Voting In Clarke County: A Guide To Election Districts

By Cathy Kuehner

When the Circuit Court established the Clarke County Board of Supervisors in 1870, the county was divided into four townships for representation: Battletown, Chapel, Greenway, and Long Marsh. Over the past 152 years, townships became districts, district names changed and, in 1991, a fifth district was added as the result of Census data and a growing population.

One thing has not changed: Where you live determines where you vote and in which election districts you vote.

A mayor and Town Council represent everyone who lives within Berryville and Boyce town limits. All Clarke County residents, including those who live in Berryville and Boyce, are represented by one of five Supervisors, who collectively make decisions for the county and voice local concerns to elected officials in Richmond. Members of the Virginia General Assembly (delegates and senators) and Congress represent the residents from their districts at the state level.

Virginia General Assembly and congressional districts were recently redrawn based on 2020 Census data. The Virginia Supreme Court approved this redistricting on Dec. 28, 2021. Clarke County was in state Senate District 27, represented by Sen. Jill Vogel, R-Upperville, and the 10th Congressional District, represented by Democratic U.S. Rep. Jennifer Wexton. Parts of the county also are in two state House districts: the 10th, represented by Del. Wendy Gooditis, D-Boyce; and the 33rd, represented by Del. Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton.

With redistricting, Clarke County, surrounding counties, and the City of Winchester are in state Senate District 1 (a new district) and House District 31. Clarke County is also part of the newly redrawn 6th Congressional District.However, the elected officials who currently represent Clarke County — Vogel, Wexton, Gooditis, and LaRock — continue to represent the county until their terms expire; that is January 2023 for Congress and January 2024 for the state house and senate.

At the county level, the Board of Supervisors has determined that Clarke’s population has increased proportionally across the county, so its district boundaries will not change.

Census data shows that Clarke County’s population increased from 14,034 in 2010 to 14,807 in 2020.

According to County Administrator Chris Boies, each of the county’s five voting districts should have an “ideal population” of 2,961 based on population growth and state laws. Specifically, districts must be within plus or minus 5 percent of that number, or have a population between 2,813 and 3,109, he said.Each Clarke district is within that range based on 2020 Census data.

• Berryville District has 2,997 residents (2,852 in 2010)

• Buckmarsh District has 2,827 residents (2,854 in 2010)

• Millwood District has 3,021 residents (2,729 in 2010)

• Russell District has 3,082 residents (2,896 in 2010) 

• White Post District has 2,880 residents (2,703 in 2010)

As this edition of Clarke Monthly went to press, the Board of Supervisors held a public hearing on Feb. 15 to make two changes to the Code of Clarke County. The first change simply updates the population for each district using 2020 Census information. The second is technically a correction, changing the “voter election district” to the accurate term “voter election precinct” for the central absentee voting.

Except for occasional special elections or primaries in the spring, all voters go to the polls in November to elect officials who begin serving their terms in January.

Director of Elections & General Registrar Barbara Bosserman said the Clarke County Office of Elections will send letters to all registered voters prior to the next election. The letters will outline changes to election districts and remind voters where they cast their ballots. Polling locations are not changing, Bosserman said.

The next election for Clarke County Supervisors is November 2023; their four-year terms begin in 2024.

“Supervisors are the governing body for the county,” explained Boies, who as county administrator oversees the day-to-day operations of county government and reports to the Board.

The Board is responsible for the budget, ordinances, land-use decisions, and it sets priorities for county government. Supervisors also correspond with state and federal officials to make the needs of Clarke residents known.

Individually, each Supervisor responds to constituent concerns and requests. If warranted, a supervisor will take concerns to the full Board.Residents also can express concerns during each monthly Board meeting. Regular meetings on the third Tuesday of the month include Citizens Comment periods, when individuals may speak for three minutes on any subject.

David Weiss, who was first elected to the Board in 2003, has served as its chair since 2015. He represents the Buckmarsh District. Buckmarsh was carved out of the Berryville District after the 1990 Census and redistricting in early 1991.

At its January organizational meeting, the Board unanimously elected Millwood District Supervisor Terri Catlett to serve as vice chair. She was first elected in 2015.

White Post District Supervisor Bev McKay was first elected in 2011, and Supervisor Doug Lawrence was elected in 2019 to represent the Russell District.In May 2020, Matthew Bass was appointed by the Board to fill the unexpired Berryville District Supervisor term of Mary Daniel after she was named a General District Court judge for the 26th Judicial District. Bass then won a special election in November 2020.

Clarke County was created on March 8, 1836, when the state Senate officially separated the new county from Frederick County. After the Constitution of 1870 established the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, the first to step up and serve were Philip H. Powers, John Morgan, John M. Gibson, and John R. Nunn.From the beginning, Clarke Supervisors have placed high value on the county’s natural resources and agrarian heritage. A March 1936 editorial in the Clarke Courier newspaper concluded, “The duty, therefore, has become ever more insistent upon the men and women of this generation in Clarke County to care well for this lovely land which is now observing its one hundredth birthday as a separate county. In fertilizing the soil they are preserving the interests of their children for the years to come so that its richness may be preserved forever like the grandeur of the Blue Ridge Mountains that encircle this county with their ageless might.”

What was true then, remains true now.

Find more information about your Board of Supervisors, including a district map, meeting agendas, and contact information, at Use the drop-down menu under “Government,” go to “Boards & Commissions,” and click on “Board of Supervisors.”

Clarke County’s Kaylee Anderson Named Most Outstanding Wrestler at State Tournament

Story by Rebecca Maynard
Photo by Tricia Nalls

Clarke County High School senior Kaylee Anderson made the whole community proud on January 29 when she earned the Most Outstanding Wrestler award at the Virginia Girls’ Championship state wrestling tournament.

“I’ve never gotten one of those types of awards before, so it was pretty cool, and shocking,” Anderson said.

Anderson won the girls’ invitational in the 146 pound weight class. She won her first two matches on Saturday with first period pins. Leading by just one point while competing in neutral, Anderson scored a takedown with 18 seconds left and added two near fall points to win 6-1 over J.R. Tucker’s Victoria Harris.

Saturday’s tournament featured 11 weight classes and 13 divisions with girls from 58 high schools in Virginia. (The 100 and 127 classes had two divisions.) Anderson was the only girl from the five local high schools who competed.

The daughter of Tricia and Anthony Nalls, Anderson has been wrestling since 6th grade. “My cousin [Lexi Nalls] was on Team Virginia, and I’d heard about her doing big things in wrestling,” Anderson said. “At the time I was playing softball, but I was horrible at it and needed a new sport! I thought maybe I could try what she was doing.”

Anderson went to a wrestling practice at the middle school and the rest is history. She explained that currently, there is no sanctioned girls-only division in the Virginia High School League (VHSL). Girls wrestle male athletes during high school meets.

“Girls’ wrestling is growing really fast and we’re trying to get it sanctioned,” she said. “There are not many girls’ tournaments in this area, and I’m on Team Virginia, so I know when the tournaments are, but it’s harder for other girls who don’t have those people to talk to and figure out where the girls’ tournaments are.”

“Coach [Jon] VanSice has helped me a whole lot, getting me into tournaments, and his son Kyle VanSice has helped me a whole lot too, sticking up for me, and helping me with my confidence,” she said.

Outside of wrestling, Anderson said a memorable teacher for her is Mary Roberts. “She helped me whole lot, especially when we went virtual, with remembering to stay on task and get everything done and turned in,” she said. 

Anderson plans to attend Shenandoah University in Winchester, where she hopes to study exercise science and/or nutrition, with the goal of becoming a personal trainer. She is close with Tim McGuire, Shenandoah’s wrestling coach, who helped train her for World Team Trials in Texas and flew out on his own dime to help coach her. She has been talking with him about trying to start a women’s wrestling team at Shenandoah.

“He said, ‘We’ll try to help you,’ so that’s my plan,” she said. “We’re going to have to start off as a club first, and build the program, but I’ll still be able to wrestle in women’s college tournaments and he’s going to recruit me to the men’s team.”

While she looks forward to a new chapter at Shenandoah, she currently has the goal to once again make it to boys’ state this year, after becoming the first girl from Clarke County to do so. 

“I was really proud of myself when I made it to boys’ state as a freshman,” Anderson said. “It showed me that I was capable of doing anything.”

Main Street Chamber Orchestra Presents The Nutcracker

originally published in our September edition

By Claire Stuart

All human societies have some sort of music, and Jonathan Goldberg believes that timeless music resounds with human nature.

Although some people consider classical music a relic of the past, Goldberg vehemently disagrees. He counters that they are simply not familiar with it. With that in mind, Goldberg founded the Main Street Chamber Orchestra to make classical music a relevant part of life for everyone in the community. 

Retired from a lifetime in music, primarily as a conductor in performances from New York City to El Paso, Texas, Goldberg has worked with Leonard Bernstein (“and I’ve got the pictures to prove it,” he laughed) and William Shuman, president of Lincoln Center. Goldberg and his wife Felicia moved to Berryville from Ashburn to help their daughter, Helena, who operates the Goldberg School of Music in Berryville.

Not content with retirement, Goldberg serves as Adjutant Professor of Music at Northern Virginia Community College, Loudoun Campus, and for three years he was conductor of the Rose Hill Chamber Orchestra. He tells of playing excerpts from famous pieces by Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and others to a music appreciation class, asking whether students were familiar with at least one. All of the students answered in the affirmative, proving that classical music is alive, whether we realize it or not.

Traditionally, chamber music is defined as classical music that could be played by a small group of musicians in a palace chamber or large room. Goldberg explained that many pieces of great music are never played because symphony orchestras are too big for colleges and universities, and there are no small orchestras available for those venues. He noted that there are no professional orchestras in Northern Virginia west of Fairfax.

Confident that the community wants and will support a chamber orchestra in the region, Goldberg debated starting one himself. “I talked to many people, and they said YES! I talked to Nela Niemann (of Blue Ridge Dance Studio), and asked her if I was crazy to try this. She said I was, but that she was told the same thing and has been here 30 years!”

That settled, the Main Street Chamber Orchestra still needed a home. Goldberg spoke to Justin Ivatts, Rector of Grace Episcopal Church and Wendy Oesterling, the church’s Music Director, and the orchestra will be playing in the church hall.

Then came the big question of funding. Fortunately, the orchestra obtained grants from the Marion Park Lewis Foundation, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the Bank of Clarke County Foundation. In addition, they had a successful Go Fund Me campaign. “Now we can already pay for the first concert,” Goldberg reported.

Goldberg explained that the orchestra is not an amateur or volunteer group although community groups may participate in performances. He stressed that the orchestra’s musicians are all paid professionals. Musicians (and the arts in general) have disproportionately taken a financial hit with the Covid pandemic. Performances have been cancelled and many musicians were forced to find other work. Ticket sales never meet the needs of musicians, hence the need for fundraising.

Performers will vary with the needs of the pieces to be played, and they come from a pool of area musicians. “Our number one horn player plays in the Baltimore Symphony,” Goldberg noted, “and we’re blessed in this region with military bands. The musicians want to play stuff they don’t get to play often. This is a pool to grow with, but with the military, scheduling can be a problem.” 

The next big fund-raising event will be October 3 at The Mill at Carter Hall, featuring world-renowned pianist Brian Ganz in a benefit for the 2022 spring concert. “It’s a big coup to get someone of his stature,” Goldberg declared. “Brian has many friends in the area, and there isn’t much room, so this concert will be by invitation only. But if someone really wants a ticket, I may be able to get one if they contact me.

”Three members of the community will be playing with Ganz: Akemi Takayama, Vasily Popov and Donovan Stokes. Takayama and Stokes are both Professors of Music at Shenandoah University. 

The orchestra will present a free family concert each year, designed to appeal to young people, starting with their first concert on December 11. They will perform the perennial favorite, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and showcase dancers from Nela Niemann’s Blue Ridge Studio for the Performing Arts. The performance will take place at 3pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville.

Next year’s free concert will be Handel’s Messiah, featuring Wendy Oesterling’s Piedmont Singers, in addition to singers from local churches. Planned for next spring is a performance of Leos Janacek’s “Nursery Rhymes” (not  children’s music) with help from Ms. Kristi Snarsky’s Clarke County High School Choir.

Says Jon Goldberg, “The transformative power of classical music to enrich our lives can illuminate our shared humanity, reminding us that, in the words expressed in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, ‘All men are brothers.’”

Visit the website for information on upcoming performances:

Burwell-Morgan Mill History Still Being Made

For one Clarke County woman, the mill is part of her story. And she’s not alone.
Based on Kathy Hudson’s writing, with support from David Lillard

Back in 1985, Kathy Hudson had a decision to make. A recently minted college graduate with a degree in education, she had interviewed with — and would subsequently receive offers from — Clarke County Public Schools and Charles County, Md.

By Kathy’s telling, the Burwell-Morgan Mill in the village of Millwood, helped tip her decision to move to Clarke.

Now retired, she coordinates volunteers at the Art at the Mill event, sponsored by the Clarke County Historical Association and scheduled October 2 through 17.

“When I came to Clarke to interview, I first met Assistant Superintendent William Overbey in the administration offices,” recalls Kathy. “After our interview, John McCuan (my future principal at Boyce Elementary School) picked me up in his Subaru to take me to see Boyce School.” After the interview, on the drive back to Berryville, McCuan took Kathy on a short scenic drive of Clarke County through Boyce to Millwood. “As we passed some of the grand houses on that road, I was charmed,” she said. “Coming from the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I had seen my share of old neighborhoods and estates (albeit with not much property tacked on,) so it was nothing unusual. When we got to Millwood, however, I knew I was hooked on Clarke County.” 

It was on that trip that McCuan pointed out the Burwell-Morgan Mill.

“I took one look, and I was enchanted,” said Kathy. “I love history; knowing that roots in the county went back to the 1700s made Clarke County my choice to come and work.”

Kathy married in 1987 — “a native Clarke County boy,” as she says — raised two sons, and retained her love of the region’s history and landscape. Shortly before she retired from Boyce Elementary School in 2015, her good friend Kathy Campbell, who was then Clarke County Historical Association’s president, called for a favor. She asked if Kathy would coordinate the volunteers for the upcoming art show at the Mill.

“I begged off, since I was still working,” said Kathy. “And, truthfully, I did not think I would be able to do a very good job with it. I told her to get back in touch with me after I retired.”

Campbell didn’t let Kathy forget that promise. In the fall of 2017, Kathy started making phone calls for volunteers. She also volunteered at the art show; and this opened a new world for her. “I really enjoyed meeting the artists, seeing their artwork, and meeting the public and patrons who came to the show,” said Kathy. “I’ve been involved with the art show ever since.”

In 2019, she joined the historical association’s board of of directors. “Since I have been retired, I have termed this the decade of giving back,” says Kathy. She also served on the board of The Barns of Rose Hill, from 2015–2020, and the Clarke County Education Foundation since 2019. “When I was working full time for CCPS, I did not feel I could take on additional roles in the community,” she said. “One of the things that I took to heart from my service on the Barns of Rose Hill board was to ‘give of your time, talent, and treasure.’ As a retired school librarian, I may not have much ‘treasure,’ but I certainly have the time and skills to help our community, and I am thrilled to be involved with the CCHA.”

Kathy is especially gratified to know that the efforts of past committees and the current Art Show Committee (Kathy Campbell, Gwen Casey-Higgins, Snow Fielding, Candy Means and Janet Bechamps) and a myriad number of volunteers help keep the historic mill going — millers, junior millers, others who volunteer for a few hours during the show.  “Never in my wildest dreams in 1985 did I envision becoming involved with this beautiful, restored building,” said Kathy.

The art show is the largest fundraiser for the Clarke County Historical Association; it helps keep the water wheel in the Burwell-Morgan Mill turning. “Thanks to the purchase of the mill by the CCHA in 1964, its leaders over the years, and efforts of the Art Show Committee, started by Sally Trumbower in 1990, the Burwell-Morgan Mill continues to thrive,” Kathy added.

Art at the Mill includes artists from the mid Atlantic region, featuring varying styles and prices.

The show runs from October 2–17, from 10am till 5pm 10-5 on Saturdays and noon till 5pm Sunday through Friday. 

You can preview artwork at, then navigate to the web gallery. You must call the Burwell- Morgan Mill at 540-837-1799 during art show hours to purchase.

Become a CCHA member on when you visit and enjoy free admission; admission for non-member adults is $5 and $3 for seniors. Students can attend for free.

CDC guidelines will be observed, and there will be no Patron’s Night.

Old Tree Saved As Wildlife Habitat

By Doug Pifer

For the past five years, every time it stormed we worried that a big limb would break off our beloved old Kentucky coffee tree and destroy our entryway fence. Now our property is safe from that disaster, and a magnificent old tree remains as wildlife habitat.

I invited Erik Berndt, certified arborist and owner of Viking Tree Service, LLC, to inspect the nearly dead tree. My wife and I wanted to save as many main branches as possible while minimizing the risk of damage by falling wood. He agreed our tree was an excellent candidate for trimming as a wildlife habitat tree. He encouraged me to look at some of the standing dead trees at Morgan’s Grove Park, which his company cares for, to see examples of his work. We were impressed when we examined several standing dead trees there. Each was trimmed to look like a natural dead snag in the woods. After years of cringing whenever we saw a big shade tree with branches crudely lopped off, we were overjoyed to find a company willing to trim our tree the way we wanted. We were also delighted to find a tree service that considers a wildlife habitat tree an actual “thing.”  

The Viking Tree crew showed up at the appointed time with an impressive array of equipment and machinery. With block and tackle they ascended the main trunk and carefully removed the outer branches. When they encountered a heavy limb whose weight would stress the tree in a storm, they removed it with surgical precision. But they didn’t stop there. They made a series of V-shaped cuts at the top of each large limb to allow moisture to enter the dead wood, so the tree decays from the top down. This allows the main trunk to remain sound and stand for many years. Furthermore, cuts carefully made at various angles made the limbs look like they splintered and broke off naturally.

For hard-to-reach limbs, a large lift was necessary. Each cut made the tree look safer and less likely to drop a branch to crush our fence or garden shed.

By 4pm the crew had completed the finishing touches, and I admired the balanced, sculptural quality of the tree and its remaining branches. It was a piece of art.

While it’s now official, this tree had already been wildlife habitat for a long time. Several trunks have woodpecker holes in them. The lowest branch sprouts a tuft of stunted Kentucky coffee tree leaves. Years ago, a bird dropped a seed of bush honeysuckle into the crotch between two main trunks about ten feet up. The seed has grown into a sizeable bush. More bits of green include poison ivy and Virginia creeper vines, and a young Kentucky coffee tree shoot that has sprouted next to the trunk, growing from the original 
root system.

A tree is home to an amazing amount of life. As it matures and declines, it hosts an increasing number of organisms — from mold and bacteria to algae and fungi, to insects and spiders to woodpeckers and raccoons. Fallen limbs continue to feed and shelter numerous life forms as they decompose and enrich the soil.

For an old tree, dying isn’t an occurrence but more of a gradual transformation. Our Kentucky coffee tree demonstrates how a treasured old tree need not be destroyed. It can stand for many years as wildlife habitat.

Silicon Valley, Meet Berryville, Virginia

By Claire Stuart

The big guys in tech are paying attention to a small research group in Berryville, reports Gary McGraw of Berryville Institute of Machine Learning (BIML). “We are working on stuff at the edge of science — artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).”

In 2019, McGraw, along with computer scientist Richie Bonett, cyber-security expert Harold Figuroa, and research engineer Victor Shepardson, co-founded BIML, a think tank dealing with ML and AI security. McGraw had retired after 23 years of pioneering work with a software security firm.

McGraw holds Ph.Ds. in cognitive and computer science. He is the author of eight books on software security and over 100 peer-reviewed papers in industry publications. ML and AI are at the heart of computer evolution, and computers are an intrinsic part of all facets of modern life. They run energy grids, air and rail traffic, military operations, satellites, food safety, water supplies, government offices and banking. For ordinary people, there are cellphones, home security systems, smart automobiles, connected appliances, video games, virtual assistants, and more.

In ML, computers are programmed to recognize data, automatically learn from it, and use it to improve their own functions. They add to their knowledge so that they can make decisions. When you ask your virtual assistant to play a song, it learns what you like and suggests similar music. It learns your food preferences and offers dining suggestions. But that’s just the “up” side!

Anyone who enjoys science fiction has no doubt seen the classic 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey.  When “HAL,” the deranged computer, refuses to let the astronaut back into the spaceship, it utters the chilling and unforgettable line, “I’m sorry Dave, I can’t do that!” Fortunately, that scenario did not come true in 2001, but we are moving a lot closer to meeting HAL now. Bad actors are constantly seeking ways to hack into ML systems, with potentially disastrous results.

McGraw observes that in an effort to quickly produce more and more sophisticated technology, security weaknesses are sometimes overlooked. McGraw mentioned a frequently-cited study illustrating an attack on ML — the alteration of a STOP sign with tape so that a self-driving vehicle sees it as a speed limit sign.

“If security, reliability and trustworthiness of technology itself is called into question, it makes technology companies take notice,” said McGraw. BIML is doing what McGraw defines as “architectural analyses” of ML systems, identifying weaknesses. “Our targets are the engineers designing these systems,” he explained, “We are helping them to do a better job—to build security in, in the first place, not have to go back and plug holes. All I suggest is that let’s build security into AI so hackers can’t get into a system. We’re helping the good guys fighting a war on the 
bad guys.

”McGraw notes that BIML’s architectural risk analyses are unique in the field, helping BIML build its reputation. They offer advice from a scientific viewpoint, identifying risks and determining how to mitigate them. McGraw speaks on cyber security at universities and conferences around the country and is on the advisory boards of a number of tech startups. He recently gave a presentation on taxonomy of attacks on ML at a private Silicon Valley conference, the Security Data Science Colloquium. It was attended by about 150 representatives of tech giants Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others, as well as many universities. He was excited to show how Berryville is directly affecting what’s going on in Silicon Valley!

Earlier this year, BIML received a $150,000 grant from a group called Open Philantrophy, an organization concerned with the effects of technology on people and the planet. BIML will use the grant to further their research as well to provide funds for an intern. They have their first intern, Nikil Shyamsunder, a Handley High student.McGraw moved to Berryville from Loudoun County in 1999. The speed of development there “pushed me over the mountain,” he said. Now he lives in a circa 1760 farmhouse on 10 acres on the banks of the Shenandoah next to Holy Cross Abbey. Of course, he observed that development is increasing in Clarke as well. “The future is going to happen — let’s make it better.”

He cares deeply about his adopted home town and is concerned that there are local people who are homeless and hungry. Grateful that he has been fortunate, he works to give back by helping make Clarke County a place where everyone can live. He personally gives regularly and generously to the Free Medical Clinic, Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, local Habitat for Humanity and other nonprofits concerned with food, housing, medical care, legal advice and the environment.

Although McGraw describes himself as an “alpha geek” he is certainly not one-dimensional. He says music is supremely important to him and provides balance to his life. He is a classically trained musician, but he specializes in improvisation. Starting as a child with violin, he also plays mandolin, guitar and piano. He is in two bands, Bitter Liberals and Where’s Aubrey, and they have played many benefit concerts. With Covid restrictions ending, he looks forward to performing publicly again.

Welcome Woody’s Quick Stop

The building at 304 N. Buckmarsh Street has been a convenience store for as long as anyone can remember; it was most recently owned by Mohammad and Farhat Kashmiree. When William “Woody” Woodruff, who grew up in Berryville, lost his barber shop in Herndon last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned home to visit his mother. While in town, he met the Kashmirees, who wanted to retire, and Woodruff found an opportunity. Woodruff bought the store and opened Woody’s Quick Stop in mid-May. On Aug. 1, Mayor Arnold officially welcomed Woodruff as a new Berryville business owner and commended him for keeping the convenience store open to serve residents and those traveling along U.S. 340. In the photo above, Woody Woodruff and his wife Tonette Stewart hold the grand-opening ribbon for Berryville Mayor Jay Arnold on August 1 at Woody’s Quick Stop. Watching the ribbon-cutting from behind are (from left) William’s mother Mary Woodruff, longtime store clerk Donna Segar, and the couple’s children Dominique and Jacquez Stewart. Photo provided by Clarke County.

Around Clarke County July and August

July 26–29
The Berryville Baptist Rascals, will perform for the first time since before the pandemic. Performances will be at Rose Hill Park. E. Main St. Berryville from 6–8pm. Free and open to the community. For information call 540-664-6950.

14 Outdoor Movie Night
Secretariat Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Join Long Branch and the Clarke County Historical Association for family fun movies outdoors every Wednesday in July, with refreshments for purchase. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy a movie night under the stars. Free; donations welcome. Dusk.

17 Poker Run
Boyce Volunteer Fire Company Social Hall. 1 S. Greenway Ave. Rain date July 31. Drive through the beautiful Shenandoah Valley to collect your cards. Meet back at the social hall for food, music, fun and to see if you have a winning hand. First prize $100, second prize $75, third prize $50. All vehicles welcome. Entry fee is $25 for drivers and $15 for passengers. Pre-registration encouraged. Email name, phone and number of people in party, or visit 9am. 703-470-4236.

17 Firefly Walk
Blandy Experimental Farm. 400 Blandy Farm Lane. Boyce. Walk about a mile over gently rolling terrain, bring flashlight if desired. Enjoy the light show while learning about these fascinating creatures. Reservations required. FOSA members/UVa alumni $10, nonmembers $15, FOSA and UVa families $20, nonmember families $25. Dusk. 540-837-1758.

17 Outdoor Yoga
Sanctuary Wellness Center. 208 N. Buckmarsh St. Berryville. Led by Amy Hope-Gentry. 9:45–10:45am.

18 Meet the Beekeepers
Sky Meadows State Park. 11012 Edmonds Lane. Delaplane. Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah and discover the art of beekeeping. 1–3pm. 540-592-3556.

20 Social Bridge Night
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Every Tuesday. Wine, soft drinks and light snacks provided. Limited seating; RSVP. $15 per person. 5–7pm. 540-837-1856.

21 Outdoor Movie Night Night at the Museum
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Join Long Branch and the Clarke County Historical Association for family fun movies outdoors every Wednesday in July, with refreshments for purchase. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy a movie night under the stars. Free; donations welcome. Dusk.

23 Music and Dinner in the Park
with Nita and Friends. Rose Hill Park. E. Main St. Berryville. Traditional folk and gospel sing along with Nita and friends. 6:30–8pm, with dinners available for purchase. 9 E. Main St., Berryville. 

23–25 Shenandoah Valley Steam Show
Clarke County Fairgrounds. 890 W. Main St. Berryville. Steam engines, threshers, oil pulls, shingle mill, gas engines, saw mill and balers. Flea market, consignment sale, live music, food trucks and more. Church service 9am Sunday. Free parking; no pets allowed. Adults $7 Friday and Saturday, $5 Sunday, children younger than 12 free.

24 Long Branch Summer Celebration
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Elegant summer cocktail party with light fare, open bar and live music, Caleb Nei Quartet featuring Ariana Harbin. Limited seating; RSVP. 5:30–8pm. $75 per person. 540-837-1856.

26–29 Berryville Baptist Rascals Performances
Rose Hill Park. E. Main St. Berryville. The puppet and music theatrical group led by Joan Houck will perform for the first time since before the pandemic. Free and open to the community. 6–8pm. 540-664-6950.

27 Social Bridge Night
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Every Tuesday. Wine, soft drinks and light snacks provided. Limited seating; RSVP. $15 per person. 5–7pm. 540-837-1856.

28 Summer Concert Series
Robbie Limon BandRose Hill Park. E. Main St. Berryville. Robbie Limon Band performs. Sponsored by Bank of Clarke County. Free. 6–9pm. 540-955-5143.

28 Outdoor Movie Night
Hidden Figures Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Join Long Branch and the Clarke County Historical Association for family fun movies outdoors every Wednesday in July, with refreshments for purchase. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy a movie night under the stars. Free; donations welcome. Dusk.

31 10-Year Barns of Rose Hill Celebration 
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. As a thank you to the public for their support, Barns of Rose Hill is hosting a 10 year anniversary celebration with music, food trucks, free ice cream, magic, balloon animals, face painting, arts and crafts and an instrument petting zoo. 5pm. Free admission. 540-955-2004.

31 In the Life of Lord Fairfax” Lecture
Burwell-Morgan Mill. 15 Tannery Lane. Millwood. Join Nathan Stalvey and Travis Shaw as they talk about Lord Fairfax, Virginia’s only resident English peer, who brought fox hunting, wealth and George Washington to the frontier, all of which continue to shape Clarke County today. 2–4pm.


1 Clarke County Community Health Expo
Chet Hobart Park. 225 Al Smith Circle. Berryville. One-day event organized by HopeLives365, an organization dedicated to providing hope for body, mind and soul. In partnership with Hartland Lifestyle Center, free community event designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, prevent and manage disease and connect you to resources. 10am–4pm.

3 Trivia Night
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. Clarke County Historical Association and Clarke County Library team up once again to bring live team trivia. Categories include History, Movies, Literature, Science and more.  Prizes donated by local area businesses. Barn doors open at 6:30p.m., trivia begins at 7pm. Free. 540-955-2004.

3 Social Bridge Night
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Every Tuesday. Wine, soft drinks and light snacks provided. Limited seating; RSVP. $15 per person. 5–7pm. 540-837-1856.

4 Outdoor Movie Night
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Join Long Branch and the Clarke County Historical Association for family fun movies outdoors, with refreshments for purchase. Bring a lawn chair and blanket and enjoy a movie night under the stars. Free; donations welcome. Dusk.

6 Music in the Park
with Clarke County Community Band Rose Hill Park. E. Main St. Berryville. Clarke County Community Band performs. Free. 6:30–8pm.

7 The Farmer’s Forge
Sky Meadows State Park. 11012 Edmonds Lane. Delaplane. See members of the Blacksmith Guild of the Potomac show off their skills. 12–3pm. 540-592-3556.

7 Astronomy for Everyone
Sky Meadows State Park. 11012 Edmonds Lane. Delaplane. Junior astronomer program is followed by a discussion about the importance of dark skies and light conservation. Bring telescope or binoculars if desired. 8–11pm. Parking fees apply. 540-592-3556.

8–15 Clarke County Fair Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds
890 W. Main St. Berryville. Animals, horticulture, crafts, baked goods, games, rides and more. See fair schedule online. Admission is $7 for adults, $2 for children 5-15, and free for preschoolers. 540-955-1947.

10 Social Bridge Night
Long Branch Historic House and Farm. 830 Long Branch Lane. Millwood. Every Tuesday. Wine, soft drinks and light snacks provided. Limited seating; RSVP. $15 per person. 5–7pm. 540-837-1856.

13 Emi Sunshine Concert
Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. Rolling Stone once named 15-year-old Emi Sunshine among “10 new country artists you need to know.” Her music addresses domestic violence, dysfunctional families, political corruption, mass murder, lost love and freedom. 7pm. $25 in advance, $30 at door. 540-955-2004.

15 Meet the Beekeepers Sky Meadows State Park. 11012 Edmonds Lane. Delaplane. Meet with local apiarists of the Beekeepers of Northern Shenandoah and discover the art of beekeeping. 1–3pm. 540-592-3556.

19 Appalachian Chamber Music Festival
New Beginnings. Barns of Rose Hill. 95 Chalmers Ct. Berryville. Festival celebrates the rich history, nature and culture of the area through poignant and powerful chamber music experiences that are both meaningful and relevant to our times. ACMF brings together fresh and exciting talent, internationally-recognized artists from near and far who are united by camaraderie and cause for an evening of world-class music.7pm. $20 in advance, $25 at door. 540-955-2004.

Clarke County Farmers’ Market 317 W. Main St. (Berryville Primary – Clarke County School Board office). Customer entrance and parking is off West Main Street. All patrons are asked to comply with state-mandated requirements related to COVID-19, including social distancing and face coverings. Find a list of vendors at 8am–12pm every Saturday through the end of October.

Can You Grow Morels at Home?

By Claire Stuart

If you have ever eaten morels, you know why these odd-looking, wrinkled mushrooms are so sought after. They grow wild in our area, and they are only found at a certain time of year in certain habitats. Their locations are closely-guarded secrets kept by knowledgeable foragers, often for generations. But what if you could reliably grow morels in your own yard? Impossible, say the skeptics! It’s been tried, using all sorts of experimental methods, for years and years, with virtually no success. Morels simply grow where they want to grow. 

Here in Clarke County, Nate and Carrie Fox of Riverfox Farm are surprising the skeptics. The Foxes operate a small Berryville farm where they raise bees, heritage poultry, and cut flowers. Carrie recalls that Nate, who had been a morel hunter for years, introduced her to morels when they were dating. “It was sort of a courtship gift,” she laughed. He had tried to grow his own over the years, using locally foraged mushrooms, but had been unsuccessful. 

This year, the Foxes finally succeeded in producing a carpet of hundreds of precious morels. Dozens of participants in their two morel workshops in May had a chance to see morels growing — and taste them, too.

“In 2019, we tried a different method,” Carrie reported. “We used grain spawn and inoculated the soil with a mixture of local morels. In 2020, only about five or six mushrooms grew. Then, this year, hundreds suddenly appeared at night. We went down at night with headlamps and saw them! Over the next two weeks, they were emerging and spreading. It was so exciting! We wondered if we should keep it a secret, then we said, ‘No, let’s do a workshop. Let people see the area, the moisture of the soil, the light, and other conditions.’

”This year’s first workshop was held on May 1, and about 30 people participated. It was followed by another on May 15 with about 40 people, and all went home with jars of inoculated grain spawn. The Foxes are going to try to make it an annual event.

Carrie explained that their methods and timing are different from what most people try — making a slurry in a bucket with ashes, etc., and dumping it in the garden. While spores are very hardy, once you trigger growth, it is fussy. “We’re giving Mother Nature a hand. From our harvest, we use spores to prepare grain spawn jars. We don’t have a fancy lab; we work out of our home kitchen. We prepare jars in the pressure canner and buy grain at the Berryville feed store. People can do it in their own homes. The people at the first workshop could see mycelium growing in the grain spawn jars.

“We tend the jars through the hot summer—timing is so important. We plant in fall because they require a winter to produce in the spring. We prepare the bed site with things that saprophytic mushrooms enjoy: kitchen scraps, compost, dead leaves, wood shavings, and ashes from the wood stove. We dig a trench, put the mycelium in, water it well, and let it overwinter. The mycelium feeds off dead and decaying vegetable matter. Some morels have a mycorrhizal relationship with living trees and other plants for food.”

Carrie suspects that their beekeeping practices contributed to the successful growth of the morels.

“We noticed a relationship between the location of our apiary and where mushrooms popped out.” The Foxes have around 60 honey bee colonies. Carrie explained that when they need to supplement small colonies to build them up, they feed the bees a sugar-water mixture and a pollen patty supplement. Any excess sugar water and pollen that the bees don’t take is dumped around the tree line. Bees often build extra comb on top of or between the wooden frames, sometimes filling them with drone cells. Beekeepers must scrape it off to keep the frames clean, and these scrapings (high in proteins, fats and carbohydrates) are also dumped. The Foxes found morels popping up in those areas.Carrie hopes that their results will encourage further research and give potential morel growers a reason for optimism.

The Foxes are creating online content and instructions; a tutorial is in the works, and they are planning for a 2022 spring morel workshop. If you are thinking of beekeeping, have your first colony, need tips and pointers, or just want to learn about bees, visit their website for information about their hands-on honey bee days, starter colonies and queen bees for sale. 

Visit them online at 

Things to Know About Mushrooms:• Mushrooms are fungi and do not have chlorophyll, so they need to absorb food from their environment, and most do not need light to grow.• Saprophytic fungi grow on dead and decaying organic matter.• Mycorrhizal fungi have a symbiotic partnership with living green plants (usually trees), living in and around their roots and sharing nutrients.• Most of a mushroom is underground in the form of root-like mycelium, which is made of fibers called hyphae that absorb food. • The familiar mushrooms that we eat are the fruiting bodies of the fungus. The mycelium can stay dormant for years before sending up fruiting bodies. • Microscopic spores that serve as seeds are produced on gills under the mushroom’s cap. • Grain Spawn: Wheat, rye, millet, etc., is cooked with water and sterilized, and mycelium is added and will grow on the grain.• Substrate is the material the fungus will live and grow on, such as compost, dead wood, sawdust, rotting leaves, etc.• Inoculation is introducing spores or mycelium culture to a substrate.