Saturday, Brett and I went up to the plantation and attended the Rappahannock River Fest.
This was a benefit for a group called “Friends of the Rappahannock”. According to their website they were formed in 1985 as a non-profit, grassroots conservation organization. Their common goal is to maintain the water quality and scenic beauty of the Rappahannock River and its tributaries. They work with a wide variety of stakeholders, from local governments to elementary students, to educate about the river and to advocate for actions and policies that will protect and restore the values that make the Rappahannock River so special. They promote environmentally responsible planning through active participation in the civic process. Their professional staff provides technical support to local governments, developers, and teachers in areas of special expertise, including Low Impact Development codes and ordinances, Watershed Planning, Water Quality Monitoring, Invasive Species Control, and Streambank Restoration. They believe that community education is an essential tool for promoting environmental awareness and protection. As a result, they lead a variety of public education programs which focus on understanding and protecting the river’s unique natural, scenic and historic resources.
“A Rappahannock River…that is clean and safe for fish consumption and recreation from its H2waters to its confluence with the Chesapeake.
A Rappahannock River… that supports a healthy and diverse aquatic ecosystem, with submerged grasses, oysters, crabs and other species returned to their historic levels and productivity.
A Rappahannock River Watershed… where land use and runoff is managed to protect and enhance our riparian habitats, downstream waters, scenic viewsheds and historical resources.
A Rappahannock Community… where the citizens and local governments are educated about river stewardship, where they take a sense of personal stewardship over the river resource, and where they take action in their own backyards and communities to protect it.”
With Belle Grove sitting on a bluff overlooking the Rappahannock, Brett and I want to make sure we are being good stewards of the river and preserving the beauty and nature of this river.
The River Fest took place in King George County at the Farley Vale Farm. This farm sits on a very high bluff and has a wonderful view of the river as it bends and curves downstream. We arrived just as it was getting started. The first person to greet us was Rob Wittman, Congressman for this area. As we checked in, we were surprised to see out caretaker, Jimmy working as a volunteer too!
After everyone arrived there had to be a least 1,000 people there. For the cost of the ticket, we were served some of the best steamed crabs and delicious BBQ you have ever tasted! There was plenty to eat and lot of refreshments. There were several bands that played as we enjoyed our meal.
When Brett and I first sat down to eat, we met a father and daughter from King George. They showed us the ins and out of eating steamed crabs. The crabs were delivered to the table in a pile and there were small wooden hammers for you to us to crack them open. They also had small cups of “Old Bay” seasoning for you to dip it in. The band finished their song and all of a sudden everyone started hammering the table with their little hammers. This was something new to us so we are quite surprised. But of course we realized that because everyone’s hands were so messy from eating the crabs, this was their way of applauding. It was such fun!
After we ate, we headed into the barn to view the Silent Auction Items. There was so much to choose from! I didn’t know where to start! They also had items that they were going to auction off in a Live Auction later. Brett found one that caught his eye!
We then walked down to the river to the boat dock where they were giving free boat rides. As we waited, we met another father and daughter. They were from Stafford. We had a very enjoyable conversation with them and learn more about the area. We also met the volunteer working the boat rides. She was from Alexandria and works with an Outdoor Recreation company called “Virginia Outdoor Center”. They provide canoeing, kayaking, tubing, climbing and many other activities for people of all ages. I was very excited to meet her because we had already found them online and wanted more information on their activities so we could offer them to our guests.
When we got onboard the boat, we had a very pleasant surprise. Several of the other riders were from Port Royal, Virginia. In fact, one of them, we had been talking to through Facebook! It was so nice to meet him finally face to face. Our ride was so wonderful! The River is just beautiful. Our tour guide, Richard, talked about the view we were seeing. He pointed out that this would have been the view Captain John Smith would have seen as he sailed the Rappahannock River.
After our boat ride, we headed back up to the tent for some refreshments with our friends from Port Royal. They walked us over to their reserved table and we met up with their mayor, Nancy. I had met Nancy during the July 4th Port Royal Days Celebration. It was really nice to see her again. We updated her and the rest group on our progress. Nancy offered us a letter of recommendation from the city of Port Royal when we have our public hearing for our zoning approval! We can’t wait to become part of this wonderful community!
After we enjoyed some sweet treats and chatted for a while with the group, we headed to our car. We had one more stop to make before we headed home. We needed to stop at Belle Grove to measure the basement room areas. We have a sauna, soaking Jacuzzi and full restroom down in the basement of the manor house. We also have room to put in a small exercise room. We wanted to measure the height of the room though to see if we could place a treadmill in there. The jury is still out on that one. The room is 7 feet so with the treadmill, you may not be able to stand up. We may have to look at other options.
As we pulled into Belle Grove, we were greeted by our small flock of wild turkeys. How much they have grown in just a few weeks! We had a chance to chat with the caretaker’s wife about the appointments we have next weekend at the plantation. After we measured the rooms, we headed back outside to say good-bye. It was already dark and the caretaker’s daughter was running around with her light up shoes dancing around. What a sight to see. It was like a small fireworks show. This was also Brett’s first time at the plantation during the night. It was just so peaceful.
As we headed back home, we spent the time discussing our next weekend.
We have a lot going on next weekend at the plantation! We can’t wait to share all the fun with you!