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Towns & Villages Column by Billie VanPay

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Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014
Therapeutic Riding Center Receives Awards
By Billie Van Pay

Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center located at 40685 Mosby Hwy., Aldie, has become an excellent resource for Loudoun and other neighboring counties. Its stated mission as a non-profit organization is to provide assisted activities and therapies to individuals seeking opportunities for growth, to raise public awareness about special needs, and to provide dynamic learning, social recreation, and therapy opportunities for individuals and groups in a farm environment.

Brooke Waldron is the director, and she, her staff and the volunteers all work in a first-class facility which is sufficient to support the programs. The center is a member of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) which ensures excellence in safety, instruction and program standards. The skilled instructors, the trained horses, the caring volunteers and supportive donors work to provide programs that include mounted lessons, ground-work lessons, community-based instruction and a variety of group activities.

As a non-profit organization, the students only pay a portion of their costs, and without donations and volunteers, many of the students would not be able to participate in this form of therapy. The director announced that eight volunteers from the Sprout Therapeutic Riding and Education Center in Aldie have been awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Award by President Obama. These volunteers each logged over one hundred hours of service to the riding center from May 2013 through April 2014. Five adults and three high-school students were awarded the honor. Allan Leach, Whitney Leach, Emily Maddox, Diana Newmiller, Brian Nutter, Amy Perez, Miriam Reyes-Jensen, and Kendall Richardson are all part of a team of over 200 volunteers who provide riding assistance to over 400 riders who have participated in Sprout’s therapeutic riding programs annually. Sprout’s volunteers come from Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Prince William County, Fairfax County, and Loudoun County.

The Presidential Service Award is awarded annually to volunteers who volunteer at official certifying organizations that meet specific and stringent criteria as organizations that build community through the service it provides and through the volunteers that help provide the service. The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created this award in 2003 to honor and encourage volunteerism in the United States.

Sprout is privileged to have these volunteers as part of its team of volunteers who help brighten the lives of many who come to Sprout each week to learn, to laugh, to live, and to thrive with and through horses. The mailing address for the center is P.O. Box 8, Aldie, Va. 20105. The telephone is (571) 367-4555 and the email is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014
Fun at the Middleburg Country Inn
By Billie Van Pay

There is only one bed and breakfast in the historic town of Middleburg, and it is Middleburg Country Inn at 209 East Washington Street. With eight graciously appointed bedrooms, sitting rooms, convenient location and relaxing environment, the inn is the perfect destination for any variety of gatherings, corporate events, retreats or simply an escape to the countryside.

Just an hour’s drive from D.C., the beautifully-restored historic town of Middleburg is, not only a mecca for horse lovers, but is also a shopper’s delight or a history buff’s paradise. There are a number of designer and antique shops, art galleries, historic trails and sites, wineries and excellent restaurants nearby. Some of the award-winning events held in or sponsored by the town attract visitors from all over the world.

The present owners, Kevin and Jo Ann Hazard, bought the Middleburg Country Inn in 2005, immediately became leaders in the business community, and, as a consequence, can direct their guests to any and all of the many places of interest and activities in the area. Being situated in the heart of horse country, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and in Loudoun County which is ranked as one the best in the country, the inn provides an excellent “home away from home” for those who want to enjoy the area’s resources and participate in the many events throughout the area – the fox hunting activities, the hunts’ spring and fall races, the Upperville Colt and Horse Shows, the National Sporting Library and Museum’s exhibits, Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority activities, Mosby Heritage Area Organization’s activities, or Christmas in Middleburg weekends, all some of the attractions that bring visitors to the area. Middleburg Country Inn is perfectly located for its guests to enjoy these attractions, and the inn keepers are Country Life Concierges who know how to make their guests feel welcome. For example, the rich, cooked-to-order country breakfasts are part of that welcome-home provision and attitude guests appreciate.

The first weekend in August, the weekend of the Annual Summer Sidewalk Sale in Middleburg, brought crowds into the town to shop. Several former classmates from Virginia Tech were guests at the inn for the weekend, and these guests had a special treat, something that can be part of visits now by other groups to the town’s bed and breakfast too. This treat was something new and different; a new company, Wine and Design on Wheels, provided a painting party at the inn for this group of “Hokies” who were there renewing their friendships and visiting with each other.

Michelle Flynn owns this newly formed company which is based in Fredericksburg. Flynn had spent several years in the restaurant business and then several in the construction business. She wanted a change. She found that change in her Wine and Design business. Some of her friends had participated in a paint-your-pet workshop, Flynn liked what her friends told and showed her about their experience, and she organized and started her own business. Her company provides the artist who instructs and assists the participating members in creating their own work of art. It may be a painting, a form of craft, or any other form of art that the individual can take home when it is finished. There is a long list of themes to choose from – pets, scenic views, historic symbols, etc. Once the theme is chosen, the instruction and assistance begins. The workshop lasts for a couple of hours. Group members take away their own work of art at the end of the session.

The Virginia Tech group, which had a “Hokies” banner proudly strung up in the tent, gathered at the scheduled time, the inn provided the space for the painting party and the magic began. Mickey Beck, a full-time paramedic/firefighter for Prince William County, was the art instructor. The group chose “directional signs” as their theme, used acrylic paint, and as promised, each member of the group had a work of art to take home at the end of the two hours.

For more information about a visit to Middleburg, individual or group accommodations at the Middleburg Country Inn and how to acquire a similar painting party, visit the web site http://www.middleburgcountryinn.com or call (540) 687-6082. For more information about Wine and Design on Wheels, visit the web site http://www.wineanddesignUS.com/Fredericksburg
Thursday, Jul. 31, 2014
Middleburg has a sidewalk sale
By Billie Van Pay

Middleburg’s New Town Planner: William M. Moore has begun his work in Middleburg as town planner and zoning administrator after working in Winchester for 13 years. He felt that he had learned a good deal in Winchester but wanted a job as primary planner. Middleburg was his opportunity for that. He liked the small town where he will be able to expand his work and be given the responsibilities of managing integrated systems. He says, “There are some upcoming projects where I will be able to assist Martha Semmes, the town manager, improving sidewalks, intersections, and traffic calming projects on Washington Street, for example. This is a beautiful town, and there will be a challenge in shaping the changes in order to maintain the character of the town. I am honored to be offered this opportunity to help preserve the integrity of the town and to ensure that any changes meet the standards of the community. Most of the changes that will be made have already been approved. The town’s comprehensive plan does not show any major changes.”

Moore holds an undergraduate degree from James Madison University and was a musician in the U.S. Army for 7 years before beginning his work in Winchester. He recently completed a graduate certificate at Shenandoah University and a Masters in management from the School of Business at Liberty University. He can be reached by email (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) or by calling (540) 687-5152. Obviously he is happy to be in Middleburg, and he is looking forward to meeting and getting to know the business and community members here in town.

Young Professional Group Forming: Some of the young professionals in Middleburg and the surrounding communities are gathering to form a group where young professionals, forty and under, can meet each other, take advantage of the resources in the town and further their careers. The first meeting is Wednesday, July 30, 7 p.m., at the Night Fox Bar at the Red Fox Inn, 2 East Washington Street, Middleburg.

For more information, call Sarah Watkins at (540) 687-5119 or Christina Naramore at (540) 687-3500.

Summer Sidewalk Sale: Marcia Massenberg of Bendure Communications, Inc., at 210 East Washington Street, Middleburg, has issued a news release regarding the 8th Annual Sidewalk Sale, Friday through Sunday, August 1-3. The sale, sponsored by Union Bank, will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday as posted by shops.

“We have found this to be a very successful time of the year to encourage people to shop and find bargains throughout the town of Middleburg,” said Middleburg Business and Professional Association President Punkin Lee. Many of the unique shops in the village will have discounts on everything from shoes to children’s clothes to pottery, as well as lots of specials in the local restaurants. Arrive early to get the best bargains—or better yet, stay over at one of the inns in town (Middleburg Country Inn, (540) 687-6082, http://www.middleburgcountryinn.com Red F,ox Inn, (540) 687-6301, http://www.redfox.com Goods,tone Inn, (540) 687-3333, http://www.goodstone.com or Salamander Resort & Spa, (540) 687-3600, http://www.salamanderresort.com) and make a weekend of it.

Look for the colorful balloons outside participating stores. Shops with fantastic bargains include Duchessa (clothing and accessories), Lou Lou (clothing and accessories), Lou Lou Too (handbags and accessories), Olio (flavored oils and vinegars and specialty foods), Crème de la Crème (pottery, ceramics, linens, etc.), Tully Rector (shoes, clothing, accessories and beauty products), The Christmas Sleigh (gifts and collectibles), Highcliffe Clothiers (menswear), Three Crowns (clothing and unique gifts), Second Chapter books, Richard Allen Clothing (clothing and accessories), Country Classics (men’s and women’s clothing), Les Jardins De Bagatelle (French gift shop), Middleburg Event Studio, Wylie Wagg (pet supplies) —and many more one-of-a-kind stores you’ll never find in a mall. Home Farm will feature its organic meat and produce and the shop has an upstairs ice cream parlor.
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