Safely seeking fresh air

Posted on Jul 21 2020 | By

Seniors and campgrounds make for healthy fun

You can run, but you can’t hide. Or can you?

The origin of the timeworn expression dates to 1941 when boxing legend Joe Lewis was describing his impending fight with light heavyweight champ Billy Conn. Conn was attempting to become the first light heavyweight champ in history to win a World Heavyweight title.

Regretfully for Conn, he was knocked out in the 13th round. He acquitted himself well enough and avoided the Brown Bomber for most of the fight, but ultimately, he couldn’t hide.

Today, our silver-haired cohort is running in place, trying to hide from COVID-19 while retaining some semblance of sanity. But playing it safe in the confines of one’s home can grow weary.

And while things have eased up, fear of public places with multiple faces still dictates caution. Perhaps seniors simply need to open their front doors and breathe deeply, triggering memories from yesteryear. Like camping.

Camping in well-maintained campgrounds is something even medical professionals are endorsing. They posit that when exercising and recreating outdoors, there is no compelling reason to wear a mask if one is practicing social distancing.

Dr. Henry Chambers, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, says, “There is a lot of air space and airflow outside. If you are outdoors and appropriately distanced from other people, then it is highly unlikely you will be exposed.”
His description defines a campground.

Camping today encompasses everything from luxurious RVs to simple two-person tents with a table and chairs. Even starting from scratch, primitive camping is not only fun but inexpensive.

A tent, sleeping bags, chairs, grill, and a portable table can be purchased for less than $400.

One popular brand of gear marketed by Ozark Trail offers a 22-piece camping outfit for $149. True, it’s not high-end, but it’s satisfactory for occasional outings.

Area campgrounds
A quick scan of your favorite search engine will reveal numerous local opportunities to stake a tent and fire up a grill less than an hour from any point in Fauquier County.

Venues like: Sky Meadows Campground, Greenville Farm Family Campground, Lake of the Woods Campground, Outlander River Camp, Cedar Mountain Campground, and Rappahannock River Campground, to name a handful, are open and providing healthy getaways for seniors and young folks alike.

Brenda and Edward VanKeuren are the owners of Mountain Lake Campground in Paris. The campground has been in operation since the 1960s and personifies “down-home”.

The venue is small with a blend of primitive, and electric and water sites totaling about 20.

“Everybody wants to get outdoors today,” said Brenda VanKeuren. “Weekends are our busier times. We don’t offer Wi-Fi, cable TV lines, and other fancy stuff. Just camping. What we do have is a lot of peace and quiet.” Campsites cost $25 per night.

Pam Marcon manages Gooney Creek Campgrounds in Front Royal. There are about 30 sites at the facility, also dating to the 1960s.

“I cater to tent campers who simply want electricity and water. I’ve been spatially- acceptably packed during COVID. People are chomping at the bit to get outdoors and camp.

“At night I watch all the unhappiness on TV, and then I look out at my campground and I see all my happy campers sitting next to their little happy campfires. My customers are well behaved and always having a great time,” said Marcon.

She describes her campground as a “landing pad.” People arrive, set up their tents, and then head to the river for canoeing or kayaking, or go up to the Shenandoah National Park for hiking. More laid-back pursuits such as antiquing or flea market shopping are also popular pursuits.

“What surprises me is I’m finding more local people coming to camp nowadays,” mused Macron.

Heading south on Route 340 toward Luray is the Shenandoah River State Park located near Bentonville. The park consists of 1,619 acres of recreational opportunities. It has over five miles of frontage on the South Fork of the Shenandoah River and miles of open and forested hiking trails.

“Everyone is happy to be out here, and they appreciate us being open,” said Tony Widmer, park manager.

The park has 11 primitive campsites costing $25 per night and 33 RV sites with water and electrical hookups that run $47.
“Our overall attendance is much higher than it would normally be. Most weekends, we are full. We have hikers, bikers, horseback riders, river floaters, and more, but they spread out nicely, making it safe for everyone,” said Widmer.

“All our staff practices social distancing and wear face masks whenever needed. We disinfect and clean the bathrooms twice a day.”
The message all area campgrounds are conveying to guests is, “Come. Enjoy. Be safe.”

Indeed, besides the confines of one’s own home, the great outdoors is where you can run but also hide.


Published in a July 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Amish country arrives in Old Town

Posted on Jul 18 2020 | By

This n’ That Amish Outlet offering handcrafted furniture

On June 16, a local businessman opened his eighth regional Amish store at 10 S. Fifth Street in Warrenton. If the past is prologue, quality workmanship will soon be gracing even more Fauquier County homes.

Steve Payne is the force behind the venture. And the word force is not used lightly. Payne is a serial entrepreneur, having built four successful businesses over the past 31 years, including parking lot striping and signage companies, a construction safety supply firm, a consulting traffic safety business, and his Amish empire, with multiple locations throughout Northern Virginia.

This n’ That Amish Outlet began with a love for all things Pennsylvania Dutch. After multiple trips to Amish County, buying goods, and seeing the pride and quality in the products, Payne and his wife Michelle thought the local community would also appreciate the Amish artistry as much as they did.

The company opened in 2012, featuring outdoor buildings. It began with stock structures like sheds, garages, chicken coops, and barns. Today, it offers an array of standard buildings as well as built-to-order custom facilities and a full line of home furniture.

Amish artisans build the desired structure to specific needs, including, but not limited to, roofline, materials, color, and interior design.

“Many people know us for outdoor structures, from sheds to full-sized barns. The Old Town location will focus on interior furnishings,” Payne said. Residents traveling toward Warrenton on Route 29 pass his other local Amish outlet in the New Baltimore area.

He started the Amish chain thinking he’d retire to a more relaxed business. It remains to be seen if the dream materializes. “I’m not one to sit still, and we’ve grown because of it. I’m a go-getter.”

Payne, 58, is the father of seven children and seven grandchildren and bears a resemblance to the late actor Brian Dennehy which might help explain his action-oriented lifestyle. “I started over three decades ago with just one man. Today I employ some 150 people in all my businesses.”

The source
Over the years, Payne has established multiple relationships with the Amish in Pennsylvania. It started with one firm specializing in building structures. His arsenal of woodworkers today total over sixty, enabling him to offer a wide range of furniture and buildings.

What does his furniture catalog showcase? “You will see an array of hardwoods, including maple, cherry, walnut, and pine. We primarily deal with dining and bedroom furniture as well as miscellaneous home furnishings.

“Most people order from our catalogs. Depending on the items ordered, delivery will take four to 10 weeks. It’s all handcrafted,” said Payne.

The lineup also includes outdoor furniture. Prices for an Adirondack chair are in the $250 range, and a large dining room set could go for $10,000.

It’s likely anything purchased from him will become part of the buyer’s estate and be inherited by their family.

The Amish are known worldwide for working with wood. Their culture centers on quality, and it’s integral to their ethic to take their time and produced exceptional lifelong furniture and structures.

“If anyone has an issue with a product, we will honor our pledge of quality. Buyers pay a good price for a piece of fine furniture. Our craftsmen know that, and we know that. It’s what the consumer can expect to receive from any of our products.”

Moving from home furnishings to the great outdoors presents no limitations for This n’ That. While the Old Town shop focuses on the hearth, its portfolio ranges from doghouses to multiple car garages, large build on-site barns, and riding arenas.

His four-man Amish work crews are working in Fauquier County and other northern Piedmont areas every other week. An average size barn takes about a week to build. Prices range from $3,000 for a backyard shed to $100,000 for a full-size barn.

Payne underscores his Amish business fulfills a need in an area that reflects urban, suburban, and country living. “There is a need for quality. This furniture is not like buying at a discount store. It’s all-natural, finished wood with no veneer.

“We are testing the waters at our Fifth Street location for what we believe is true; that consumers need and want handcrafted, high-end furniture. We have a 10,000 square foot furniture-only building in Leesburg, and it does exceptionally well. We thought we’d try and see if there is the same demand here in Fauquier County.”

When asked what go-getter Payne does to relax, he unhesitatingly smiles and responds, “Work.” Dedication and commitment of his caliber bode well for anyone purchasing one of his numerous works of art.

For full product line descriptions of the This n’ That’s catalog, visit https://www.thisnthatamishoutlet.com/about-this-n-that. 


Published in a July 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

From junk springs jewels

Posted on Jul 04 2020 | By

Remix Market: rediscovering, reimagining, repurposing

Mark Harrington is a man of vision. He sees value where most see rubbish. In a world that uses, discards, and moves on, this energetic entrepreneur prides himself on creating an eco-friendly community by giving used household items a second life.

Harrington initially launched Junkluggers two years ago. The service is simplicity tucked into colorful green trucks. The company contracts to haul used household goods and recycles almost 100 percent of the items.

When a truck full of former life stuff leaves a customer’s home or office, its destination is either partner charities or recycling centers. The customer receives a tax-deductible receipt for their donation.

Now there is a third stop for the supposedly worthless items: Remix Market in New Baltimore. “Frankly, the term junk is a misnomer. Often, it’s simply things that have run their course within a home and need to start life anew elsewhere,” Harrington explains.

Junkluggers found that despite their best efforts, the donation centers and charity partners they work with were not always able to accept every item brought to them. Recognizing a need for extending the recycling process, Remix Market was born.

The airy and open feeling of its 5,000 square foot facility, located at 6632 Electric Avenue, is stocked with gently used and affordable items, including antiques, home décor pieces, quality furniture, outdoor equipment, artwork, and more.

Beyond helping the environment, a portion of sales from Remix Market go to the franchise’s two charities of choice: Mikey’s Way Foundation and Inova Children’s Hospital.

There are numerous junk companies, but virtually none offer previously treasured items an opportunity to live again. Many pieces are scratched, missing a knob, discolored, or have other modest imperfections. Harrington and his staff are skilled at waving their repair wand and revealing the original beauty and functionality.

“There are two terms in play here: recycling and upcycling. Recycling is lowering the value of an item. Upcycling is improving its value,” said Harrington. “We upscale and recreate the original piece and sell it at a very affordable price.”

There is no standard profile of customers engaging Junkluggers. It includes people who are moving, empty nesters downsizing, senior citizens transitioning to condo living, and even younger couples moving out furniture to accommodate new purchases. Many of the items find a temporary rest stop at the Remix Market before finding a new home.

The business strategy realizes today’s population lives in a world of abundance and excess. “Once people realize they have too much stuff, but don’t want just to throw it away, they call us.”

One enjoyable aspect of the business for Harrington and his staff is taking worn items and bringing them back to life. “One time we took a broken lamp and a silver-plated tray, painted it and turned it into a stylish birdbath. We also repainted an old dresser draw, cut off five old golf club heads, and made a unique hat rack.

“That’s the fun part of Remix. Looking at an item and asking yourself, ‘what can we turn this into’?” I periodically give my drivers a break from lugging and let them learn new skills by refurbishing.”

Beyond the fun and unique articles for sale, there is a preponderance of serious furniture that would enhance the beauty of any discerning homeowner’s abode.

To peruse Remix’s Facebook is to be impressed with the quality and volume of items for sale. Recently a solid wood rolltop desk in fine condition was going for $150; a similar new desk would sell over $2,000.

An all-metal wrought iron type five-piece patio set was priced at $139, a third less than a new purchase. And with its large showroom, social distancing is comfortable.

Join in
Another unique feature is tilted toward the Do-It-Yourself crowd. Customers who elect to purchase an item that needs some finishing touches can use space in Harrington’s workshop. “If they don’t have space at home or have a cluttered garage, they can do the work at Remix.”

He also offers classes on a variety of restoration projects. Recently, a session was held on how to work with the various paint products sold at the store. “It’s become a very creative community, in addition to the sales.”

“After people visit us, we often hear comments like ‘I didn’t know you were here. This is my new favorite place to shop for home furnishings.’

“We are trying to be a different kind of junk company. With the opening of Remix it has lowered the number of items we are taking to the landfill. The only thing going there now is truly trash,” said Harrington.

Remix Market is opened Monday through Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. To view numerous items for sale, visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/remixmarketwarrenton/?fref=tag


Published in a July 2020 edition of the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Shenandoah Summer Escape

Posted on Jun 23 2020 | By

In a time long, long ago—pre-COVID-19—getaways were predicated on finding time to escape. Today, that’s not so much an issue. Here’s a suggested getaway penned in the pre-pandemic era.    

Valley Life Beckons with Beauty, History, Pleasure

Shenandoah. The word falls softly on the ear, possessing a rich aural tone and conveying a sense of peaceful allure. It’s renown comes in identifying the Shenandoah Valley. Native Americans called the region “Daughter of the Stars.”

It’s fitting such a beautiful word bespeaks such a beautiful Valley. Travel the world, and people will knowingly nod at the sound of its name. “Ahh, the Shenandoah Valley. ‘Tis lovely.”

Indeed. And it belongs most closely to the citizens of Virginia. It’s our gift and reward for living in the Old Dominion. Yet how often do we visit this jewel that entrances so many? Not often enough. Summer is the time to deepen the embrace.

The Shenandoah Valley extends southwestward from Harpers Valley, West Virginia, encompassing nine counties in the Commonwealth for 150 miles and terminating at the James River. It is about 25 miles wide and centered by the Shenandoah River.

The main arterial highways are Interstate 81 and U.S. Route 11. The former speeds you through the Valley to destinations elsewhere, the latter gently slows your pace so you can explore more deeply the valley’s culture and history.

The Valley’s human history dates to 9,000 years ago and was later central to the expansion of our Nation from the early 1700s. Known as the breadbasket of the Confederacy during the Civil War, the fertile farmlands of the Shenandoah Valley provided abundant food to Southern soldiers and civilians.

Let’s Get Started
Choices abound on were to engage the Valley for an overnight stay. We are going to start in New Market and drive north to Woodstock, a mere 20 miles.

The cornucopia of things to see and do in this short distance reflects the Valley as a whole.

One could spend weeks exploring the length and breadth of the region.

The first decision is how to reach our starting destination of New Market. Consider avoiding Interstate 81 and rather travel from the eastern and northern parts of the state west through the towns of Warrenton and Luray.

You’ll delight in unmatched scenery and pass through the Shenandoah National Park before arriving at your destination.

From the south, travel U.S. Route 11 north, formerly known as the Valley Pike. The objective is to ease off the pedal and embrace the journey.
Our first stop of the day is the Virginia Museum of the Civil War just west of the town of New Market.

The dramatic-looking museum explores the Battle of New Market fought on May 15, 1864. Students from the Virginia Military Institute, some as young as 15-years- old, fought an intense battle here defeating Union Major General Franz Sigel. The 247 cadets were a pivotal force in the Confederate victory.

Allow at least two hours to view a movie, tour the extensive museum, and walk the grounds. A particularly touching part of the tour is the field of lost shoes. Many of the cadets lost their footwear during the battle in the freshly plowed soil that had turned to mud after heavy rains. Ten cadets were killed in the engagement.

Admission is $10, seniors $9 and youth ages 6-12 $6; wee ones are free.

Next is the Edinburgh Mill Museum, located 15 miles north of New Market as you continue on U.S. Route 11. The museum is the largest in Shenandoah County and is open year-round. It was a large grist mill built in 1848 and one of the few such structures that survived a military action known as “The Burning”.

In July 1864, General Ulysses Grant ordered his Army Chief of Staff Henry Halleck “to eat out Virginia clear and clean…so that crows flying over it for the balance of the season will have to carry their provender with them.”

For 13 days starting on September 26, 1864, General Philip Sheridan’s Union Army burned or destroyed over 2,000 barns and outbuildings and confiscated thousands of horses, cattle, and sheep. For generations, the Valley’s farmers would not forget nor forgive the destruction.

The mill was saved by a brave young woman who implored Union soldiers to spare it. Today it houses a collection of artifacts commemorating the role of Edinburg during the Civil War. Admission is $2.

By now, thoughts of history will begin to fade as your stomach becomes your docent, murmuring quietly, “Feed me.” Several eateries are awaiting five miles north in Woodstock. Two of particular interest are the Spring House Tavern and the Woodstock Brewhouse.

The tavern has been family-owned for 19 years and voted as having the best restaurant, bartender, steak, and burger in Woodstock. It has an impressive lineup of craft beers and is opened daily.

An alternative to lunch at the tavern is the Woodstock Brewhouse located one block off Main Street at 123 E. Court Street. The building is the former Casey Jones work clothes factory dating to the 1920s. It subsequently saw multiple uses over the decades.

A few years ago, it was updated to capture its storied past while serving as an upscale brewery. Painstaking efforts were made to bring the structure back to its original glory, keeping it as authentic to the original structure as possible.

The owners were devoted homebrewers before deciding to go commercial. Using favorite recipes developed over the years, their creative list of beers is among the best in the Valley.

If you are a Hop Head, consider ordering a pint of the Crow’s Provender IPA. Remember the story? It’s a delicious brew named in memory of the harsh Civil War legacy.

Excellent pub food serves as an accompaniment to the beer. Platters like Burgers—both meat and meatless—bratwurst, fish tacos, jerk chicken, the sexi-mexi pizza, and more grace its menu.

It is opened seven days a week with afternoon hours Monday through Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday service from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.

After lunch, enjoy a short but beautiful drive to the banks of the Shenandoah River to sit either inside or out at Muse Vineyards. The winery is located on a former 200-year-old Mennonite farm with an additional 30 acres of vineyards added to the property.

The boutique winery is owned by two overachievers, Robert Muse and Sally Cowal. Muse is an international lawyer and Cowal, a former United States ambassador. The husband and wife team reinforce the point that the Valley attracts successful people from all walks of life who settle in and work side-by-side local residents.

The talent brought to bear at Muse is reflected in its numerous award-winning wines, including a gold medal scored at the 2020 Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition for its cabernet franc bottling called Thalia.

At the End of the Day
Linger at the winery as long as you want because your next destination is just two miles down the road. The Inn at Narrow Passage is situated on five private acres along the Shenandoah River. For 30 years it provided hospitality and a history that dates to the earliest pioneers of the Valley.

Part of the property includes an original log cabin built in 1740 that offered shelter from Indian attacks for travelers on the Great Wagon Road at a dangerous section known as “narrow passage”. During the Civil War, Confederate General Stonewall Jackson made the cabin his headquarters in the Valley Campaign of 1862.

The Inn offers 12 guestrooms, including the log cottage, which accommodates six guests and has a swimming pool. A full breakfast is served daily between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m.

With the dinner hour looming, the proprietors of the Inn suggest heading back to the Edinburg Mill. The museum that you may have visited earlier in the day also has a restaurant serving American cuisine using seasonally available local ingredients.

The dining room speaks to the mill’s history, with low, wooden beams and old mill machinery decorating the walls and ceiling.

A shorter drive offers the opportunity to dine at one of the previously suggested lunch spots in Woodstock that you might have missed earlier in the day.

Heading home
After being fortified with a full breakfast the next morning, one could consider a leisurely drive home. But there is so much to see that additional recommendations spring to mind.

If you head north out of Woodstock, you may want to drop by the Filibuster Distillery in Maurertown. It opens at noon Thursday through Sunday, so a tight schedule may preclude a visit.

But if you slept in, consider stopping by the women and minority-owned business to sample their bourbon and rye whiskeys and gin. The company was started near Capitol Hill, thus its whimsical name.

If time permits, perhaps the perfect way to end your getaway is to head north for 32 miles to the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester.
The museum is dedicated to preserving and enriching the cultural life and heritage of the Valley.

It includes a house dating to the eighteenth century, six acres of impressive gardens, and a 50,000-square-foot museum featuring numerous exhibitions.

A permanent display of miniature houses and an expansive gallery exploring the history and decorative arts of the Shenandoah Valley is also included in the visit. Admission is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and children. You will not be disappointed.

As you finally head home, bear in mind your brief excursion to the Shenandoah Valley just lightly brushed the seemingly limitless things to see and do here.

Start planning your return today.

Touring from Home
If family or work commitments preclude an overnight stay in the Shenandoah Valley, here are some ideas for enjoying the Valley hearthside:

Shenandoah National Park. A beautifully filmed video sharing the history and activities within the park. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BFuJcxexSM Free.

Touring the Shenandoah Valley Backroads. A compilation of 13 driving tours in the Valley with the focus on historic homes. Armchair visitors will encounter numerous small towns and villages that bring the Valley’s past to life with detailed, fascinating auto tours showcasing the richness of the region’s history. Amazon.com $19.35.

Shenandoah Valley-style Barbeque Chicken. The Valley is legendary for its productive farms. Here’s a recipe that will let you “taste” the best the Valley has to offer. https://www.washingtonpost.com/recipes/shenandoah-valley-style-barbecue-chicken/15482/

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

BOOK REVIEW: Beyond Jefferson’s Vines

Posted on Jun 17 2020 | By

The Evolution of Quality Wine in Virginia
Third edition
By Richard G. Leahy

(300 pages, $19.99)

Just as the COVID-19 lockdown eases up, along comes an updated book guiding wine lovers to the best wineries in Virginia. Timing is, indeed, everything.

The Old Dominion’s vinous industry has been in economic freefall for the last two months. Tasting rooms have been shuttered across the state in the interest of public health. It’s unclear how many of the over 300 wineries will ultimately survive, but don’t bet against vintners whose passion for their art is renowned.

Richard Leahy is a knowledgeable wine maven who brings three decades of experience in observing the state’s wine scene. Whether a reader enjoys his treatise hearthside or on the road, it’s an informative and enjoyable book.

Wines and wine personalities come alive under Leahy’s keen eye for detail.

The book is divided mainly into three parts: The historical roots of the fermented grape in the Commonwealth, tours of numerous wineries, and a view of the industry’s expansion and future.

While Virginia lays claim to a 400-year history of winemaking, the reality is that much of that storied past was not very storied. Even Thomas Jefferson, the Nation’s first wine connoisseur, failed to grow and make palatable wine at Monticello.

Not until the 1970s did science and viniculture join forces to create what is today the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the country. Writing a book devoted mostly to the state’s modern era was a task of considerable effort.

“I’ve worked harder on this third edition than I did on the first one,” said Leahy. “It’s been five years since the last book. One hundred new wineries have appeared on the scene since 2015.”

To be sure he showcased the best performers, Leahy used the metric of wineries scoring only silver or gold medals in the Virginia Governor’s Cup wine competition. The competition is the premier annual wine judging event in the state. Silver medals must have been earned in the last three years and golds the previous four.

Readers will learn about 11 new artisanal wineries who have garnered solid reputations in the recent past, along with advice on how to tour our wine country. Any publication luring residents out of their living rooms and backyards is most welcome.

As they reopen, the wineries are working hard to provide safe venues with ample social distancing. A glass of quality wine enjoyed in either a limited seating tasting room or outside with expansive views of fields, lakes, and mountains is a proven vaccine against boredom.

Fauquier County
When Leahy discusses Fauquier County, he focuses on several well-known wineries, including Pearmund Cellars, Granite Heights, Delaplane Cellars, Boxwood Estate Winery, Linden Vineyards, and RdV Vineyards.

The county can make a legitimate claim as being the birthplace of the modern era of the state’s wine culture. The first commercial winery was Farfelu (now closed), whose vineyard was planted in 1967. It opened as a winery in 1975.

The former Piedmont Vineyards in northern Fauquier was the third winery established and is remembered as the first to plant the Chardonnay grape in Virginia. Until the early 1970s, only native and hybrid grapes were grown here.

The ability to successfully grow the beloved but temperamental Vitis vinifera species launched the state’s success. The species makes 99 percent of the world’s best wines; think Chardonnay, Viognier, Riesling, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and many more.

“Fauquier County was clearly at the center of the resurgence of Virginia wine in the modern era,” said Leahy.

The author notes with pride the forward of his third edition is written by the legendary Steven Spurrier, the British wine merchant who organized the Judgement of Paris, a blind wine tasting competition held in 1976.

The tasting pitted the United States against the best the French had to offer. Both a California Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon won first place, catapulting American wine onto the international stage. The movie Bottle Shock was based on the pivotal event.

Spurrier has stated that “My favorite North American wine region today is Virginia.” High praise from a worldwide expert.

The book also discusses the impact of climate change on the state’s industry. Bringing the point home was our recent spring freezes. Because of a warmer than normal winter, the vines experienced early bud break.

That scenario set the stage for cold snaps that can decimate vineyards in one chilling night. And that’s exactly what happened on two occasions to several unfortunate state wineries. If the trend continues, vineyard site selection and evaluating growing different types of grape varieties will assume greater importance.

Leahy notes that during the pandemic online sales of Virginia wine have increased. This trend is expected to continue even with the reopening of tasting rooms. Such sales often include discounts and free shipping.

But there’s no substitute for visiting small enterprises selling one of the most popular of social lubricants. Beyond Jefferson’s Vines will be a faithful companion for oenophiles as they return to both their favorite and soon-to-be-discovered new wineries.

Available at Amazon.com

Published June 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Hundreds of golfers flock to safe venue

Jimmy Mauro, the general manager of the South Wales Golf Course in Jeffersonton, has no experience as a hospital administrator. But after the rigors of trying to maintain a safe and “squeaky-clean” clubhouse and golf course during the COVID-19 crisis, he might have some relevant qualifications.

From early morning until the gates close at sunset, Mauro and his staff are cleaning, disinfecting, and making sure his customers practice social distancing.

Mauro is doing repeat duty at South Wales. He was the head pro back in the 1990s and a former member of the PGA. He is also a retired federal police officer.

“We are seeing a lot of players from around the region playing here since many courses are closed. I’m getting players from Northern Virginia, Maryland, and, of course, our loyal tri-county golfers,” said Mauro. “It’s gratifying.”

The governor has allowed Virginia golf courses to remain open. A typical course is up to 200 acres in size and groups of four or fewer are generally 150 yards or more away from each other.

Tommy Thompson owns the golf course. A third-generation home builder, his grandfather was a carpenter, and his father Ken was a professional builder as well.

Upon graduating high school, Thompson picked up a hammer and never looked back. Today, he owns Benchmark Homes, headquartered in Richmond. When asked how he is keeping the course operating, he said, “If it wasn’t for my staff, we wouldn’t be there. They are a very dedicated crew committed to serving the public.

“I do everything from afar since I live in Richmond. I talk to Jimmy two and three times a day to assess the situation. It’s not only Jimmy and the clubhouse employees, but our course superintendent, Johnny Smith, and his guys who are keeping the course looking great. It’s a total team effort,” Thompson said.

What’s different today from six weeks ago? Almost everything except the players’ handicaps. The changes start as you walk up the steps to the clubhouse.
A table outside the clubhouse displays the COVID-19-inspired course rules.

“We permit only one golfer at a time inside the clubhouse and in the restrooms. But that’s only the beginning of our COVID protocols. We sanitize each credit card and pen every time they are touched,” said Mauro.

The club serves no hot food. Only packaged candy, crackers, chips, soft drinks, and beer are available.

“All range balls are disinfected with Clorox and Dawn detergent after use,” Mauro said. “There are no water coolers on the course because we do not want players touching them. Ball washers have also been removed. I even sanitize the handrails as you walk up the steps to the pro shop,” he added.

One change most players readily embrace is six-inch sections of swimmer’s noodles that are placed in every hole on the greens. The blue foam inserts block putts from dropping into the hole, so if the ball just grazes the foam, it’s in. The flag pin is never touched.

When carts are returned after a round, everything a player touches is sanitized, including the floorboards.

Mauro said, “We intend to do everything we need to do to stay open. We are adhering to all state and federal guidelines for golf courses. All of these actions are for the health and safety of our guests. I also need to protect my employees too.”

When carts are available, it’s one player per cart. But due to the high volume of players, all the carts may be in play by mid-day, especially on weekends. In those situations, a player can walk or elect to ride with another player.

“I had 118 players last Sunday and only 34 carts, so it’s obvious, on occasion, we can’t always assign a cart to a single player,” Mauro said.

“The public is suffering from cabin fever. Almost everyone coming here thanks us for keeping the course open. Over 300 players a week are enjoying golfing in some of the nicest spring weather in years.”

Mauro said his rates are as competitive as most courses in the region. Weekday rates with a cart are $39; $44 on weekends. Seniors, law enforcement personal, veterans, first responders, women, and juniors pay $35 and $40 respectively.

The players
Mauro said that compliments on the course conditions have been numerous. “It’s the best shape it’s been in in years,” he said.
Indeed, it’s not hard to find players eager to share their take on the course and its conditions.

Ron Philips, a retired U.S. Army command sergeant major, lives in Haymarket. “I golfed the last three weeks here and have found everyone well-trained in the disinfection process. Jimmy is down-to-earth and takes care of your needs. The course is in good shape. It’s the only one I’m going to play until this thing clears up,” he said.

Ron Rosson, lives in Richardsville, Virginia and is an off-from-work machinist. He said, “The course has come back from a few years ago. It’s very playable today. The more you play it, the easier it becomes. The course staff is doing an excellent job.”

Jason Kidwell is the owner of Explore Kitchens and lives in Mclean. “My good friend went to Langley High School with me and now lives in Sperryville, so this is his home course. I’m out here because they have closed most of the Fairfax County park golf courses.

Once a week, I come out here to play with my buddy. South Wales is absolutely fantastic and has fast greens. It has one of the nicest staff I’ve encountered at any of the courses I’ve played,” he said.

South Wales’ general manager sums up his goal of staying open, “We want golfers to come out and get away from this terrible virus. We want them to relax for four or five hours and have a good time.”

Published April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Planning for the new normal

Posted on May 19 2020 | By

Business owners envision a different tomorrow

The Nation is in suspended animation due to COVID-19, but the American can-do spirit will prevail. The winds of positive change will ultimately billow the sails of the economic ship of state and move the country forward. But it will take time.

Here’s how four county businesses view the lockdown and recovery.

Claire’s at the Depot
Claire Lamborne owns her restaurant like Tiger Woods owns his swing. The eatery is part of her very core, and she will fight to make certain it endures. To that end, she will again reopen for curbside service.

Her curbside service was offered for a short time when the economy was first placed in lockdown. But managing a crowded staff in a tight kitchen led to her suspending it, to the disappointment of her loyal customers. Now she’s back.

While answers to many questions about the recovery process are yet to be answered, she will not wait until they are to revive an income stream. “My accountant doesn’t have answers to my questions, and I need to find a tax attorney,” said Lamborne.

“In the interim, I think we solved some issues with the carryout and will soon offer it again.”

Lamborne thinks she can work around the tight kitchen issues while keeping her staff safe. While she has 36 employees, only mostly kitchen staff will be brought back at first. She believes curbside service will last longer than some people think.

Lamborne said, “Before we were trying to do food hot and that became very difficult. This time we’ll be doing curbside meals that are cooked and ready for reheating at home with instructions on how to reheat.”

The new approach allows for preplanning menu selections and calming the previously busy kitchen scene.

Will Lamborne’s new world mean a delay in her retirement plans? “Oh, my gosh, yes! The value of my business has dropped, so now I plan to work till I’m 80-years-old. I’m healthy, so hopefully, I’ll be able to that.”

Her closing thought on when she does reopen is she won’t be able to accommodate as many diners as before. “I think there will still be social distancing. We’ll need to get those patio chairs and tables painted,” she said, laughing.

Great Meadow Foundation
John Hochheimer is chairman of the board of the Great Meadow Foundation. He said they have had to cancel or postpone several of their planned events. The largest one to date is Gold Cup. It has been rescheduled for June 20, assuming conditions permit.

Twilight Polo was supposed to start May 23, but the potential new start date is now June 13. “Honestly, all of our plans depend on what the Governor recommends and what the requirements will be once the stay-at-home policy is lifted,” said Hochheimer.

“Our revenue is down some 20 to 25 percent.” He underscores the foundation is hurting because the delayed events are the core of their revenue. Nonetheless, the staff of seven is still working, and the gates are open.

“People are welcome to come out to Great Meadow and walk the grounds and exercise their dogs individually and in small groups. It’s largely a wait and see situation.” Fortunately, much of what was unfolding at the spacious outdoor venue was just ramping up.

Rescheduling the more significant events later in the year will save many of the season’s activities.

Several smaller events, like the National Rocket Contest, will be rolled over to next year’s schedule. Most of the cancelations are based simply on the unknown. Groups need to plan weeks or months in advance. Not knowing how the future will unfold leads to cancellations.

“We’ll continue to update our website when things are rescheduled. And we do welcome visitors to come out and enjoy the grounds. But I ask that people clean up after themselves and their pets,” said Hochheimer.

Fauquier Springs Country Club
Shawn Rogers is the general manager of the venerable club that was established in 1957. It has about 325 members. The facility has a restaurant, pool, tennis courts, and a golf course. While the restaurant is closed it is offering carryout service.

“One of the major complications we have seen throughout this situation are the protocols we’ve had to put into place to keep our club going. The Virginia Department of Health has been fantastic as to what we needed to implement.

“The Governor has allowed us to keep the golf course open, and our number of rounds are up. Every cart is sterilized before it goes out, and only one golfer per cart is allowed. We’ve removed the sand-divot containers from the carts and anything else a player might touch.

Players are not allowed to touch or remove the flag pin during play.” Rogers said.

The club’s most substantial revenue producers are its banquet and event operations. “We have been severely hurt in those areas. A lot of weddings and special events have been rescheduled. In March and April, we lost $150,000 in revenue. Every day this goes on, we are at risk of losing even more.”

Rogers thinks the country club will survive without difficulty for two to three months. After that, it will become more problematic. “Right now, we’re OK. But not as OK as we should be.”

Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce
Joe Martin has no medical degree, nor does he carry a black medical bag and a stethoscope. Still, he knows the pulse and temperature of the Fauquier County business community.

For over a decade, Martin has served as the president of the Fauquier County Chamber of Commerce. He has successfully guided the organization’s 530 members through robust economic growth. Today, he’s a whirling dervish working to keep his “family” safe from harm.

“We have a weekly conference call with numerous regional leadership organizations strategizing on how to address the critical issues facing us. I’m also on Zoom calls daily with local, state, and federal agencies for the same purpose.

“The communication outreach across these dozens of organizations has been phenomenal. One minor but important aspect of all of this is we’ll be using these communication technologies from here on out,” said Martin.

To focus on real-world concerns and seek advice from chamber members and their guests, a monthly virtual luncheon is hosted by Martin, where attendees go “around the screen” and share successes, struggles and challenges. It’s an opportunity for one story to answer dozens of questions.

Martin finds it reassuring in such stressed times that most of the groups and individuals he’s interacting with generally have a positive feeling about the future. But the pain experienced by small businesses is of particular concern to him.

The downturn will end, and Martin, in concert with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, is working on a recovery plan to help make it happen.

Martin muses, “The recovery is not going to spring back overnight. It will be a slow and methodical process of likely a year or more. Yes, there will be pent up demand, but it will not be an explosive recovery. But it will happen. Staying focused and positive is key.”

Published April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

County wineries struggle to survive

Posted on Apr 27 2020 | By

Industry in free fall as economy vaporizes

If ever there was a time to buy a bottle of Virginia wine, it’s now.

After 40 years of robust growth, the 26 winery owners in Fauquier County and some 275 statewide are faced with a make-it-or-lose-it scenario that will unfold over the next several months due to COVID-19.

The emotional and financial pain facing these small business owners is reflective of millions of other businesses nationwide. But envisioning a vibrant sector of the local economy going up in smoke is almost unimaginable, given where they were two months ago.

“We will not grow grapes or make wine this year,” said Brian Roeder, owner of Barrel Oak Winery in Delaplane. “I think we are going to lose at least half of the wineries in Virginia, probably more.”

He will block fruit production of his healthy vines by pulling the flowers on the young buds.

Roeder thinks it’s not just “hobby” or boutique wineries at risk, but at least 20 percent of the serious businesses that produce large case volumes for sale to individuals, wine shops, and restaurants.

On March 10, Roeder realized it was going to be a monumental challenge to survive the financial hit his business had taken and initiated a plan to remain viable.

He terminated the employment of all 60 of his employees. Some have offered to assist him gratis during the crisis. “We have a wonderful group of people here,” he said.

Not wishing to encourage his customers to leave their homes, he has not taken advantage of pickup bottle sales permitted by Virginia, but rather is selling wine at a 20 percent discount and offering free shipment. It’s “the deepest discounts we’ve ever offered.”

It’s challenging to square Roeder’s usually optimistic view with his take on the current situation. “I believe we are going to be in an economic depression within months, and it will probably last years,” he predicted.

An analogy he shares with business associates and the county leadership is, “The U.S. economy was a dragster headed down the track at 200 mph when it was thrown into reverse, blowing the engine and transmission but not deploying the chute.

“I’m going to have to tear my business apart, everything I’ve spent years to build, simply to find a way to exist,” he said.

Jim Law is the proprietor of Linden Vineyards in Linden.

All of his sales were to people visiting the winery and to restaurants; almost all those sales have ceased. But what has been a positive surprise for him is, “the number of people calling us and ordering wine, which we ship. I did not expect that.”

These are loyal customers who understand the hardship he is facing, he said.

Like Roeder, Law does not offer bottle sales onsite. Since social distancing has been put in place, guests are not allowed on his property. He said, “We are taking the whole isolation thing very seriously. We do not want to contribute to getting people out of their houses.

“I am not speculating as to how this will ultimately unfold, but when things do open up, it will look very different than before. We will likely restart with reservation-only visits, so we can control the number of people coming out here. Social distancing will continue to be an issue, and we want to control that.”

On another sobering note, Law observed that because of the recent mild winter, bud break is occurring earlier than in previous years. That has the potential of setting up a dreaded frost scenario.

If a hard freeze hits before the final frost date of May 10, it could decimate the grape crop, literally nipping it in the bud.

Luke Kilyk, owner of Granite Heights Winery in Warrenton, echoes the assessments of his fellow vintners. “It has been devastating for us, and I think every winery across the board is seeing that devastation. Our business is down by at least 75 percent.

He said, “We do not host weddings and other large events, but for those who do, they will have to face those realities too.”

Kilyk also observed that now more than ever, wineries will need to focus on quality wine because that’s what will drive consumer purchases, not entertainment and events.

His winery has a carryout sales system in place as allowed by law. Customers order by phone or email, and upon arrival at the winery, an employee walks out and places the paid order in the trunk of the vehicle to maintain social distancing.

Kilyk has a successful law practice in Warrenton and said, “If it weren’t for my primary income, I would be in dire, dire straits. My law firm is what is holding the winery together.”

He too opines if a debilitating frost occurs because of the mild winter, money will be needed to protect his vines, an investment he will be forced to make to save his business.

Chris Pearmund, the owner of five wine businesses, including his eponymous Pearmund Cellars in Broad Run, said, “To survive we are doing a lot of creative marketing and outreach to our customers.

As a result, we are hurting, but doing better than expected.
“But, if we do not do creative things, we will die.”

Among his tools are $100 gift cards selling for $80. All of his wines that have won gold medals are selling for $25 a bottle. Given that a wine bottle holds 25 ounces, he promotes the sale as “selling gold for a dollar an ounce.”

To further enhance his “gold sales,” he includes free shipping.
He has laid off close to 100 part-time employees, keeping only managers on the payroll.

To survive, Pearmund underscored the need to stay in touch with his customers and continue to be creative in maintaining close relationships.

One timely product he produces is a high-end organic hand sanitizer. It costs $45 a gallon to make, and he gifts a bottle to his customers and business clients.

Pearmund quoted Audrey Hepburn invoking where he is philosophically today, “To plant a garden is to believe in spring.” To that end, last week, he planted one thousand grapevines and 107 trees at his Broad Run winery.

Published in March 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

County businesses tack into the wind

Posted on Apr 27 2020 | By

With recovery in limbo surviving in place prevails

With over 1,900 businesses in Fauquier County, there are likely 1,900 stories of how to survive the current coronavirus landscape. Entrepreneurs build companies employing educated risks. Those critical skills are now being used to carve out their futures.

The challenge is to assess business threats when even tea leaves are not much help. Nonetheless, a can-do spirit ranging from locking down and protecting assets to ferreting out new revenue streams is now in play.

Salon Lou
Salon Lou is an upscale Warrenton hair salon owned and operated by Lori Nicholson. Nicholson spent over a dozen years, and multiple career starts before realizing her long-held dream of owning a salon. It opened in 2015 and has been a success from her first cut.

Today the shop is shuttered, and her 15 employees laid off. Nicholson said, “It’s almost surreal for my team and me. We were all in shock for the first two weeks. In the third week, we said, ‘OK, what are we going to do with ourselves?’”

Maintaining esprit de corps was foremost, so conducting virtual cooking classes with her employees helped soften the blow of not being able to man scissors, dye, and hair dryers. “It’s been a lot of fun.”

The downtime has also been devoted to virtual online training classes to maintain and enhance hair treatment skills and support professional educations. “A major industry show was canceled, so a lot of my stylists are taking classes online.”

Her furloughed employees have applied for unemployment. The process is frustrating and time consuming because millions of unemployed are tackling the same problem. “I’ve had to help some of my employees get it,” Nicholson said.

She has had a lot of clients call and ask if she could come and do their hair. Unfortunately, state licensing laws and insurance companies will not permit most hair styling to be performed off-premise.

More importantly, she does not want to take the chance of infecting the community or her employees by going off-site. When the economy does open up, she thinks, “We will be bombarded. Clients want professional hair jobs. They do not want to cut and color at home.”

It’s also going to change how her employees will interact with customers. “We can’t do our job six feet away. We’ll probably end up wearing gloves and face masks. Everybody will be scared of going back into the workforce.

“Currently, I can sustain my business for two to three months. After that, it’s going to be questionable,” Nicholson opined.

Piedmont Press & Graphics
Tony and Holly Tedeschi own Piedmont Press & Graphics. The couple has over 50 years of print and design experience backed by the perspective on how to survive cyclical business swings.

The current bleak landscape could be their ultimate challenge in navigating a turbulent economy.

Tony Tedeschi said, “My company is still open because we were declared an essential service because we produce mailings and signage, both important to the economy. But we’ve lost work on promotional materials for concerts, festivals and equine events.

“Losing business like the Gold Cup was hard because it’s one of our bigger jobs of the year. I would estimate our business is down 60 percent.” The drop in revenues occurred almost overnight.

Tedeschi was already preparing for a recession, which he thought was overdue. He learned a lot by surviving the 2008 recession, so he was better prepared by saving money, both corporate and personal. Their first move as owners was to stop taking paychecks.

He also asked his employees to shift to a 32-hour workweek, essentially taking a 20 percent reduction in pay. “We have enough money to go a couple of months, keeping our 15 employees working.” He has an unused line of credit and has applied for the Paycheck Protection Program, which is a loan for small businesses.

It’s a forgivable loan, as long as 75 percent of it goes to the paychecks of the employees as well as their health care benefits.
If he is approved for the loan, it will give him an additional 75 days of relief.

With all his planning in place, he thinks he is a long way from bankruptcy. He also is in the process of creating some new products and is poised to spend money on marketing.

“Where you make your money is when you come out of a downturn. We want to be ready when that day comes. I’m not panicked about the situation. It’s going to be bad and painful, but people are doing their best to pull together and survive.”

Regeti’s Photography
Amy Regeti manages her family’s Warrenton business that has, “Pretty much been set on pause. We are solely devoted to photographing weddings, and all our clients are postponing their plans. That will have a domino effect going into the 2021 season.”

The effect of postponing weddings to the following year is to block valuable dates that would have gone to new business.

Regeti said, “It limits what we can take on. We service about 25 weddings a year, all of that that has pretty much jumped to later in the year.

That business will likely jump again, dependent on the timing of the economic recovery. “I would be surprised if we shoot even one wedding this year.

“A lot of our clients are shifting dates because they do not want to hold a wedding and a reception with everyone wearing masks. It’s not how they want to remember their special occasion.”

The family business is a full-time job, but her husband does some work for the federal government. He has been able to retain his security clearance and continues to work, providing much-needed family income.

Home Sweet Home Improvements

Tom and Dawn Wotton’s Bealeton company is a design, build, and remodeling firm with four full-time employees.

One of the first actions Tom Wotton took after social distancing was implemented was to reach out to past elderly clients and see how they were faring. Often that resulted in face masks being delivered to the individuals for their protection.

His business is still operating and has about a three-month backlog of work; only a few of his current client’s projects slowed down. Nonetheless, fresh leads have stopped.

When on-site, his crew quarantines off a section of the home that is being remodeled and works with hand sanitizers, gloves, safety glasses, and face masks. CDC guidance materials for home construction crews are included in the company’s regular safety talks.

Some of his suppliers and subcontractors initially wanted to stop residential work, and Wotton told them his clients were OK with proceeding and gained the cooperation of the vendors.

Wotton said, “Yes, we are feeling an impact of what’s going on. There are two fronts in play here. First, there are the health and safety issues, and we are managing that part of it. Secondly, there is the financial front. If we can produce, we need to continue to produce. It’s that simple.”

Published in April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Local farmers: now more than ever

Posted on Apr 26 2020 | By

County agriculture showcasing value to community

There are about 1,100 farms in Fauquier County with more than 200,000 acres of farmland. The value of local land stewards to a growing number of back-to-the farm shoppers has been highlighted by COVID-19.

When grocery stores shelves begin to look bare, consumers cast about for alternative sources. In Fauquier County, that’s often just a few miles away.

Jimmy and Ronnie Messick are co-owners of Messick’s Farm Market in Bealeton. They are third-generation farmers and own 1,000 acres of farmland over three separate properties in southern Fauquier County.

In addition to the seven-day-a-week farm market, the brothers have 330 milk cows, 250 of which are daily milkers. In addition, 800 acres are devoted to grain growing: corn, soybean, and wheat. Jimmy Messick manages the farm and market; Ronnie Messick oversees the cattle operation.

The market carries local artisanal goods like handmade pasta, pastured meats, and even skincare products. For those who come hungry, there is a made-to-order deli counter for sandwiches and prepared salads and an ice cream stand.

“Our business is up 300 percent in the last few weeks,” says Jimmy Messick. “When the coronavirus hit, we were able to maintain most of our local suppliers of eggs, milk, bread, and other products. We had items the grocery stores didn’t. That resulted in a big jump in sales. But I wish my success was for a different reason.”

Today, the grocery stores are beginning to do a better job of stocking shelves, but the Messicks continue to benefit from the change in buying habits that were established during the early days of the pandemic.

Jimmy Messick said, “Our curbside sales are now more than half of what we are selling daily.” Like some restaurants, wineries and other businesses, their farm market has switched to an entirely new way to sell groceries. Customers call orders in, make payment and stop by later and pick up the order, either inside or outside the store.

During busy times, like lunch hour when the deli is active, the market staff asks that only one member per family enter the store. “We try to maintain the ‘ten customers at time thing.’ We wear gloves and are regularly sanitizing carts and surface areas throughout the store,” said Messick.

He reflected on what the “new normal” will be like when the governor’s stay-at-home is lifted. “We have lots and lots and lots of new people who are coming in who we’ve never seen before. It’s done more to expand our customer base than anything before this.”

Locust Hill Farm is a 2,200-acre family farm operated by Del. Mike Webert (R-18th) and owned by his grandmother. It’s located in the northern part of the county. The farm tills about 1,000 acres of grain and raises 120 beef cattle.

The farm sells beef both online and increasingly, through home deliveries. “Beef orders have taken off. When local folks see no beef in the grocery stores, they call me and order home delivery,” said Webert.

One downside to his business is the cancellation of some stockyard sales that previously attracted large groups of sellers and buyers. Additionally, his wife is a graphics designer that produced catalogs for livestock sales, generating significant springtime income.

His overall income is down slightly, but will come back when the economy reenergizes, he believes. Weber thinks that fruit and vegetable growers, and cattlemen like himself, will see a permanent change in buying habits.

“I think this is an opportunity for local agriculture to showcase what we do. It’s no longer just a niche agritourism business. People are not going to call the farmer for just weekend sales. They are coming out to purchase food for regular consumption,” Webert said.

Currently, it’s a mixed blessing, but overall Webert sees it as a positive development, both for him and other farmers.

Dennis Pearson is a fellow cattleman who owns Soldier’s Hill Angus Farm located near Fauquier Springs. He runs a 500-acre beef farm with a 160 head of cattle. He echoed Webert’s perception that there are pluses and minuses, but in general, the current stressed economy has been a good thing for cattlemen.

He said, “I have a freezer meat trade on my farm, and those sales have increased. On the other hand, the stockyards have been shut down for a couple of weeks and that has had a short-term negative impact on my sales.

“The Virginia Beef Expo was canceled, and I had cows in that sale. But I’m absolutely seeing an increase in consumer buying. I think people realize they have to have more storage at home. I also think there’s probably been an increase in the sale of freezers too. This year it has been very easy for me to sell all the products that I produce.”

Kenny Smith works the milking side of the cattle business with 17 employees milking 891 cows, the largest herd in the region. Rather than direct sales to consumers, he sells his milk to a large cooperative that services 950 dairy farms in a five-state area.

He notes that the co-op only has so much throughput, and that has been constrained because its packaging lines for half-pint containers destined to schools have been shut down. Those lines cannot be used to fill gallon jugs.

Plants are running 24 hours a day and are 30 percent over-capacity.
Smith said, “The current situation has not harmed Cool Lawn Farm. Our employees are healthy and stay at home when not working. One bright spot is families are reuniting again and enjoying each other’s company.”

He admitted, “One thing I do miss is Friday night date nights with my wife and friends. We miss the interaction.”
Mel and Kevin Powers own Powers Farm & Brewery in Midland. The 21-acre farm has nine acres devoted to growing some 40 different fruits and vegetables.

The products are sold through its community-supported agriculture program whereby customers buy shares and receive various fresh produce throughout the growing season based on specific agreements.

It’s anticipated this business will do well once the growing season begins. “More people are signing up, and I think I’m going to reach my goal soon. I’m always excited when people get excited about vegetables,” Mel Powers said, laughing.

The brewery was opened in 2017 and the venue has shut down due to the law forbidding any on-site consumption. Sales of beer are now made through glass and can growlers; 32-ounce containers that customers pickup outside the brewery after making a prepaid purchase online.

Unfortunately, growler cans are in short supply. “They are like toilet paper, said Mel Powers. “But, we expect a new shipment arriving shortly.” The Powers also have partnered with Whiffletree Farm to distribute their beer using the farm’s distribution system.

The overall business has been somewhat down, but Kevin Powers has not run the numbers yet. “The really important thing is we’ve had to shift from an on-premise to a to-go business.

“The hyper-local support we’ve gotten has been awesome. The people who live within five to 10 miles are helping us keep the lights on. It’s been great,” said Kevin Powers.

Published April 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Doggedly pursuing wellness

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Hungry Like a Woof centered on holistic veterinarian care and pet food

From personal loss sprang commitment. From commitment emerged dedication. From dedication rose the gift of healthy pets bestowed on Fauquier County.

The thread of success was straightforward but it was ultimately compassion driven by passion that led to the opening of a whimsically named veterinary clinic and wholesome pet food shop in November 2015.

Hungry Like the Woof recently celebrated its fourth anniversary and its reputation for providing quality pet care and food is firmly established. The force behind the successful enterprise is Ann Griffith, who in concert veterinarian Dr. Carol Lundquist, created a unique business that responds to today’s consumer interest in authenticity.

The story began over four years ago when one of Griffith’s two collies was diagnosed with lymphoma. In the course of seeking treatment for her beloved pet, Allie, her veterinarian oncologist strongly suggested Griffith seek concurrent medical care from a holistic veterinarian. Enter Dr. Lundquist.

Allie ultimately succumbed to her disease but the gentle care and nutritious diet she received no doubt helped her emotionally during the final months of life. Shortly thereafter the two women began talking about a mutual business opportunity centered on holistic pet care. The relationship morphed into a friendship and then on to a new business.

So, how did it get its name? “I’m a child of the 80s and loved the group Duran Duran,” says Griffith. “Hungry Like the Wolf was one of their big hits. We were trying to think of a clever name for the business that was dog-related.” The British new wave band provided the answer.

Griffith is employed full-time as a consultant in the financial services industry so the daily face of the pet food segment of her business is store manager Kristin Dowell.

Dowell is managing a business with robust growth potential. Consider there are 90 million dogs and 94 million cats in the United States today. Couple those numbers with an estimated $75 billion that will be spent this year within the pet industry and it’s a ticket to success.

Moreover, millennials continue to be the largest pet-owning demographic. The market is substantial and growth will only accelerate in the years ahead.

The business
When you walk through the doors of Hungry Like the Woof, located at 147 Alexandria Pike, #203, you’ll encounter three separate entities.

To the right is the veterinary clinic that is run by Dr. Lundquist. It’s called the Singing Stones Wellness Centre. It is holistic centric providing acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, and physical therapy for small animals and horses.

In the center of the store is the pet food shop. The idea for organic pet food was driven in part by tainted food coming out of China. As far back as 2007, the Food and Drug Administration learned that certain pet foods were sickening and killing cats and dogs. It was found that contaminants in vegetable proteins imported into the U.S. from China and used in pet food were the cause.

The store sells an assortment of holistic food and treats to help pets maintain optimum health. Dr. Lundquist hand-picks all of the products, assuring the shelves and freezers are stocked with the highest quality brands. Herbal supplements and toys are also available.

Are there real benefits to holistic pet food as opposed to what’s widely sold in grocery stores? Store manager Dowell says, “When people eat healthily, they feel better and it’s the same for animals.

“If you feed your pet a healthy diet, it’s also going to help financially in the long run because you’ll have fewer trips to the veterinarian.”

The third segment of the store is devoted to training and conditioning. The sizable training room is covered with special flooring that enables dogs to grip and maneuver without slipping. The training segment of the business works with professional dog trainers and obedience instructors who come on-site to conduct classes. Both private and group classes are offered.

Group classes in puppy training and traditional obedience run 50 minutes per session for six to seven weeks, depending on what’s being taught. Dowell underscores that owners actively participate in training and must use and reinforce what they’ve learned in the class to assure their dog fully benefits. “You don’t train the dog as much as you train the owner,” she emphasizes.

Additionally, there are courses in conformation training for show dogs learning to comport themselves in the ring. And interestingly, there are even courses in “nose work”, or skills employed in tracking.

The training room is also available for lease. “We’ve had wine glass painting lessons, a Halloween party, yoga classes, and more. It’s good to make the room available to the community. It gives them space they might not find elsewhere,” said Griffith.

The spirited entrepreneur is grateful for how Fauquier County has responded to her love of animals and their well-being. “We are thrilled to be in Warrenton. We love our clients. It’s a great group of loyal people who come here. I hope we’ve helped them and their pets.”

For a peek at the comprehensive services and products available from this caring Warrenton “Woof Pack”, drop by https://www.hungrylikethewoof.com/

Published in a November 2019 edition the Fauquier Times.

Categories : HAGARTY TALES

Restoring faith in humanity

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Habitat ReStore shaping current & future lives

Buy a sofa to help a family. Sounds like a comfy proposition for both parties, eh?

In fact, it’s not just a sofa that makes the magic work. Gently used refrigerators, home furnishings, electrical supplies, plumbing items, windows, doors, kitchen cabinets and a variety of appliances, large and small, all contribute to making lives more rewarding.

This fair market exchange works because of the legendary non-profit organization Habitat for Humanity, founded in 1976. Habitat has helped more than four million people construct, rehabilitate or preserve more than 800,000 homes worldwide since its inception.

It is the largest not-for-profit builder in the world and its success is touching lives even here in Fauquier County. While donations fund much of the institution’s operating revenue, its unique retail outlets, known as Habitat ReStores, also funnel dollars into local affiliates tasked with building homes.

And less one thinks Habitat dwellings are gifted to people gratis, rethink the idea.

Habitat applicants must be willing to attend required workshops on successful homeownership, live in the neighborhood where their home is being built, contribute at least 400 hours of sweat equity towards its construction and cover the home’s mortgage and other monthly expenses.

It takes big bootstraps to slip into the American dream. Nonetheless, qualified applicants jump at the opportunity if it is afforded them.

But donations and a homeowner’s commitment alone do not raise the roof and that’s where ReStore plugs the gap. While there are nearly 900 Restores in the United States, they are not ubiquitous to all communities.

Fauquier County is fortunate to have one since the dual purpose of funding Habitat homes while providing quality used merchandise to our citizens is a double win for the community.

Restore locally
Unlike typical retail stores where merchandise is standardized from month-to-month, Habitat’s home improvement selections will vary from day to day, even hour to hour. Why? Because its “merchandise managers” are the local citizens supplying the store on a steady-stream basis.

What you don’t find at 10 a.m. might well be on sale at 3 p.m. Turnover is rapid and the “Whatdathink they’ll have on sale today” proposition makes it a fun place to shop.

“When you first walk into the store, you’re going to get bombarded by our furniture selections. There are tons of furniture for sale. Something we put on the floor in the morning will be gone later in the day,” said Georgianna Granillo.

Granillo is the store’s director and heads up a paid staff of six full-time and part-time employees. The crew is augmented by some 22 part-time volunteers who circulate in and out of the store throughout its five-day a week schedule. The store is closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Further highlighting the contributions to the county, on occasion individuals who have had minor run-ins with the law will be given the opportunity to work off community service sentences at the store.

Granillo has overseen the store’s operations for almost five years, joining the Habitat team one year after the store opened in 2012.  She gained her retail experience working for several big box stores in the region.

“I’m very happy to be here. It makes me wish I had jumped into the Restore job a long time ago. Working with the staff, volunteers, customers and donors makes me feel really great,” she said.

One of the other satisfying things about managing the store is the recycling concept it thrives on. Items brought in that are deemed acceptable and end up on the showroom floor typically have years of use left in them.

Granillo explains a lot of the donated items might well have been headed for a landfill and unnecessarily destroyed when they could see a continued productive life. ReStore offers a second life to such quality items.

“I feel really good about that. It makes me feel ‘Green’. In addition, all those items are bringing in money to support our mission,” she explained.

Pricing on merchandise is based on condition and quality. Popular living room furniture typically ranges from $50 to $250. “However, we had one high-end leather sofa set that was in excellent condition and originally sold for over $2,000. That one sold for $700,” she said. “But that was on the really high side of our pricing.”

There are items the store does not accept: unframed mirrors or glass, appliances over 12 years old, used mattresses, box springs, clothing, toys, baby furniture, and dishware.

Safety issues and possible manufacturers’ recall dictate whether certain items are not accepted. “We don’t want to transfer something to a home and have it hurt someone,” she said.

One popular feature of Restore is donor pickups. The store has a dedicated truck that operates four days a week throughout most of Fauquier County, and at times beyond, based on the size and quality of the payload.

A typical run will include five to six stops a day. Donors simply contact the store and set up a convenient time for the truck to swing by and relieve them of quality but no longer needed items.

The service is particularly beneficial when a refurbishing project leaves a homeowner with furniture or appliances hoping to find a new abode.

As a result of the work and love produced at the Warrenton Restore, Fauquier Habitat for Humanity builds one or two homes a year for those in need. Make your contribution to the effort by stopping by and purchasing a useful home product.

The ReStore is located at 617 Frost Avenue in the Food Lion shopping center. For store hours and more visit https://www.fauquierhabitat.org/restore/restore.html

Published in 2019 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

The sporting life

Posted on Apr 25 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

National Sporting Library & Museum dedicated to bucolic pursuits

The first thing you are drawn to is the life-size statue of a riderless horse in military saddlery, head hung low in exhaustion, eyes closed.

It stands majestically in front of a Middleburg library and museum and is a unique and intriguing study in contemplation.

It also represents in a broader sense what is at the heart of Fauquier County and the Nation: the sporting life.

The statue beckons the visitor like the North Star. It’s titled War Horse and is the first piece of art you’ll encounter before entering the internationally known facility.

Awaiting your visit are 21,00 other items of art, statuary, rare books, and more.

The statue was commissioned by the late Paul Mellon and represents the 1.5 million horses and mules who gave their lives during the Civil War for both the Blue and Gray; animals that are inherently and ironically peace-loving.

The bronze work springs from the hands of one of Britain’s leading animal sculptors, Tessa Pullan. The forlorn equine compels one to stop and gaze at the level of detail and poignancy that emanates from the art.

From the reins hanging from its head and lying on the ground, to a scabbarded sword on its saddle and its right rear hoof barely touching the ground, it’s emblematic of what you are about to experience.

Books, sculpture, and art that makes one pause reflect and admire.
Welcome to the National Sporting Library Museum.

The NSLM was founded in 1954 as the National Sporting Library by George L. Ohrstrom, Sr., and Alexander Mackay-Smith and sits on six acres in the village of Middleburg.

Ohrstrom was an avid fox hunter, president of the Orange County Hunt, and a breeder of thoroughbred and steeplechase horses.

Mackay-Smith was an author, horseman, and visionary leader who passionately promoted equestrian sports during the last century.

Together the two men gifted future generations the joy of all things field, forest, and stream.

Executive director’s dream
Today the museum and library are under the leadership of Elizabeth Von Hassell.

Von Hassell could be considered to the manor born for the position, a description she would quickly demur.

She was born in Winchester, raised in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, and from the age of 16, attended schools in Virginia.  Later she purchased a small farm in Clarke County with her family.

Field sports have always been part of her life. She grew up horseback riding, fox hunting, fishing, and shooting with her father and held an appreciation for the art and literature associated with those sports.

“I have the ultimate dream job. It is an honor for me to work with our team and board of directors here at the museum,” she says. “I’ve always thought it a privilege to live in the Piedmont.

I have a deep-rooted desire to protect our countryside because it’s essential to the viability of the sports we represent at the museum.”
Von Hassell’s resume reflects what she brings to the organization she leads.

After graduating from college, she worked in a variety of jobs unknowingly leading to her dream position.

Marketing, strategic planning, public relations, and similar positions in the corporate world of Madison Avenue, including a stint with a major pharmaceutical firm, led her to accept a job close to her heart: director of development at James Madison’s historic home, Montpelier.

The home sits on 2,650 pristine acres but like all land today was exposed to potential commercial and residential development.

“I worked diligently in making sure a large portion of that estate would be placed in a conservation easement. The effort was successful. Today, 2,000 of those acres are protected from growth in perpetuity,” says Von Hassell.

The portfolio
NSLM comprises two buildings on its property. One is a fieldstone country home that houses an extensive library. The second is a series of attractively connected brick buildings where the museum is located.

The grounds are surrounded by mature trees and landscaping creating a university campus-like setting as you walk the grounds.

In addition to the War Horse statue, other outdoor sculptures such as a fox, horse, and colt set the stage for what the visitor will experience within.

The library is unique in that it contains the largest collection of traditional sporting literature in the world. There are over 7,000 volumes of rare books dating from as early as the 1500s.

Subjects run the gambit from angling, horsemanship, shooting, wildlife, coaching, and numerous other subjects related to the out of doors. There is even a volume on dueling.

Unlike conventional libraries, scholars and interested visitors can arrange to peruse the collection but cannot take the volumes off-site given the rarity of the books and their often-priceless value.

The general public can arrange special tours in advance.
The museum contains over 800 pieces of artwork, statuary, and decorative art.

“It is without a doubt an absolute gem of a collection,” observes Von Hassell. Be prepared to spend some time as you walk through the museum. The collection draws a visitor in, almost demanding contemplation, as many scenes are of outdoor life in action.

Typical libraries and museums present collections to be viewed in a hushed environment. While this is true of the NSLM, it is just one of its many strengths.

It has an active calendar that seeks to make its programs an integral part of the local community.

Numerous events such as art classes, presentations, lectures, live concerts, and involvement with local schools place an emphasis on learning through participation.

Recently internationally known artist Andre Potter held a standing room only discussion on his new art book. He will return soon to teach a masters drawing class. “He is one of the absolute best contemporary artists alive today,” says Von Hassell.

Every Wednesday a gallery talk is held showcasing traveling exhibitions, new acquisitions, or permanent collection pieces. Each talk is original and not repeated. Reservations are not required and admission is free.

Recent exhibitions included a presentation by artist Paul Brown on pencil, pen and brush art, a roundtable discussion on African-American jockeys, a glass sculpture class held by artist Joan Danziger, and an equine sculpture workshop
Increasing membership is an important goal for the organization. Student memberships are $25 and adults $50, making it very affordable compared to other museums. “I think the cost is reflective of how committed we are to the local community.”

The NSLM is opened Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission to the museum is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and youth. Children under 12 are free. Library admission is also free.

To make the facility as widely available as possible, SNAP and EBT cardholders are admitted at no charge.
After a tour of the library and museum consider shopping and dining in Middleburg
The village dates to 1787 and has many upscale shops and restaurants that will round out your day’s activities.

For an in-depth look at the programs, exhibitions and classes available at the National Sporting Library and Museum visit its website at http://www.nationalsporting.org/

Published in the Fall 2019 edition of inFauquier magazine.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

Note: This article was published before COVID-19.

Marshall hair emporium goes full service

There’s an average of 150,000 hairs quietly growing on a guy’s head. Multiply that by 22, and it’s the about the number of hairs Kristy Haase snips each day. Toss in two more stylists, and some 6.6 million strands are cascading to the floor of her popular shop each day.

That helps explains in part why Haase is doubling the size of her hair displacement factory, now located at 4199 Winchester Road, Suite G, in Marshall.
But it’s not just haircuts that have driven the expansion of the locks trimming shop.

On Saturday, February 29, the business will double in size when it moves next door from its current location and begins offering a host of new services.
Look for high-pressure tanning beds (reduces tan time from 20 to 14 minutes).

In fact, given the surge in vitamin D deficiency today, some health experts posit that periodic light tans are the most natural way to boost levels of the much-needed sunshine vitamin.

In addition, organic spray tanning, hair coloring, facial waxing of eyebrows, lips, and chins, professional massages, and an increased emphasis on women’s hairstyling are also newly available services.

What she had formerly created was a unique barbershop catering to men but also serving women. “About 90 percent of my customers are guys. But the men would tell their wives what we do. When the women came in, they didn’t see old barbers in overalls cutting hair,” said Haase chuckling.

What they did see is a shop staffed with experienced women and one man who knows hair from the roots up. At any given time, one would see Haase and one or two of her staff of four cutting or shaving while chatting away with their clients. Rock music played in the background and friendly banter echoed around the shop.

“I wanted a shop that was modern but with a relaxed atmosphere. That’s why I went with a rock music theme. I’m originally from Cleveland, which is the home of rock and roll, and I thought it was a cool idea to create a shop called Rock-N-Barbers.

“I started cutting hair back in 2001. I picked up a solid male following. I enjoy cutting men’s hair. I’m not too fond of doing coloring or permanents.”

In addition to custom haircuts, the guys get to choose their favorite rock genre from Amazon’s Alexa that stands poised to play classic rock or whatever rock music desired. None of the old formats will change with the expansion of the business.

Now more than hair
Her original concept was to focus on men’s hair. But to grow the business, the fairer sex needed a bit more attention. What created the opportunity to expand was the unexpected availability of a salon next door to her current shop.

Last August, the owners decided to move and vacated the space. It had a massage room, break room, quality bathrooms, and an upscale retail desk in the front.

Haase quickly realized taking Rock-N-Barbers to the next level was a two-step sideways move. Plans she had harbored for years crystallized in a heartbeat. The serendipitous availability of the 1,250 square foot space cinched the deal, and she spent three months writing a business plan to make it all happen.

In addition to further custom finishing the shop, Haase has hired an exceptionally talented hairstylist, Leslie Townsend.
“In addition to strictly cutting women’s hair, she’ll also be in charge of training the staff. She’ll be my go-to women’s hairstylist,” says Haase.

A massage therapist was brought on board too, Kerry Doheny, who arrives with her bona fides in place. She worked at a high-end salon in Tyson’s Corner that charges $185 an hour. Rest assured, you will not find that price tag on any of Haase’s new offerings.

Doheny will offer at least 10 different massages, including Swedish, sports, and cup massages ranging in length from 30 to 90-minutes.

In addition to a massage table, there will be a massage chair in front of the shop where quick 15-minute rubdowns can refresh and recharge stress-laden clients.

“Even a 15-minute session can be therapeutic and perfect for healing or preventing injuries,” says Haase.

Another new hire will be a receptionist who will staff the appointment desk and keep the shop looking as sharp as one of its freshly trimmed clients.

So what are some of the trends in men’s hair today? For sure, all manner of beards and goatees are fashionable.

“The younger guys also like cuts that are short on the sides and long on the top with parts. Before, it was a bit of a spiky look. Now, they want a smoother appearance. In fact, some younger guys are asking for perms because of their long hair on the top,” Haase observes.

She says that older men with thinning hair are increasingly going for a clean, super trimmed buzz cut. “The comb over is definitely out.”

Haase is excited and animated about her latest career shift. “I think the shop is going to do really well. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s all coming together. I think our customers are going to like all the new services we’ll be offering.”

And if it gets a bit hectic for the energetic owner, she can always slip into the massage chair and let her tensions flutter to the floor, along with all those snipped hairs.

For the full cut on Rock-N-Barbers, its services, hours and scheduling appointments visit https://www.rock-n-barbers.com/ , or call (540) 364-8133.

Published March 2020 in the Fauquier Times.

Categories : WINE ARTICLES

For the love of the cut

Posted on Apr 13 2020 | By

Note: This article was published before COVID-19

A dream fulfilled at Salon Lou

Lori Nicholson loves making beautiful. Always has always will. Nonetheless, it took a dozen years and multiple short careers before she locked down on what her heart had been telling her all along.

Today, a legion of fans is thankful—and looking great—that she found her way out of passionless jobs and onto the stage of beauty.

Since the age of 18, she had wanted to pursue a cosmetology career, but her father felt otherwise as parents are often wont to do. His vision was “Nurse Lori” and very reluctantly she went off to nursing school at age 20.

“I became a nurse but never did anything with it and subsequently majored in computer information systems in college,” says Nicholson.

“I then went to flight attendant school, opened my own home inspection business, did real estate appraisals, helped take a company public, and other jobs along the way. None of which I pursued.”

By her late 20s, she came to the realization she could not shake her passion for hairstyling. It was not only the artistry of professional haircare that attracted her but the gift of confidence and pleasure she could bestow on women and men seeking to look their best.

After a dozen years and seemingly a dozen false starts, lightning struck. “I sat down one day and asked myself what did I really want to do? I came back to my original desire to do hair. I said, ‘I’m going to do this.’”

For the next four and a half years, she learned the art and skill of hair care at two Warrenton hairstylist shops. Slowly the idea of opening her own salon began to crystalize. She envisioned what a client would seek in such a venue.

“I wanted a beautiful place with certified and well-trained hairstylists educated in their craft and devoted to ongoing education to maintain and build skills, and having no pretensions in dealing with clients.” She chose the name Salon Lou because her nickname was Lou Lou.

To bankroll her dream, she withdrew savings, sold stock, and bet the farm on her long-held dream. She located an attractive retail space at 147 Alexandria Pike, Suite 102, and began building it out as a high-end salon.

The realization she had invested everything in her vision scared her. The Sunday before her Monday opening four and half years ago, two clients knocked on the door of the salon eager to make appointments.

“They said they had to make their appointments right away even before we opened the business. I said to myself, ‘Yep, we are going to be just fine.’”

Weeks after the opening, the salon was still receiving congratulatory bouquets of flowers from clients thrilled she had opened her own business. There was no marketing of the salon. Word of mouth drove the company forward.

“The response was incredible. People were so happy for us. I would go home at night and cry with joy at the success of the opening.”

Staff & Trends
Today the salon is staffed by 14 stylists with decades of cumulated experience. As she envisioned, her team continually updates their skills by participating in classes and workshops and attending salon shows learning about the latest hair products, tools, and equipment.

Nicholson says women’s hairstyles today are trending back to the 70s and 80s. “Women are going back to dressing their hair by curling or using products to enhance texture.” It’s no longer just letting hair fall naturally and doing nothing with it. In the past, natural curls were straightened but today she sees clients who want their hair treated to create curls
“Big hair is back,” a trend she sees as continuing and accelerating.

Men’s styles are also changing. Facial hair continues to increase in popularity. Formerly there was less grooming of beards and goatees. Now clients are using conditioning products and mustache waxes.

Hairstyles have gone from old school banker to a more relaxed look. Among younger men, there is an emerging interest in modified mullets. The cut is a hairstyle that was popular in the 80s; short on the front and sides and left long at the back. What goes around comes around.

In addition to hairstyling, the salon offers all manner of nails, lashes, tinting, and waxing services. Prices range from $37 to $50 for men’s haircuts and $125 for women’s cut and color treatments. The full monty can go as high as $500 for that seriously special occasion.

As proof of the success of Nicholson’s dream, the appointment books for her and her experienced male stylist alone are booked into January. But with her depth of staff, walk-ins are accommodated wherever possible.

Further proof of the shop’s success? In 2016, Virginia Living Magazine voted it the #1 Northern Virginia salon.

After years of searching for what she wanted in a career, Nicholson has found it. “I am so proud of what I have created here. But I couldn’t have done it without my team. I’m proud of everyone here”, she says.

“And I’m so grateful for the way the community has supported us.”

For a guided tour of all things Salon Lou, visit http://www.salonlou.com/

Published December 2019 edition in the Fauquier Times,

Categories : HAGARTY TALES