The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

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On a Path to the Arts

Traveling the Piedmont north of I-66 from The Plains to Middleburg and out to Millwood, you will find the beautiful historic villages have preserved their charm and the glorious rolling countryside that lays between them.  This is horse country, hunt country, wine country, or some say, a culinary wonderland. What about art? Oh yes, there is art!

This region is home to a variety artists – authors, musicians, visual artists and performers. The Red Fox Gallery, The Sporting Gallery and The Byrne Gallery have been the visual art anchors in Middleburg for many years. Of course the Museum at the National Sporting Library is world-class.  Recent additions include the Middleburg Arts Project Gallery and the Artists in Middleburg Gallery.

In the Plains you’ll find artists Tom and Lina Neal’s Live An Artful Life Gallery, along with the Zig-Zag Gallery and Youngblood Art Studio. Millwood is “art” famous for its Art at the Mill each spring and for several years now has enjoyed contemporary art at the Duvall Design Gallery next to the historic Locke Store. So much art in these small towns.

Middleburg showcases several events in February. The Middleburg Arts Project Gallery will host “Beginnings” from February 6th thru March 15th, which features local emerging artists. The Middleburg Arts Council is sponsoring “On Main Street” at The Byrne Gallery from February 7th thru March 1st with artworks regarding America’s cultural icon, Main Street. The most popular one night art event of the month will be the Art of the Piedmont Art Auction & Reception, a benefit for Middleburg Montessori School. It is a wonderful art and social event to be held on Friday, February 20th from 5:30  to 8:30 pm at the Middleburg Community Center located at 300 W. Washington St. in Middleburg. A tremendous showing for the shortest month of the year.

This Piedmont region arts community is working hard to bring you local, regional and world-wide art for your destination experience. 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 Real Estate: How to Reduce Home Showing Stress


How to Reduce Home Showing Stress

This is the second column by Rappahannock County real estate agent Amy Sloane Timbers. Have a question about real estate matters? Write Amy at

By Amy Sloane Timbers

Selling a house can be a very stressful process.  Sellers can be under pressure to move due to job transfers, or re-location demands. Buying or selling a house can be one of the most stressful events in life.

One thing a seller can do to reduce the pressure is to ensure the house is in good showing order. The house should be spruced up, cleaned-up, and picked-up so buyers can roll in at a moment’s notice.

It’s not easy to maintain a house in showing order but the following tips may help.

Sprucing up is the most time consuming and money consuming. These are the type of things that can be done in advance that will last: including re-painting rooms, fixing delayed maintenance items, fixing drippy sinks, up-grading outdated appliances, and landscaping.  Projects like this will put the property in the best light. Prospective buyers can be turned off by a home when they see gutters that don’t drain, a 1970’s green stove, peeling paint in the bathroom, or a dead lawn mower in what was once a yard. The buyer might fear this indicates the seller hasn’t taken care of the house, and there could be other, perhaps expensive things in disrepair.

The seller also needs to clean up. This is the de-cluttering or de-personalization part of the job. Closets and cabinets should be cleaned and organized. The garage should be turned back into a garage instead of a storage area. Personal items and personal touches should be reduced.

Personally, I find this hard to do, but when it is done buyers will be able to see the house and not the seller’s personal belongings. This helps buyers to visualize their things in the house. However, it is possible to go too far in the clean up. Sellers don’t want to create an “unlived in” feel.  Their house needs to retain some of their personality, just not too much.

Picking up is the day-to-day cleaning that so few of us really do day-to-day. I think of these things as something anyone would do when expecting guests. The problem is these guests, the buyers, want to see everything.  When having guests over for dinner, I don’t worry about how the laundry room or the master bedroom looks.  When prepping to sell your house every room counts, even the basement. The buyer will want to look everywhere. Bathrooms and kitchens are very important—no rings or dishes. If the seller has children, this can be almost an impossible task.  Toys should be contained and crayon marks cleaned. Buyers should make allowances for children and most do so.  Sellers also need to ensure there is no pet odor or hair.  Pets, like children, make things trickier and each case is special.

Major repairs or updates are items that should be examined individually. Some repairs, such as a leaking roof or basement should be fixed. This type of repair might not make the property sell for more but it will surely sell for less if it isn’t done. Some updating is optional, such as re-doing the guest bath. However, some buyers many not want the guest bath re-done so they can put their own touch on the house.

Deciding whether to put on new wallpaper or re-painting children’s rooms are also debatable updates. You might want to discuss items like this with your agent first. Some of them are purely a matter of style so it can be difficult to decide if it is worth the time and money.

If the seller can spruce up and clean up, then the pick-up will be faster and easier.  This will reduce some of the stress. It is even better if the seller can get into a routine of a quick pick up. That way you can be confident the house looks good when an agent calls and wants to show the house in 15 minutes to an out of town buyer.

Congratulations to our 2014 photo contest winners!

Congratulations to the winners of the  Piedmont Virginian’s annual photo contest for 2014. We received many stunning photos that captured the beauty of the Piedmont. Thank you for your submissions. Start shooting photos for next year’s contest!

All photos are property of the photographers. Please do not download, copy,  crop or edit in any way.


Classic Piedmont 

Old Waterloo Bridge, Fauquier/Culpeper Counties by Coy Ferrell.


The Great Outdoors 

Hazel River, Rappahannock County by Gary Anthes.


Pets *Grand Prize Winner* 

Boundless Joy, Free Union by Grace Elliff


Conservation and Farm Life 

Dawn Suprise, Castleton by Gary Anthes


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:

What will you find in our winter issue?

Pick up a copy of the Winter issue, on newstands now!

Our newest issue includes stories featuring:

  • Best-selling author Katherine Neville writing about ghosts in the attic of her Warrenton residence
  •  Winter soup recipes by Brian L. Lichorowic
  • Beautiful photography of the Piedmont by Edward Payne
  • The history of families displaced by the creation of Shenandoah National Park by Kristie Kendall
  • An excerpt from a new novel, “Mother Fracker” by Larry Bud Meyer
  • Our “Here ‘n’ There” calendar full of local events you don’t want to miss
  • A new “Treasures of the Piedmont” column about antiques by Kirsten Dueck
…and much more!

Take a peak at other featured articles on our homepage.

To pick up a copy of the magazine, click the following link to find the closest location to you.

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