Towns & Villages Column by Billie VanPay
Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2013
Middleburg served shoppers on its sidewalks
The town of Middleburg just held its seventh annual Upscale Sidewalk Sale. The sidewalks, stores, restaurants were all full of shoppers, and there were great bargains everywhere.
Just walking the sidewalks took a little maneuvering because of the crowds. The whole event was busy,, hectic, and fun. Neighbors and friends mixed with tourists – all shopping for the bargains.
However, there was one quiet peaceful place.
It's quite unusual for a small book store to compete with the larger national book stores around the country and the Internet now, but Second Chapter Book Store has remained open and is doing well.
Kathy Jo Shea established the shop with Jilann Brunett to accommodate those who love to read, and it's one of those cozy places, neat and clean, with hundreds of choices, and most of all, it is convenient to the Middleburg community.
Friday, Aug. 2, because the book signing at Goodstone Inn the previous evening had such a great response, Second Chapter Books held a second signing for Karin Tanabe's first book, "The List."
If you like the television series "House of Cards,” you may want to read Tanabe's book. According to her publisher, you will meet "… Adrienne Brown, a 28-year-old Wellesley College grad who recently left her glamorous job at Town and Country for a spot at the Capitolist. Known simply as The List to Beltway insiders, it's the only media outlet in D.C. that's actually on the rise.
"Taking the job means accepting a painful pay cut, giving up perks like free Louboutins, and moving back in with her parents, but Adrienne is certain that her new position will be the making of her career."
The book is totally captivating. Tanabe had the insider experience at Politico of watching media and politics collide.
Those who want to read all about it can buy a copy at Second Chapter Books, 10 Liberty St., Middleburg, or by calling (540) 687-7016.
Back on the busy sidewalks in Middleburg during the sale, Marilyn Bigelow, was there greeting friends and visitors alike at Tully Rector.
Those who live in the community know she is one of the fashion experts who can tell you every day of every season what's in and what's not. The racks there were a shopper's delight.
Duchessa was one of the busiest shops. Robin Cavanagh, the owner who is another voice of experience in fashion, was as busy as a bee helping customers.
The shop has added a line of men's clothing this past year. Too, many of the community will like to hear that June Thompson is working at Duchessa now.
Both Pam Rimes and June Thompson have had tragic circumstances recently, and perhaps they both chose to work at Duchessa as the shop's owners are known for their big hearts and compassion.
Olio had a tasting table set up in its little cove with olive oils, vinegars and sea salts. This is one of the newer shops in town, and it has become immensely popular by offering something completely different and new in the town's market.
Up the street on the corner at Washington and Madison, one of the most gracious atmospheres in any store is led by one of the most gracious people working in Middleburg -- Emily Tabachka, general manager of the Home Farm Store. (Isn't that always the way; graciousness is contagious.)
The Ayrshire Farm's butcher shop and grocery store features U.S.- and Virginia-sourced products -- from seasonal produce, wine, cider, honey, jam, home-made goods and fresh sandwiches to custom cut-steaks and chops, as well as an assortment of prepared foods.
The beef, pork, veal, chicken and turkey products are all certified humane and certified organic. Call Emily at (540) 687-8882 for special orders.
On the west end of Washington Street, there were crowds around Betsey's. With Lisa Capraro as manager/owner that store is always busy.
Most shoppers enjoy going into the store just to chat and look; the staff there is always cheerful and accommodating.
On the same block, Mary Garvin who is new in Middleburg and works at Middleburg Collectibles, said this business is doing well, that it just had a very successful month. The store plans to stay open, and is making plans for the coming year.
If you missed this sale, watch for the next one. It's a fun and profitable shoppers' event worth time and effort. Meet with the Middleburg Business and Professional Association Sept. 13, 5:30 p.m., at the Community Center to hear more about Middleburg's business community.
Wednesday, Jul. 31, 2013
Foxcroft School names new dormitory
It's the end of summer. Almost daily, a new announcement comes out about activities for everyone in the final weeks before school starts again. There is building going on, too.
Just in time for new students, Foxcroft School will open Stuart Hall. The school's news release announced Thursday, July 25, "… its newest building, a $10.3 million and 'green' dormitory scheduled to open with the new school year, has been named Stuart Hall. The honor of naming the building, which will house up to 50 students and three faculty families, went to Nan Stuart, Class of 1971, as the major donor to the project.
Stuart Hall is the third major construction project completed by Foxcroft in the past five years.
A $14.5 million athletic and student center opened in 2010, just a year after a new maintenance facility was unveiled. Impressively, the school has accomplished all this despite difficult economic times for the country and without going into debt.
Situated on the east end of the campus, between Dillon and Reynolds dormitories, Stuart Hall is Foxcroft's first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building. It uses geothermal wells for efficient heating and cooling and regional and recycled materials for many of its components.
Environmentally-friendly guidelines and practices have been incorporated on many levels.
When it opens, students and visitors will be able to monitor the building's energy use on a video monitor. As other dormitories are refurbished, they too will have monitors, opening the way for friendly rivalries among the residents over energy efficiency. Stuart Hall will be dedicated on Saturday, Sept. 28.
There is another building under major construction in Middleburg, the town's library.
According to Denis Cotter, who has chaired the project from the beginning, "Sully Construction has just finished building the new addition, which has doubled the size of the library. It is now 4,540 square feet. Now they are busy rehabbing the old part of the facility.
"The library is closed at the moment for three weeks while this work is going on. It is planned to be back in business in mid-August. The grand opening ceremony is scheduled for Saturday after Labor Day, Sept. 7, at 9:30 a.m. Thanks so much to our wonderful donors who made this possible."
Equally important is the new safety program the Middleburg Police Department is promoting, Crosswalk Safety.
Virginia DMV during the past five years reported on average 1,511 pedestrians injured in motor vehicle crashes. As a result, Chief A. J. Panebianco said, "The police department will be focusing on crosswalk safety during the next couple of months. The program 'Save Lives…Not Seconds' is an educational effort to make drivers and pedestrians aware of the requirements for crosswalks in the Commonwealth.
"In short, we want drivers to be aware of the crosswalks and to slow as they approach. Look for pedestrians in or entering them. We want pedestrians to understand that drivers may not see them, and they cannot just step in front of a car.
"It goes further to address handicapped pedestrians, children and covers some statistics.
"When in Middleburg, please slow down and remember the few seconds you save by rushing at a crosswalk may be the last seconds of someone's life."
There are other important events that community members in western Loudoun may want to put on their calendars.
One is the Middleburg seventh annual August sidewalk sale on Aug. 2-4 sponsored by Union First Market Bank.
The second, Middleburg Art in the Park at the Pink Box, will be Saturday, Aug. 3 from 1 to 6 p.m.
The Middleburg Business and Professional Association will sponsor an "Employee Appreciation Reception" Tuesday, Aug. 13, at the Middleburg Community Center.
The Unison Community invites everyone to its Unison Preservation Society meeting, Friday, Aug. 9, 7:30 p.m., at the Unison Store. Thanks to Dr. Betsee Parker, the store is being converted into a community center.
Wednesday, Jul. 24, 2013
The links are calling in Loudoun County
Loudoun County has many wonderful resources for anyone who needs recreation. The Loudoun Times-Mirror just published a "Loudoun Guide," which is an excellent source of information regarding all of the county's many resources.
One of the articles in the guide was "A Round of Golf" by Andrew Sharbel, and this excellent article written with a golfer's perspective can help those who are interested evaluate the many different courses throughout Loudoun County.
There are many to choose from in Loudoun. Some online sources list seven Loudoun County public courses: Goose Creek Golf, Westpark Golf Club, Brambleton Regional Golf, Algonkian Regional Park, Virginia National Golf, Raspberry Falls and 1757.
Other sources list six private golf clubs and courses: Stoneleigh Golf Club, Lansdowne on the Potomac, Belmont County Club, River Creek, Trump National Washington, D.C. and The Club at Creighton Farms.
In the Leesburg area from U.S. 15 to the western part of the county, there are great choices for the serious golfer.
One young and very avid golfer, Christian Darden, a + 1 handicapper, began playing golf at River Creek as a teenager. He was on the golf team as a student at Heritage High School, and now works at the club in the summers when he is home from college.
He talked about playing some of these courses, "In my opinion, out of all the courses in the area, River Creek, hands down, has the best view from the clubhouse that overlooks the Potomac, as well as having five holes that run along the river," he said. "Four of the holes, number 15 through 18, are the most challenging final four holes a golfer will come across in the area, if not the state. Overall the character of the course is hard to beat and never gets old."
Darden continues, "The quality of the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course at Creighton Farms is arguably the best in Northern Virginia. It is hard to find flaws in the immaculate fairways, fast greens and practice amenities. Too, there are breathtaking homes that surround the course. Playing golf there is an experience any golfer will never forget."
Darden had high praise for another club, "I think the Gary Player signature course at Raspberry Falls Golf and Hunt Club is one of the most exciting courses to play in the area, and it is a public course. Each hole is guaranteed to give you a challenge with its links-style set up and deep bunkers that resemble such bunkers you might see in Scotland.
"If you are looking to improve your game, the professional staff at Raspberry Falls is par none to the area. Pat McGuire, the head of instruction, is one of the premiere instructors in the area who teaches many of the top amateur golfers in Northern Virginia. There are also many other professionals at the club to choose from; all can help improve your game."
Further to the west, there is Loudoun Golf and Country Club in Purcellville, which is a well-maintained private course. This club hosts many of the Virginia State Golf Association's events around Northern Virginia. Loudoun County is not just for horses; it has wonderful golf courses too. "