Welcome to The Buttery

A new eatery opens in historic Millwood

By Claire Stuart 

What do you picture when you hear the word “buttery?” A rich confection? A building on a farm where butter is made or kept? Actually, in the middle ages it was a storeroom under a monastery where food and drink were kept to provision guests and passing travelers, and liquor was stored in barrels or “butts.” Many 
colleges, particularly in 
the United Kingdom, call their eating places butteries.

The Buttery is the name of a new eatery in Millwood next door to Locke Store in the historic log building built in 1804 as a storehouse for the workers of Burwell-Morgan Mill.

Locke Store was built in 1836 and has been in continuous operation ever since, although for most of its life it was a simple country grocery. Its metamorphosis began in 2002 when it was purchased by Juliet Mackay-Smith, then a caterer with a passion for natural, locally-grown food. She had planned to operate the store as a sideline to off-site catering. The store grew as she added the deli with pickup lunches and dinners, baked goods and a huge selection of wines, ciders and craft beers, with complementary tastings on weekends. The “modern country” store with its fresh, natural and sustainably-produced food soon became a destination.

Shauna and Brian Volmrich recently joined Mackay-Smith as partners, and launched The Buttery. The Volmriches come to the business with extensive backgrounds in the hospitality industry, he as a chef and she as an innkeeper. To see Brian in tee shirt and baseball cap, you might assume he is a local farmer (which he is), but appearances can be deceiving. He is a chef with years of experience in high-end restaurants, including L’Auberge Provencale in Boyce and the multi-award-winning Inn at Little Washington. 

With The Buttery, Shauna and Brian are following their dream. They are committed to serving the finest, freshest foods from local farms. They are proud to tell you where the food comes from, and their menus feature the names of their farmer suppliers. On this particular day, Brian was awaiting a delivery of beef from nearby Audley Farm. The Volmriches themselves have 26 acres in Rappahannock County where they raise chickens and bees (along with two children and pets, including a bearded dragon), and they plan to grow lettuce and other produce to serve the restaurant. 

“We source local as much as possible,” Shauna reports.

The store and restaurant are separate, but most of the staff is shared by the two businesses as needed. Adam Steudler is head chef for the restaurant and Ellie McMillen is head chef for the store. The Buttery’s menu is small and changes with the seasons and availability of 
local food. 

“I like to do a few things and do them well,” Brian declares, putting in a plug for his own popovers with local honey.

The menus for the store and the restaurant are different. “But,” says Brian, “one carryover from the deli is the chicken pot pie. We try to cross-utilize food, such as our cheese boards. If you like a particular cheese on our board, you can get it from the deli.”

“The menu is not meant to feature full dinners,” says Shauna. “This is a place where people can relax and share plates in a 
communal space. “

Highlighting the menu are boards meant to be shared: the Creamery Board with artisan cheeses, the Pasture Board with cured meats , and the Sea Board with cured and smoked fish.

There is no full bar, but fine wines, craft beer and cider are served. A limited number of cocktails are available, including Bloody Marys and Mimosas for brunch. There are special seasonal cocktails, some made with local rum, local bitters and other local ingredients. Condiments used in the cocktails are on hand in the store. 

Presently The Buttery is open Thursdays and Fridays for dinner and Sunday for brunch. “We want to expand to luncheons for private parties and corporate events,” says Brian. “We’re even looking at cooking classes and off-property 
chef events.”

“Brian goes to homes and does private curated dinners,” adds Shauna.

Remaining weekdays and Saturdays are reserved for The Buttery’s own events such as wine or beer pairing dinners or may be rented out. Private gatherings may buy lunch from the store to eat inside or on the patio or can be catered.

The Buttery’s atmosphere is warm and comfortable, with exposed log walls, a welcoming fireplace and communal tables hewn from local barn wood. The restaurant seats about 40 and the new patio up to about 50. For hardy souls who love to eat outdoors even in cold weather, heaters will allow the patio to stay open most of the year, and folks can gather around the huge fire table where Brian even envisions making s’mores. The patio is available for all Locke Store customers outside of the restaurant’s hours.

The Buttery

Thursdays and Fridays 5–9pm 
Sunday brunch 10am–2pm
540-837-1275
Lockestore.com/thebuttery

After the Apples Fall from the Trees

Yum Yum: Apple Cider Vinegar

by JiJi Russell

As an apple lover from way back, I’ve always felt partial to apple cider vinegar among all vinegar options. Tangy-sour, with a hint of apple juice, ACV has many uses in personal care, from dental, skin, hair and scalp, to combating toenail fungus. But most cosmetic claims for ACV have little research to back them up, so I’ll focus on a few culinary recommendations, mostly for the taste and nutritional boost of it.

First off, what is ACV?

ACV is a fermented food, made from the juice of apples (preferably organic), with yeast added, which breaks down the sugars and turns them into alcohol. Then bacteria are added, typically acetobacter, which converts the alcohol into acetic acid. The bacteria, also known as “the mother,” acts as a catalyst and provides a cloudy appearance. It might appear as strands of translucent shapes floating in the vinegar. Natural foods experts and nutritionists say that maintaining “the mother” within the vinegar provides a more nutrient-rich product than straining them out. According to The World’s Healthiest Foods compendium, “Potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and calcium are some of the minerals that remain in the vinegar when it is produced 
this way.”  

In the ancient practice of Ayurveda, a health system that serves as a sister science to yoga, the “sour” taste provides one of the six tastes essential to balanced eating, and ACV offers an easy entry point to sour. Ancient wisdom goes that if you compose a meal that includes all six tastes, you will be fully satisfied and energetically balanced. (The other “tastes” are salty, pungent, bitter, astringent, and sweet.) While the ancients knew little to nothing about the nutrient profile of foods, a meal that includes all six tastes often results in a nutritionally balanced meal. 

The Salad Days

ACV plus oil can provide a simple and infinitely customizable base for salad dressing. Think French vinaigrette: one to two tablespoons ACV; 1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard; 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/2 shallot, finely chopped; salt and pepper to taste. Some people might like to add a small amount of honey (one to two teaspoons) to the recipe to mellow the sour taste (from the ACV) and the pungent taste (from the shallot). Shake up your concoction, and enjoy! You can also try infusing some herbs in the dressing. When I do this, with say, a stalk of fresh rosemary, I run the dressing through a strainer as I spoon it onto my salad. Ditto for straining out raw shallots or garlic. The dressing will retain the flavor without the strong bits included. 

Marinades or Bone Broth, Anyone?

The internet abounds with ACV-laced marinades for meats. Outside of its addition of flavor, vinegar can serve as a meat tenderizer. Do an internet search for apple cider vinegar marinade, and 
you’ll come up with loads of options. One vinegar producer, De Nigris, offers one of the best-sounding marinades I found (disclaimer: have 
not yet tried it), along with cider vinegar barbecue sauce, “vodka sippers,” and 
more. Find the recipes at www.denigris1889.com. And if you’re a fan of bone broth, add a tablespoon or two of ACV to your stock pot the 
next time you gently boil bones for bone broth. The acid helps pull out the minerals, 
and provides a rich flavor. 

DIY Buttermilk

If you ever have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, 
but not quite the whole quart that you’d need to buy off the shelf, you can easily make your own substitute with 
ACV. Simply mix one tablespoon of ACV with a cup of milk. Let the mixture stand at room temperature for 
5-10 minutes. Then use it as you would real buttermilk. For the lactose intolerant (or sensitive) among us: vegan buttermilk can be made by mixing the same portions of ACV with a cup of your choice of non-dairy milk 
(almond, oat, hemp, etc.). You might notice little curdled bits in the mixture; throw those into your recipe, too! 

Find ACV in Clarke

Visit the Oakhart Farm Store to find not only ACV, but olive oil, a plethora of spices you can mix into your marinades, and of course local meats and veggies (oakhartfarm.com for location and hours). Martin’s also sells ACV. When possible purchase a variety that contains “the mother” bacteria, for a greater nutritional profile. 

Fire Cider Tonic: Recipe by Nancy Polo, Smith Meadows Farm

This medicinal tonic can be helpful during cold and flu season. It can be added to broth, tea, water, or another beverage. One to two teaspoons goes a long way. Nancy offers her top three uses for the tonic: at the onset of cold symptoms; for a vitamin C boost; at the end of a heavy women’s cycle.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh grated orange and 
    blue turmeric*
  • 1.5 cups fresh grated ginger
  • 3 lemons’ zest and juice
  • 10 cloves garlic
  • .5 cup chopped onion
  • .125 cup ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry thyme
  • 32 ounces apple cider vinegar 
    with the mother
  • honey to taste after a month of steeping

Macerate the ingredients and place them into the vinegar in a jar with a lid. Steep mixture for a month in cool, dark place, shaking the jar daily. Strain off liquid through a sieve before using.

*Fresh turmeric might be available at one of our local farm stores. If you cannot find it there, FoodMaxx in Winchester has the orange variety fresh; you can use that instead of a mixture of orange and blue.

Against All Odds

The Nats, The Eagles, The American Game

By Matthew Bass

Let’s relive that amazing season and the World Series victory locals have waited so long to get. It’s wrapped in a little of our local history, too.

The Washington Nationals’ accomplishment this year symbolizes how sports are a unique and compelling part of the American experience. In late May, at 19–31 through their first 50 games, they were dead in the water. Oddsmakers gave them a 1.5 percent chance of winning the World Series. There was talk of firing manager Davey Martinez and trading away big names like Max Scherzer. Then, following a few savvy additions of veteran role players like Gerardo “Baby Shark” Parra, former National Asdrubal Cabrera, and reliever Daniel Hudson, the Nats finally got healthy and went on a historic roll, blazing their way to a World Series championship.

There will be articles deservedly written about the exceptional statistics and records this team compiled en route to their ultimate victory. About how they were the best team offensively from the seventh inning on, or how no team had won four games on the road to win a seven game series. In any sport. Ever

For those who followed the Nats through the doldrums of April and May, and witnessed their subsequent transformation, the exceptional 
statistics were a byproduct 
of something more special. Sure, there are stars on the team: Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Anthony Rendon (maybe the most underrated and definitely the most relaxed star in the game), and young phenom Juan Soto. But as this team battled into a wild card spot, coming from behind to beat the Brewers in the wild card game, then defeating the powerhouse Dodgers in five games, and sweeping a good Cardinals team before they matched up against the best team in baseball, a feeling that had been growing steadily all season manifested itself before our eyes. That feeling can and will be described in all the appropriate sports clichés: there’s no “I” in team, the name on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back, and so on. 

And cliché and overused though these sayings are, they should remind us about the values that sports instill in our collective conscience. Nowhere else in the world do kids from all backgrounds have the opportunity to play such a variety of sports through so many levels — from recreational leagues to travel teams to high school, college and beyond.

Baseball was my number one sport (among others) growing up. And from Little League through high school ball, nothing could imitate the feeling of running out of the dugout with “CC” on our hats and “Eagles” emblazoned on our jerseys. I was fortunate to be a part of two Eagles teams that made deep runs into the State playoffs in the spring of 2000 and 2001. As an anecdotal aside, our 2001 playoff run included a victory over a highly touted pitcher from Goochland High School — his name was Justin Verlander. You might recognize him for his two losses to the Nationals in the World Series this year. He is undeniably a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, one of the greatest pitchers of his generation. Just not that night in Goochland in 2001, 
when our Eagles, behind a masterful performance from Jonathan Larrick, defeated him 1-0, ending his high school career. But that’s a story for another day.

There are individual heroes in sports. In this playoff run, one can point to a number of them for the Nationals. There were Scherzer’s gutsy, not-quite-100 percent performances; huge hits by Soto, Rendon, 
Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton; and “Mr. Nat” Ryan Zimmerman. The National’s first pick 
after moving to D.C. in 2005, and a Virginia boy who played at UVA, he hit the first home run in 
National’s Park, and then the first in the World Series off the Astros’ unhittable ace Gerrit Cole. 

Then, of course, there is World Series MVP Stephen Strasburg, with nothing short of a dominant postseason, including two epic performances in the World Series. Perhaps Strasburg (coincidentally, Strasburg High School was our archrival in 2000-2001) best exemplifies the transformation of this team from a talented group with big names on the backs of their jerseys to a true team in 
every sense of the word. In his earlier days, Strasburg was famously standoffish, isolative, and seemingly a bit of a lone wolf in the clubhouse. He would be shaken by an error behind him, obviously bothered by a call he didn’t get, appeared to glower in the dugout. But not this year, and not this fall. He battled, they battled. And they won. Strasburg smiled. That’s what makes this Nats team so special. 

Among many lessons learned in sports competition, it teaches the joy of success and the agony of failure and defeat, self-sacrifice, teamwork, hard work, pain, fight, heart, a belief that you’re never out of it until the last out is made, the final buzzer sounds, the clock runs out, and the proverbial fat lady sings. This Nationals team demonstrated that time and again by coming from behind in all of their elimination games this postseason — the Wild Card game, Game 5 at the Dodgers, and ultimately in Game 7 of the World Series. From dancing in the dugout, to Scherzer and Strasburg staring down one of the most potent offenses in baseball, to Anthony Rendon calmly picking up his buddy Trea Turner after a controversial umpiring call (you know the one!) by hitting a massive two-run homerun to alter the course of Game 6, you never felt that this team was out of the fight. Sure, they were down, but they weren’t out.

And that’s the point. When the game is about more than the individuals playing it, that’s when greatness happens. Our Eagles baseball team was lucky enough to experience that feeling firsthand in 2000-2001, but that experience is shared almost every day across towns, cities, counties, and states throughout our country. And that’s what makes sports special in America. It’s the belief that when you come together and play for each other, not for yourself, but for your team, for your community, for a greater purpose, you can overcome any obstacle, no matter the odds. 

That’s how you go from 19-31 to a World Series championship. How appropriate it is in a month when our national divisions will be highlighted by every news media outlet across the nation that the Washington Nationals demonstrate the core American 
ethos that belief in each 
other and never giving up can result in greatness. It is moments like this, though they may happen in a game played by children, that should remind us all that even in divisive times like these we can, 
and will, overcome. Against 
all odds. 

“Miss Ruth” F. Loughborough: A Changing of the Guard At Berryville Farm Supply

By Stephen Willingham

As a newly minted high school graduate, Ruth Franklin Loughborough, affectionately, “Miss Ruth” to all who know her, joined the staff of The Berryville Farm Supply, located next to the Norfolk, Western, and Southern railroad line that bisects East Main Street of Berryville from the rest of the town. Her first day at work was June 7, 1957.

“I was just looking for a place to work,” Loughborough told Clarke in an interview. “Heavens no!” she chuckled. “I never planned to stay 
62 years.” 

Loughborough, now 80, readily agrees with the adage, “Time flies when you’re having fun; even when you’re not.” At a time when most people can expect to have multiple jobs and even careers in a lifetime, Loughborough’s work experience brightly shines as a highly unique one. 

“It just worked out for me,” she continued.

Loughborough explained that she grew up on a farm in the Marvin Chapel area of Clarke County. Subsequently, going to work in a feed and seed supply business was a line of work that she already knew something about. 

“You have to like people,” Loughborough responded, when asked about her formula for success in keeping the doors open to a business that now stretches back more than 96 years. “The most important thing is to be interested in what it is you’re doing,” she added. 

The business was originally owned and operated by Henry “Boss” Baker as Baker’s Feed and Grain Store in about 1923, according to the childhood recollections of Bill Shackleford in the commemorative book, Berryville Celebrates 1798-1998, marking the town’s bicentennial. Following Baker’s tenure, a variety of owners operated Farm Supply before it was purchased by Washington, D.C. developer, and championship racehorse breeder, Milton Ritzenberg of North Hill Farm, who owned it until his death in 1999. (Loughborough’s husband, Richard, a racehorse breeder in his own right, also worked at the business for 
a time.)

In a small business such as Farm Supply, Loughborough indicated a person can’t afford be too “choosy” about whatever job one might have to step up to and perform at any given moment during the course of a normal day’s operation. She said she was hired for “bookkeeping and sales”, but ended up doing any and everything else that might need “doing” at a moments notice. 

For example, Jesse Russell, a native Clarke County resident, recalls the many times he bought large sacks of birdseed at Farm Supply. He maintains that in spite of ardent protestations, Miss Ruth always insisted on picking up the order and carrying it out to the car herself. He also remembers one of the several cats who made their home at Farm Supply, especially the one that preferred to curl up and sleep at the end of the counter where business was being transacted, oblivious and unconcerned about the normal, mercantile commotion going on around it. 

According to Katie Thompson, who has been employed at Farm Supply for the last 15 years, “It’s a laid-back, down-to-earth place to work.” 

Thompson says that she has always enjoyed working with Miss Ruth, “because she is easy going and always in a good mood.” This might seem to be an uncharacteristic trait for what is normally expected from a boss, but it is an attitude tracing back to Loughborough’s first rule for success, “You’ve got to like people.” 

As it was with Loughborough, Thompson feels right at home at Farm Supply, at least partly due to the fact that she raised animals as 4-H projects on her parents’ “place” that “wasn’t really a working farm,” she insisted. Nonetheless, Thompson says that she has always enjoyed working in the agriculture-related field, and finds the job more rewarding and personally a better fit than other places where she has previously been employed.

Farm Supply has lately been advertised for sale, and Thompson is hoping that any new owner will elect to keep the business, “just the way it is,” since it already enjoys an established customer base. 

Loughborough, who unfortunately injured a knee in a recent fall, is by all reports, including her own, recovering nicely, but has decided that, “It’s time to let somebody else to take care of things.” 

She is looking forward to devoting more time to Marvin Chapel Methodist Church, a congregation that she has attended since, “My mother carried me in there in a blanket.” 

Loughborough dismisses being labeled a “local icon” because of her association with Farm Supply for the last 62 years. “The world isn’t built around any one person,” she emphatically asserts. 

As she moves into another phase of her life, Loughborough wanted to offer a special thanks to her loyal customers, “for their years of commitment and business.” Loughborough explains that customers have indeed been the ones who have changed the most over the years. “There aren’t as many farmers in Clarke County now as there used to be,” she observed.

Meditations On Wild Grapes

As the Crow Flies

Story and image by Doug Pifer

I appreciate wild grapes.

In the spring an ancient wild grapevine was covered with pale green blossoms. It grew along the fence behind the house where we lived in Clarke County, Virginia. We always knew when it was in bloom by the heavy fragrance of its grape-scented, frothy flower clusters. We gathered multitudes of black mulberries from the tree it climbed upon, but that old vine never yielded a single grape. A similar venerable grapevine covers a white mulberry tree behind our barn in West Virginia. It yields neither blossoms nor grapes. 

Scent from the spring blossoms is but a foretaste of the heady perfume from wild grapes that permeates the woods from September to November. Henry David Thoreau, premier philosopher- naturalist-writer of Concord, Massachusetts, loved the scent of wild grapes. In 1858 he wrote: 

“I have paddled far down the stream, three or four miles below the town . . . when the whole river was scented with them. I love to bring some home if only to scent my chamber with them, for they are more admirable for their fragrance than their flavor. “

Our native grape species have descriptive common names. Biggest and sweetest are round-leafed grapes, also called muscadines or scuppernongs. I need a botanist’s help to identify fox, riverbank, summer, frost, sand, winter, possum, and frost grapes. Furthermore, they hybridize with 
each other.

We planted Concord grape vines on the fence when we moved here four years ago. This September they yielded sweet, fragrant fruit. Named for Thoreau’s beloved birthplace, Concord is the quintessential American juice and jelly grape, bred from native vines.

Unlike the wine and table grapes that come from Europe, Concord has been selectively bred in America from our wild fox grape, Vitis labrusca. This gives it fragrant musky overtones which Robert Beverley, in his History of Virginia, describes as “a rank taste when ripe, resembling the musk of a fox, from whence they are called fox grapes.” Viniculturists used to scorn our “foxy” American wines. But grafting the roots of native American grapevines to those of European wine grapes has enabled fine wine grapes to be grown throughout the northeastern USA, to the great benefit of our many 
local wineries.

When I drew this cluster of wild grapes in Morgan County, West Virginia, I was fascinated by the powdery “bloom” that coated every grape. It was easily rubbed off, revealing a fruit so dark as to be nearly black. Ever the wild grape enthusiast, Thoreau praised this bloom as:

“. . . a thin Elysian veil cast over it, through which it can be viewed. It is breathed upon it by the artist, and thereafter his work is not to be touched without injury. It is the handle by which the imagination grasps it.”

He continues, “Is not the bloom on fruits equivalent to that blue veil of air which distance gives to many objects, as to mountains in the horizon? The very mountains, blue and purple as they are, have a bloom on them.”

The sage of Concord, Thoreau was also the poet laureate of the wild grape.

Berryville Beat November ’19

Happy November, Berryville! We find ourselves smack in the middle of the holiday season and, as we wind down the year, thought you might enjoy hearing an update on some initiatives our Town Council-led committees are working on.

Budget & Finance Committee

Chair: Erecka Gibson (Council Member, Ward 3)
Members: Mayor Patricia Dickinson, Kara Rodriguez (Council Member, Ward 4)
Meetings: 4th Thursday of the month at 10:30 a.m.

The Budget & Finance Committee has wrapped up its work on an online payment system for our utility customers. We hope to unveil this payment option for our water and sewer customers in early 2020. The committee is in the very preliminary stages of considering a long-term financial sustainability plan, and also recently previewed some budgeting software that will likely come up during the fiscal year 2021 budget deliberations. The full Town Council will meet for its first budget work session, a goal-setting session, on Wednesday, Nov. 13, beginning 
at 1 p.m.

Community Development Committee

Chair: Kara Rodriguez
Members: Donna McDonald (Council Member, Ward 1), Diane Harrison (Council Member, Ward 2)
Meetings: 4th Monday at 2 p.m.

The Community Development Committee has its eyes on a branding and marketing study it hopes to kick off in the coming months. The committee is finalizing a scope of work, which will first focus on the marketing study if approved by the council. We are also finishing up our recommendations on changes to the joint town/county Economic Development Memorandum 
of Understanding.

Streets & Utilities Committee

Chair: Diane Harrison
Members: Mayor Patricia Dickinson
Meetings: 4th Tuesday at 10:30 a.m.

The committee is continuing work on the stormwater studies, and that work will continue into next year. We are also looking at street signage so we have a uniform standard going forward and budgeting over the next few years for bringing current signage into that standard. Finally, the committee is also looking at town lighting with the new LED bulbs that are replacing the current bulbs when they expire.

Personnel, Appointments and Policy Committee

Chair: Recorder Jay Arnold
Members: Erecka Gibson, Kara Rodriguez
Meetings: 4th Tuesday at 9 a.m.

The Personnel Committee continues to meet with candidates for the town’s boards, committees and commissions, and makes recommendations on appointments to the full Town Council. We are also reviewing some changes to the Employee Handbook and at the request of a council member are taking another look at our Social Media Policy.

Public Safety Committee

Chair: Donna McDonald
Members: Diane Harrison, Mayor Patricia Dickinson
Meetings: 4th Wednesday of every other month at 2 p.m.

The committee has wrapped up its work on Chapter 20 of the Town Code, which regulates special events, parades, demonstrations, and more in town. Those changes were voted on and endorsed by the full council at our October meeting. We are continuing to look at changes to our trash and recycling program. 

All of our meetings are held in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center and are open to the public. Please check the berryvilleva.gov website for meeting times and agendas. Our committee meeting schedule may be tweaked in the final two months of the year due 
to holidays.

This monthly column is authored by the members of the Berryville Town Council. For more information on town government, including meetings, agendas, and contact information for the Town Council and town staff, visit www.berryvilleva.gov.

Chris Shipe Named Veteran Of The Year

The “Berryville-Clarke County Veteran of the Year” award is given to local veterans who exemplify the tradition of the citizen soldier, whose dedication to the nation and their communities does not end when their military service is complete. The 2019 recipient is Chris Shipe.

After graduating from Bloomburg University of Pennsylvania in 1983, Chris Shipe served in the U.S. Army from 1983 to 1987. Stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, and in Germany, he served with the elite 2nd Armored Division whose motto is “Hell on Wheels.”

For most of his professional career, Shipe has worked with mutual insurance companies in Pennsylvania, Iowa, West Virginia, and Virginia, where he was directly involved in the leadership and governance of cooperatives. In 2003, he was named president and CEO of Loudoun Mutual 
Insurance Company. 

Chris Shipe and his wife 
Diane live in Berryville, where he has served in various capacities on insurance cooperative boards and industry 
committees, including as the chairman of the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies’ Property Casualty Conference. Shipe serves on the Rappahannock Electric 
Cooperative board of directors and is currently its president.

Shipe, 58, has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 16-years old. He continues to run calls, serving Berryville and Clarke County residents as a volunteer with the John H. Enders Fire and Rescue Company. He has been Enders president for 10 years. In his spare time Shipe enjoys restoring old fire engines.

Shipe is also a lay leader and chairman of the Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church Administrative Council. A talented musician, he is an active member and vice president of the Clarke County Community Band. He supports many local community 
organizations through service and financial contribution.

Previous “Berryville-Clarke County Veteran of the Year” recipients are Norman deV. Morrison (2015), the late John F. Harris (2016), Michael L. Linster (2017), and Robert A. Freebee (2018). Their names are  on a perpetual plaque located in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center. Chris Shipe’s name will be added to the plaque.

VDOT Fields Concerns, Presents Route 9 Project Mitigation Plan for Clarke County

By Rebecca Maynard

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) approved last month a town of Hillsboro plan that will temporarily divert some Route 9 traffic to Clarke County roads, causing concern for many residents that increased traffic will mean increased problems in the county, particularly during rush hour.

The plan calls for Route 9 to be closed on weekdays during construction, other than a single eastbound lane which will be open from 4–9am to allow morning rush-hour traffic to move through town. One westbound lane will be open from 3pm on Fridays to 5pm on Sundays. For up to 60 non-consecutive days over the project’s 14-month timeline, the highway will remain closed through the town all day.

The approved plan will install two roundabouts on either end of the town of Hillsboro in western Loudoun County, build sidewalks, and bury utility lines. According to a town statement, VDOT’s approval of the traffic plan was based on data-driven analyses and recommendations made by it and the town’s traffic experts.

All community members were invited to a public information session on October 29 in the Berryville-Clarke County Government Center, where VDOT engineer Ed Carter gave a talk about a mitigation plan designed specifically for Clarke County. He welcomed questions and concerns from residents. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Tony Roper attended.

The VDOT plan for Clarke County is based on current data analysis. Construction may begin by the end of this year, but detours and road closings affecting Clarke County will likely not begin until spring. Carter presented the following components of the mitigation plan.

Increased law enforcement: Speeding is a major concern with existing traffic. It is anticipated that instances of speeding will be amplified with the increased traffic from the detour. Funds have been approved for dedicated law enforcement along the detour route during the construction phase of the project.

Signal modifications for U.S. 340 & Va. 7 intersection: Both left turn movements from U.S. 340 south onto Va. 7 east and U.S. 340 north onto Va. 7 west will be upgraded to “flashing yellow” operation. This will allow left-turning vehicles to proceed after yielding to oncoming traffic when the oncoming traffic has a green signal indication. The three signals will have equipment installed establishing high-speed communications, allowing continuous monitoring of the intersection and live signal-timing adjustments based on changing traffic conditions.

Widening west-bound Va. 7 off-ramp at U.S. 340: The Va. 7 off-ramp will be widened for 500 feet at U.S. 340 to establish two lanes on the ramp. This will allow continuous right turns onto U.S. 340 north and alleviate stacking on the ramp during evening peak-hour traffic.

Mitigate cut-through traffic on Route 612 during peak hours: Restrict Route 612 to “Local Traffic Only.” Prohibit left turns onto Route 612 from U.S. 340 southbound (north of Berryville) during morning peak traffic. Prohibit right turns onto Route 612 from Va. 7 westbound (east of Berryville) during evening peak traffic. Establish traffic count stations to monitor traffic counts on Route 612 throughout the project.

Upgrade warning lights at Va. 7 and Route 601: Dynamic warning flashers will be installed eastbound and westbound on Va. 7 to detect vehicles on Route 601 attempting to enter the intersection. These flashers will activate only when the vehicle approaches the intersection instead of continuously as they do now. Law enforcement will be stationed at the intersection with emergency lights activated as needed.

Several citizens living on feeder roads to Va. 7 expressed concern that increased traffic will make it difficult for them to turn onto Va. 7 during rush hour. “I already sit there for 7 to 10 minutes every morning waiting for an opening,” said a resident who lives on Blue Ridge Mountain Road (Route 601) near Bluemont.

Carter said that he hopes increased police presence and more speeding tickets being given will help, along with the dynamic warning flashers. He also explained that a traffic light at Route 601 was not possible because it would pose a danger in icy conditions.

Several residents from Shepherds Mill Road (Route 612) expressed concerns about increased traffic on their road, and also about the current speed limit of 55 miles per hour. Jo Bighouse, owner of Serenity Farm Store on Shepherds Mill, recently lost her dog Colby after a speeding driver hit him and did not stop. 

Bighouse and other supporters of the Slow Down Shepherds Mill Road campaign (found on Facebook) asked VDOT to consider lowering the speed limit, and Carter responded that it cannot be done unless an engineering study supports the change. An engineering study of the road was done within the last couple of years, he said, and the data at that time did not support the lowering of the speed limit.

Board of Supervisors Chairman David Weiss (Buckmarsh district) said that he understands his constituents’ concerns and is happy to meet with anyone who wishes to discuss Route 612 or other issues.

Multiple people wondered how the prohibition of Route 612 turns during rush hour would be enforced.

“If nothing’s keeping them from doing it other than a sign, they’re going to do it,” a 
resident said.

“We’re planning on a significant law enforcement presence who will be ticketing, which should deter people,” Carter said.

“I really do appreciate your comments and I haven’t heard a single suggestion this evening that wasn’t legitimate,” Carter said to the room of concerned citizens. He thanked them for their courtesy and explained that the mitigation plan is fluid and will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

“I appreciate you not purporting to have all the answers,” said Berryville District Supervisor Mary Daniel, who thanked Carter for his willingness to listen and make changes as necessary.

Carter addresses the Board of Supervisors at each of their monthly meetings, which are held at 1pm the third Tuesday of the month and are also open to the public. He said that future public information sessions will be held, so interested or concerned citizens should visit 
www.clarkecounty.gov or call 550-955-5175.

Community Briefs November ’19

Surviving the Holidays After Losing a Loved One

When a loved one dies and condolence visits from family and friends have dwindled, often the bereaved are left trying to piece their lives back together. For those grieving the loss of a loved one, the holidays can be an especially 
difficult time. 

Blue Ridge Hospice’s Grief Support Staff is offering workshops in Winchester and Front Royal throughout November designed to help individuals and families prepare for a holiday season without their loved one. All grief support offerings are open to the public and free of charge. 

“The reason we offer these workshops is because every year around October we see an increase in people seeking grief counseling,” explains Christina Thomas, a Blue Ridge Hospice Grief Support Counselor, “The holidays are when we take time to be with our loved ones. It’s where we have a lot of our memories of family. We recognize the need to talk about how grief may look different during this time of year.” 

Surviving the Holiday workshops are for adults, and will occur on November 12 in Front Royal and November 21 in Winchester, Va. Preparing for the Holidays as a Family workshop is for families with children ages 4–17. Using music and other activities, families will have the opportunity to identify and work through feelings associated with their loss in preparation of the holiday season. All holiday workshops require pre-registration by calling 540-313-9214 or emailing 
info@blueridgehospice.org.

Thomas states, “In these workshops we focus on creating a plan. Instead of focusing on the holidays being ‘easier’ we want you to feel they are possible. That although you are grieving, you can get through them in the way that you want and the way that makes the most sense to you.”

Blue Ridge Hospice’s Grief Support Services are made possible through generous donations from the community. For a full list of grief support offerings, visit brhospice.org or 
call 540-313-9214. 

Sanctuary Wellness Center Has Booked 5-week Radio Series

Beginning Tuesday, December 3, from 4:30 to 5pm, Berryville’s Sanctuary Wellness Center will be featured weekly on Mind Body Radio, found at www.mindbodyradio.com. The show will not air on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve).

“We will be discussing much more than herbal medicine,” said owner Geo Derick Giordano, MSc, RH (AHG), a Registered Medical Herbalist. “We hope to include more holistic types of healing like those that we offer here at the Sanctuary Wellness Center. In my interview we discussed a bit about Homeopathy and Ayurvedic medicine. You can hear that interview from a link on our Facebook page.”

For information, contact the Sanctuary Wellness Center: 410-707-4486; geoderick@gmail.comgderick1@jhu.eduwww.geosjoy.com
www.sanctuaryberryville.com.

Blue Ridge Singers Christmas Concerts

The Blue Ridge Singers, a non-profit chamber choir in its eleventh season, invites the community to two Christmas concerts this season, “Canticum Novum: Sing a New Song.” A December 13 concert in Front Royal will be performed at Front Royal Presbyterian Church, located at 115 Luray Ave. at 7:30pm. A December 15 concert in Winchester will be at First Baptist Church, located at 205 W. Piccadilly St., at 4pm. Concerts are free to the public; the suggested donation is $10. A reception for all will immediately follow the performances. Visit www.blueridgesingers.org for more information.

The choir’s members come from Hagerstown, Berryville, Boyce, Winchester, Front Royal and surrounding townships.  Along with the two scheduled concerts in Front Royal and Winchester, they have performed for Westminster Canterbury and The Village at Orchard Ridge, and more informally as carolers at Christmas in Front Royal at several assisted living locations.

Dr. Jeffrey Alban, artistic director for the tone of the Christmas concert series, explained that the choir will explore a new harmonic language through the music of Gerald Near. “Prominent in this music is the juxtaposition of melodies of Latin Gregorian chant with polyphonic choral settings of more common Christmas carols,” he said. “The choir is accompanied by the organ with a good deal of intense, but controlled dissonance. Because of the non-metric nature of Gregorian chant, the music is rhythmically challenging as well. 

“The choir will contrast this style with a variety of works featuring Renaissance polyphony, a 19th-century chorale and fugue by Johannes Brahms and contemporary settings of carols, old and new. This will be an eclectic, but enjoyable program, with something for everyone.”