The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Fauquier County (page 2 of 33)

Acting on the Small Town Arts

By Peter Wood

mbailey-140422-0206-3327548025-o (1)It has been a tough winter to walk the streets of our small Piedmont towns. Snow and ice piled up on the sidewalks of Middleburg, yet many art lovers braved the wind and weather to enjoy gallery openings, artist talks and painting demonstrations. Now it is March and it’s time to act on the arts!

Middleburg will once again be home to Shakespeare in the ‘Burg, an amazing weekend festival that brings performances by the internationally acclaimed American Shakespeare Center. The festival is set for March 27-29, 2015, and kicks off with “movie night.” This year, the organizers have selected “West Side Story,” based on the Shakespeare play, “Romeo and Juliet.” It will be a fun night to enjoy hors d’oeuvres  and a glass of wine or two before seeing the movie in the wonderful Sheila C. Johnson Performing Arts Center at the Hill School, located on the edge of town.

The weekend continues with workshops on stagecraft and two plays, Hamlet on Saturday, and Much Ado About Nothing on Sunday. Another highlight is the midday performance by local actors of the one act play from the play writing completion. While that might be enough for an exciting afternoon, there is also a performance by the Crooked Angles, a husband and wife music duo. Find out more at

That is just one weekend! Throughout the spring, summer and fall, you will hear music in the air! Starting in April, the new 4th Friday night concert series, “Open Late” will be hosted by the National Sporting Library & Museum. Several more concerts are planned by the Middleburg Community Center on their front steps. Music will also play a role during the local summer art fairs – Art in the Pink Box Park, and at the town-wide arts celebration Art in the Burg, on June 20th.

There is more art outside Middleburg too. Traveling west you will find Millwood, VA, where the Duvall Designs Gallery reopens, featuring Winslow McCagg on March 14th. Don’t forget to stop at the historic Locke Store for lunch or to pick up a bottle of wine. Down the road from Middleburg you will find fresh works in The Plains at Live An Artful Life Gallery and Zig-Zag Gallery. So much variety of arts in our small towns.

The Piedmont region is home to so many talented artists – authors, musicians, visual artists and performers. You can find all the art events on Come enjoy the arts with us!

Peter Wood is a local metal sculptor, founder of the Middleburg Arts Project and Chair of the Middleburg Arts Council. More about his art: Learn about the art events in the region at

Piedmont Virginian writer prepares exquisite floral arrangements for Valentine’s Dinner at Airlie

IMG_7235Hardie Newton is the in-house floral designer for Airlie Center and I just had a quick visit with her as I stopped by Airlie to watch her transform their dining room for the romance of Valentine’s Day dinner. Following is a sort of “photo essay” of the magic she has created at Airlie on this cold winter day, and a few photos as well of their Garden Bistro room, with some whispers of spring.

IMG_7218There is a beautiful sitting room just behind the front desk which she takes over completely with her flowers and arranging materials every Thursday as she prepares the arrangements for the week. Today the beautifully decorated room, complete with a crackling fire, was filled with roses and other makings of romantic table arrangements.

IMG_7219Hardie carefully crafts a garden and flower contemplation for each issue of the Piedmont Virginian, celebrating what her Madison county garden produces in each season. Her in-depth knowledge of what seems to me to be every single thing that grows in the ground, and her ability to harvest plants at their peak, turn them into works of art, and share that in her writing is her gift to us every issue. An excerpt from her article in our winter issue follows.

IMG_7224Never having actually taken seriously the fact that many growers plant seed solely to produce seed, the idea encourages contemplation. Plantsmen and farmers who, through the ages, have dedicated their lives to collecting, growing and hybridizing seeds, are involved in lifetime work, a giftIMG_7225 to future generations. Having personally limited myself to planting seeds to solely produce beautiful flowers and vegetables, seems mindless when compared to more lofty ambitions. Saving heirloom seeds for next year’s planting is an ingrained habit. They are expensive and the habit a practical one. All the while, however, a goal of growing varieties useful for both eating and decorating has not been  considered.

Photos by Jan Kamphuis

Ahi Tuna Tacos at Bonefish Grill

IMG_0630Lunch at Bonefish Grill in Gainesville today. We usually visit family owned or privately owned restaurants and tend not to frequent chain restaurants, but I do like Bonefish. I had the Ahi Tuna wonton tacos….and they were amazing. Diced sushi-grade tuna in a crisp wonton shaped like a taco shell, with wasabi and ginger on the side. (I think I ordered them because they reminded me of my very favorite restaurant food, the ahi tuna wontons at Claire’s in Warrenton. Claire’s has a soy-type sauce that I think has a tiny bit of sweetness to it on the side of theirs, though, that makes all the difference-adds a whole other flavor dimension.) My husband had fish and chips, which are always good at Bonefish. The fish was moist, flaky, and hot, but the crust was amazing, light and very crispy. Fries were a little soggy today, but they do tend to vary. I also like the decor and feel of the bar at Bonefish….the dining room I don’t think is as special. A glass of red wine and a beer for my husband, an energetic and friendly bartender made a great Saturday lunch.

The Francis Fauquier Tournante hosted by Philip Carter Winery this year

Francis Fauquier Tournante 2013On the 252th anniversary year of Francis Fauquier’s validation of the successful cultivation of a vineyard of European vines in Virginia in 1763, the winegrowers of Fauquier County join together for an annual tradition to celebrate the Francis Fauquier Tournante.  An event inspired by Saint Vincent Tournante, the Burgundian tradition, the Francis Fauquier Tournante is an event of great symbolic importance in recognition of the winegrowing community of the northern Piedmont region of Virginia.

The celebration date falls between the vine’s dormant winter state and the first appearance of new growth, the time when pruning begins, and it signifies the beginning of the new winegrowing season.  A procession of flags bearing the arms of each Fauquier winery process in ceremony lead by the Knights of the Vine, proceedings rooted deep in the history of wine.  The procession is followed by a general assembly of the brotherhood.  Member families and guests then sit down together for a grand pig roast feast.  The procession starts promptly at 3:30 p.m.

The Francis Fauquier Tournante is one of the key events of the Fauquier County winter.  The event is hosted by a different Fauquier winery each year, and the day’s activities include: The Fauquier Wineries Tasting, live music, the Francis Fauquier Ceremony, and traditional Pig Roast feast.  The procession is open to the public.  Reservations are required for the pig roast, seating is limited. $49.95 per person.

Eleven wineries plan to participate as we celebrate the start of the 2015 Virginia wine growing season. The Knights of the Vine plan to attend, Pastor Kim of Sermon from the Vine will give the message, Kevin McGrath will sound the bag pipes, the pig will be from Dark Hollow in Markham and catered by Chef Victor of Orlean Market.  This will be an exceptional event in America’s wine country.

January 24, 2015
Hosted by Philip Carter Winery
4366 Stillhouse Rd., 
Hume, VA 22639
(540) 364-1203
Tickets through Eventbrite at

Via Philip Carter Strother

Fauquier Health Foundation Launches Make It Happen!  

First grants open November 18

WARRENTON —The Fauquier Health Foundation announced today the launch of its first community grants program on October 20.  Make it Happen! will begin accepting grant applications on Tuesday, November 18. Because this is a rolling grant process, there are no fast deadlines for the submission of requests.

Make It Happen! grants were created to energize the creativity of engaged citizens working with organizations to accomplish small-scale, high-impact, quick turnaround projects.  Applicants can request funding of $2,000 to $10,000 for ideas that can be turned around in 90 days or less.  The application process is simple, and applicants will receive a quick response as to whether or not they’ll receive funding.

The goal is to engage the community and create success stories. Eligible grant applicants include 501(c)3 non-profits, religious institutions (for non-religious purposes) or local government entities in Fauquier, Rappahannock and northern Culpeper counties.  The proposed project should have the potential to inspire and motivate the community and must benefit people and organizations within the Foundation’s service area.  Benefits must be concrete and tangible.

“We’re hoping that Make It Happen! will be a catalyst for community leaders and residents who are passionate about improving our communities and the region’s quality of life,” explained Christy Connolly, president and CEO of Fauquier Health Foundation.  “The program was developed to light a spark in area residents who have great ideas to impact positive change.”

For those who want to learn more about Fauquier Health Foundation grants and the process, there is a review day on Friday, November 7, at 10 a.m. in the Sycamore Room at Fauquier Hospital (500 Hospital Drive, Warrenton, Va. 20186).

To register for this event, as well as for more information on Make it Happen! and the Fauquier Health Foundation, visit

Fauquier Health Foundation was established through a joint venture between Fauquier Health and LifePoint Hospitals and was formed in 2013.   The purpose of the Foundation is to promote healthy communities today and in the future.

About Fauquier Health Foundation

With a legacy of community philanthropy stretching back to 1954, the modern Fauquier Health Foundation was created in 2013 through a joint venture between Fauquier Health and LifePoint Hospitals. The resulting foundation manages the assets of this multigenerational gift to promote healthy communities today and in stewardship for our children’s grandchildren.

Contact: Amy Petty, 540-316-2602

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