8:30 p.m. The Porter Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2001 Parkway Blvd, Stafford

Yoga 101, Vegetarian Cooking, & Meditation

Through 7/27/2010

Plant Clinic Tuesday nights, 6:30–8 p.m. Master Gardeners will be available in the lobby to help you with your garden-related questions. www.librarypoint. org. The Porter Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2001 Parkway Boulevard, Stafford

Join Debbie Bennett every third Saturday of the month as she teaches multiple free wellness classes. An introduction to Yoga, 1–2 p.m. Vegetarian cooking demonstration and tasting, 2–3:30 p.m Meditation theory and how to, 3:30—4:30 p.m. The Porter Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library, 2001 Parkway Boulevard, Stafford Every First Friday

First Fridays Celebrate the arts community and thriving downtown scene in historic Fredericksburg.

Gallery events, changing exhibits, restaurants and live entertainment provide a new reason to celebrate monthly. Art First Gallery at 824 Caroline St is always open on First Friday from 6–9 p.m. Check Out & About to discover other First Friday events. Every Tuesday

Carolina Shag Dancing Shag dance lessons at Renato’s Restaurant–no partner required Lessons start at 7:30 p.m. dance til 10 to the DJ playing your favorite beach music. Cover charge $4. 
Sponsored by Battlefield Boogie Club; www. 422 William St, Fredericksburg Every second Saturday

Second Saturdays Join the Museum as we celebrate our history with family friendly activities, from 1-3 p.m. In addition Hallowed Ground Tours will be offering architectural walking tours of downtown Fredericksburg. Tours leave the Museum at 1 and 2 p.m. and last approximately 45 min. www. Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center, 1001 Princess Anne St.



Creating Father’s Day Traditions By Kirk Evans With Father’s Day falling on a June Sunday, chances are you’ll be nagged, eager to mow the lawn or paint the porch. Don’t Do It, Daddy-O! Fathers (a type of man) endure an even more ostracized place in society. Not content to be shamed with the relentless TV portrayals of dads as hopeless but well-meaning chuckleheads, we are forced to grin as we accept Father’s Day cards depicting us as beer-guzzling, remotecontrol-obsessed slobs. So it’s only fitting that this most disenfranchised creature, the dad, get his own, special day. The very words Father’s Day conjure up a lazy afternoon lazily swinging in a hammock, fingers lazily brushing the rim of a beer glass. Which you then knock over but are too lazy to get yourself another one. Time for some Me Time. Sounds idyllic. Which makes me wonder why I chose to pile everyone in the car and head down to Clore Brothers ( to rent two-person kayaks and float down the Rappahannock River. I filled out a few forms and we listened to a short lecture, then a short van ride took us and our boats to the “put-in” point. After making sure the kids and the wife were safely and dryly nestled in their kayaks, I pushed them in the direction of the waterline, falling in the mud and scraping my legs a few times. Once afloat, each adult with a small child in his or her “bow” or “personal space,” we proceeded down the river in a lazy manner, in keeping with the theme of the day. The stately pace was partly due to the gentle current in the Rappahannock, and partly due to the fact that our double-bladed paddles kept smacking into each other. We looked like a couple of katydids practicing tae-kwon-do. A few hours later, we washed up on a small island and unpacked our lunch of sandwiches, chips and drinks. After drying them out with our T-shirts, we ate what we could.


The kids wanted to go for a swim, so with their life jackets on, they waded into the river, entered the top of a riffle and swooshed down with shrieks of delight. Now dad wanted a piece of that action. After rising early, making lunch, paying the $70 fee for two kayaks and splitting the paddling labor an even 90/10 with a 6-year-old, it was time for a little fun. I put my life vest back on and jumped into the cool water, then made my way over to the top of the riffle. I lay down and waited for the water to take me, but my 200 pounds had other ideas. Apparently the children were exploiting the water’s surface tension as they floated by, deliriously happy, because my keel had grounded out. I began to have a little surface tension of my own as my wife sailed by, equally joyful. Later, we rounded up the kids and re-launched the kayaks, more successfully this time. We even mastered a rhythm: When paddling with kids, take their paddles away and do it yourself. If not exactly the kind of lazy Sunday this father had in mind, it was the start of a bona-fide family tradition, where instead of “me time,” Father’s Day means I and the people I love the most get to spend time together. We arrived back home at about 1 o’clock, exhausted, wet, dirty and happy. Then I went out and mowed the lawn. _________________________________________________________ Kirk Evans is a Washington native who currently resides in Stafford County.

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As Spotsylvania’s new— and only—downtown, the Village draws residents from throughout the county. The Village Pavilion hosts concerts and community festivals…a long-sought gathering place for the 41,000 residents within its trade area.

Refresh Your Nest Inspired pick-me-ups for your home and garden

gifts for grads: your guide to the year’s top picks $3.95

MAY | JUNE 2010

affordable solar energy comes to town

Summer berries Star in our italian classic

Virginia Neighbors  

May June 2010

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