The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Albemarle County (page 1 of 26)

The Piedmont Weekend Roundup: February 26 – 28

Pouring red wine from bottle into glass with wooden wine casks on background

Fauquier County Wine Tasting & Competition at Airlie (Saturday, Warrenton). Come out and sample the wines of sixteen local vineyards and vote for your favorites in the People’s Choice Wine Competition. Delicious food pairings, prepared by the Airlie Chef, and live music. Please note that, to accommodate more visitors, this year’s wine tastings will be offered during two time periods. All tickets must be pre-purchased.

Riverside Group Show postcard-3 copy-1Art in Its Natural Habitat: An Exhibit of Paintings in a Model Home (Friday, 5-7 p.m., Charlottesville). Interior designer Robin Ellis invites you to celebrate Stony Point Design/Build as well as Charlottesville artists Helen Hillard, Chris Tucker, and Nancy Wallace.

Lighting the Creative Spark lightingthecreativespark(Thursday, Live An Artful Life Gallery, The Plains). This workshop, led by Dr. Celia Im, utilizes the power of music to ignite attendees’ creative potential. By engaging this part of ourselves, we are driven to finish that creative project, sculpt the next stage of our lives, and live in the moment.

Winemaker for a Day: Blending Seminar at Narmada Winery (Saturday, Amissville). Have you always dreamed of being a winemaker? Challenge yourself and your friends at our interactive winemaking seminar. Join our winemaker Sudha Patil and guest speaker Duane Harris for this workshop and experience the excitement of combining both the art and the science that goes into making a distinctive wine! You’ll be sampling and blending cabernet franc, malbec, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and petit verdot. Once your perfect blend is bottled, teams compete, imbibe, and select the most spectacular wine of the day!

FB_Motown-768x284Motown & More: A Tribute to Motown and Soul Legends (Friday, State Theatre, Culpeper).  An ensemble of today’s most talented artists brings it all back! Vocalists Bryan Fox, Gene McBride, Jeffrey Walker and Shang (each phenomenal in their own right) come together with exquisite harmonies to recreate classics and develop new musical arrangements. Less than a year old, Motown & More has become a popular production in the Baltimore/Washington/Virginia region.

An Evening with Groucho (Sunday, Louisa Arts Center, Louisa). Award-winning actor Frank Ferrante reprises his New York and London hit in this fast-paced hilarious tour-de-force. You will swear legendary comedian Groucho Marx is alive and well and making you laugh. Accompanied by his pianist, the comedy, one-liners, and songs of Groucho Marx make for an all-ages treat!

Six Pack Songwriter Series: An Evening of Central Virginia Songwriting (Friday, The Paramount, Charlottesville). With the goal of allowing audiences to experience a mixture of our best local artists at once, each “Six Pack Songwriter Series” event features 6 artists for one evening of live and local music. This year’s  production welcomes an all-new lineup to The Paramount stage. This year’s roster includes Michael Clem, Ben Eppard, Paulo Franco, Julia Kwolyk, Anne O’Brien, and David Tewksbury, all backed by a live band.

National Theatre Live in HD Presents: “As You Like It” at the Paramount (Sunday, The Paramount, Charlottesville). Shakespeare’s glorious comedy of love and change comes to the National Theatre for the first time in over 30 years, with Rosalie Craig (London Road, Macbeth at MIF) as Rosalind.  With her father, the Duke, banished and in exile, Rosalind and her cousin Celia leave their lives in the court behind them and journey into the Forest of Arden. There, released from convention, Rosalind experiences the liberating rush of transformation. Disguising herself as a boy, she embraces a different way of living and falls spectacularly in love.

Smithsonian at Little Washington Concert Series: Haydn Piano Trios (Sunday, Theatre at Washington, Washington). Pianist Kenneth Slowik is an artistic director of the Smithsonian Chamber Music Society. Violinist Heather Green joined the National Symphony Orchestra in 2005, and became a member of the first violin section in 2007. Cellist James Lee made his debut with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra at the age of 15. These three come together for a marvelous performance.

2015 90th Gold Cup 1

photo by Doug Lees

“Virginia Steeplechasing: The History and Future of the Sport in the Piedmont” (Sunday, National Sporting Library, Middleburg). This steeplechasing panel discussion is mediated by Robert Banner, President of Great Meadow Foundation. Panelists are Dr. William Allison (Ex-MFH and President and Race Chairman of the Virginia Gold Cup Races), Dr. Alfred Griffin (Ex-MFH and Director of Racing of the Virginia Gold Cup), Will O’Keefe (Race Director of the Virginia Fall Races), and Don Yovanovich (President of the Virginia Point-to-Point). Panelists discuss the history and future of this region’s beloved steeplechasing and equine sports. The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists. Also at NSLM currently are the exhibits “Side by Side with Gun and Dog” and “Line Dance: the Art of Fly Fishing.”

“Sunrise, Sunset” (Byrne Gallery, Middleburg). This weekend is the last chance to see this juried show featuring artworks inspired by sunrises and sunsets, bringing joy and warmth to the cold month of February.

“Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” at Riverside Dinner Theater (Through Mar. 13, Fredericksburg). Starring Todd Meredith as Holly, with the Buddy Holly tribute band, The Rave-Ons, this musical is the true story of the last few years of Buddy Holly’s life, spotlighting his meteoric rise to fame from the moment in 1957 when “That’ll be the Day” hit the airwaves until his tragic death on “The Day the Music Died.” Featuring many of his timeless hits, “Buddy” is a celebration of the life and times of “the young man with the glasses” that captures the unique mixture of innocence, determination, humor, and charm that was Buddy Holly and wraps it all up into a package that has become “The World’s Most Successful Rock-n-Roll Musical.”

The Piedmont: Not just for wineries anymore!

castle hill 2There is a new trend in distilled beverages, or spirits, afoot today, well represented in the Piedmont: Hard Cider. Having grown up in New England, I am very fond of cider, but had never had hard cider, except perhaps for an occasional try back in college of the sweet, soda-like alcoholic drink, found next to Mike’s Hard Lemonade in grocery stores and 7-Elevens. In my travels delivering magazines around Charlottesville, I drove by a sign for  Castle Hill Cider somewhere around Keswick, and decided to turn around and see all about it.

Now, cider, of course, is not a new thing. It is many centuries old, probably only about one season younger than the first apple crop! Given the lack of clean water in ages past, it was a regular beverage for all ages. I’m actually not even sure when “soft” cider came about….it wouldn’t surprise me if they had to invent it for prohibition!

But cider has gone the way of wine, beers, and whiskies; a portion of it developed into a sophisticated, artistic process to bring out certain flavors of various types of apples. Since it is sparkling, I imagine there is also a champagne type process to the fermentation.

Castle Hill Cider has a range of 7 ciders, ranging from dry to sweet. Since I was driving and far from home, and also technically still working, I didn’t do a full tasting. So I tasted both ends….the driest and the sweetest. Now, I am in no way qualified to give an opinion on any wine, beer, spirits, or cider (although I like them all), but I did have a preference for the sweeter-probably due to my upbringing and preconceptions about cider. However, it really was not very sweet at all…no resemblance whatsoever to the cider sitting by the Mike’s Hard Lemonade! The drier one was a bit like a dry champagne with a distinct apple tinge to it. I cannot do a real review; apart from being totally unqualified, this was my first taste of real hard cider and this is the only Cidery I have ever been to. But I hope to experience it more. Research, of course.

Castle Hill Cidery ( is also a gorgeous place to visit, a distillery and tasting room to rival any winery, gorgeous views, rural setting, and, of course, apple orchards. They do have their own orchards, but also use apples from external sources, but all from Virginia.

There are quite a few Cideries in the Piedmont to try. I was assured that cider is a year-round thing. The apples are harvested in the fall, of course, but the process (and consumption!), is an ongoing endeavor.

Virginia Cideries fit right into what is important to us and our readers at the Piedmont Virginian: local produce, check. Land conservation for farming, check. Sustainable agriculture, check. Locally made artisan products, check. Spirits, check. And a little history thrown in, check. The Piedmont Virginian will be featuring a cider story by Glenda Booth in the fall, to coincide with Cider Week Virginia in November. But there’s really no reason to wait until fall to do some sampling!

New Autumn Issue Available

covers for slideshow


Pick up a copy of the Fall 2014 issue, on newsstands now! Click the following link to find the closest location to you:

Our newest issue includes our annual fall art guide with artwork from around the Piedmont.

Featured stories include Virginia’s Moonshiners, Hot Air Ballooning in the Blue Ridge, lamb recipes, two local art clubs: The Loudoun Sketch Club and Firnew Farm’s Artists’ Circle, photo contest winners and more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage:


On newsstands now—the Summer 2014 issue! The Castleton Festival, history, hiking and more.

Pick up a copy of the Summer 2014 issue, on newsstands now!

Our newest issue highlights the sixth annual Castleton Festival with the full program published in the back of the magazine.

Featured stories include the Alvictus Spy House, the history of Hurricane Camille, five great hikes in the Piedmont, beautiful summer landscape paintings, poetry, photo contest semi-finalists and much more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage.

Click the following link to find the closest newsstand to you:

BozART Gallery to host local artists, Friday

Moored at Solomons Island by Julia Kindred. 

BozART Gallery in Charlottesville will host a miniature exhibit with two local artists, Matalie Deane and Julia Kindred.

The opening is from 6 to 8 p.m. this Friday, May 2 at BozART Gallery, 211 West Main Street on Charlottesville’s downtown mall (one block from the Omni Hotel).  Over 30 miniatures and additional 40 small works will be displayed.

For more information, visit

Meadow View by Julia Kindred. 

Rockfish Station by Matalie Deane. 

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