By Winkie Motley and Colin Dougherty
As we begin the New Year we wanted to take a moment to look back, so we’ve pulled together the best from 2018 and put them all in one place. Keswick Life wishes you a 2019 that’s quite simply, the best!
As is the tradition, on the cover, was an excellent review of where we have been in 2018! As we began the New Year we wanted readers to take a moment to look back, so we’d pulled together the best from 2018 and put them all in one place. We wished everyone a new year that’s quite simply the best. Key parts of each month’s issue for 2018 were summarized with the highlights to bring it all back to the time or place that has gone too soon or perhaps not soon enough. Most importantly, we took the journey together, as Keswickians.
Keswickian Madison Fisk has a new show! She was born and raised on a horse farm in Keswick. She studied painting and video art at California Institute of the Arts and sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University, now she has returned with a new exhibition. Tony Vanderwarker’s monthly column asks, “How Cold Isn’t It?” He continues, “Every winter Virginians moan and bitch about the cold. “Can you believe this weather? I’m really sick of it,” or, “I’ve had it up to here with this damn cold,” you hear from everyone. Check out the full artcile, grab a cup of coffee andget ready for a chuckle.
At Long Last. Keswick Hunt Club Plans for Renovations. A number of members concerned about the condition of the 100 year+ Keswick Hunt Club have stepped forward with a plan and initial funding for a major renovation of the club. The Board stressed that a major consideration of the renovation was to retain the history of the building, site and structures.
Show stopper! Keswick Hunt Club’s 2018 Ball was one for the record books. Co-chairs Kinsey Marable and Susie Matheson wanted to do a “traditional” hunt club ball and they pulled it off elegantly. Pin lights spectacularly strung overhead set the scene.
Garden Week In Full Bloom. Bucolic Keswick Hunt featured properties, this year’s tour takes us to the bucolic Keswick hunt country of Albemarle County. On Sunday, April 22nd the House and Garden Tour visit properties, includ- ing a 1,250-acre estate on the Virginia Landmark Register; an 18th century home with formal gardens and an extensive arboretum-never before on tour; a con- temporary, award-winning farmhouse; and historic Grace Episcopal Church. Visitors will travel historic roads amid scenic vistas! For the second time Coach Bennett has earned the honor of AP Coach of the Year, winning it in 2007 while at Washington State University and again this year! Did you catch a game?
Keswick Horse Show. This Annual Event is in its’ 114th year! The 114th Annual Keswick Horse Show presented by The Lindsay Maxwell Charitable Fund was again be held at the historic Keswick show grounds from Tuesday, May 15 through Sunday, May 20. The Keswick Horse Show, the second oldest horse show in the United States, started and continues to be a community horse show that represents the best of Virginia horseman and our community. The 2018 Garden Week featured a few Keswick stops as featured in the March issue of Keswick Life. This month, we took a look at the events of the day in our photo journal. Thousands of visitors responded with genuine interest and appreciation, oohing and ahhing.
How Lucky We Are. Reflections of Life in Keswick, Virginia. Tony Vanderwarker takes the cover this month, with his piece, “How Lucky We Are,” a tour of sorts of Keswick with its’ stunningly beauty, lush pastures bordered with three board white fences and divided by a twisty, roller coaster road running along the Southwest Mountains. See Jefferson’s “America’s Eden,” Tony words are not to be forgotten. Whether it is the Dolley Madison Ladies Luncheon guests, the youngest competitor at the Keswick Horse Show or the Virginia Hound Show, Keswick Life’s May photo journal section, Keswick Scene, has all the hottest photos from the month’s events in the environs. Mary Morony’s column deals with the family – what is your definition? From tattoos to carping about taking out the garbage, nursing a sick child in the middle of the night, carpools, schedules, and money issues living with others no matter the relationship it can be messy work.
Summer is Officially Here! The Ninth Annual Grace Church Historic Farm Tour and County Fair was held on Saturday, June 8. While it could have been a little cooler, the rains held off and visitors from as far away as California, Louisiana, and New York; and from throughout the Mid-Atlantic area enjoyed dressage, competitive horse jumping, superior antiques, 4-H kids and their animals, Keswick Club hounds and wonderful historic tours. The Annual Farm Fest, the precursor to the Farm Tour and Country Fair, was held at Grace’s Parrish Hall on Wednesday evening, June 6. Delicious food by Sandy Motley and her team and a fine assortment of wines presented by Erin Scala of In Vino Veritas, helped to insure a very successful silent auction and live auction. Tufton Farm Milton Farm, Glenmore Farm, Cadeaux Show Stables Keswick Hunt Club Cloverfield’s Farm Castalia Montanova Grace Historic Church One Hundred Percent of our Farm Tour proceeds spill back into the community; it’s our Grace community working with its Keswick neighbors all to benefit those less fortunate. Because of you we will have been able to give back over $400,000 in just the last 9 years. Save the date, June 8, 2019. Thank you to everyone involved!
The Road Update. Carefully Dealing with Inevitable Change. Tony Vanderwarker takes us on a three part article which deals with the proposed Eastern Bypass road system, to the recent wrecks in the road and then to the changes along the road you may have noticed. Read all the details, keep straight along the twists and turns, and be sure to write in to Keswick Life.
If you’ve driven by the Keswick Hunt Club recently, you’ve noticed the renovation work is well underway.
The Devon Horse Show, since 1896, is both the oldest and largest outdoor multi-breed horse competition in the United States. Keswickians not only participated but won in their classes.
Heavy Rains Rain Swollen Rivers, Storm Drains, Shops and Low-Lying Lands Flooded Rain-swollen rivers ran over roads and flooded low lying land this past month after nearly daily storms dropped as much as 5 inches of rain per hour in some areas of Keswick and its environs. Flooding forced closures of roads, trails, golf courses and shops in downtown Gordonsville. The National Weather Service warned of an additional rain and chances of thunderstorms and showers throughout the coming weeks.
“Tivoli” was a picture perfect setting for this year’s Keswick Hunt Club puppy show. While the puppies were exhibited in the ring, spectators gathered on the porch and lawn. The Puppy Show was established by Anne Coles in honor of her late husband, Eddie Coles. In the early years, the purpose of the event was to encourage club members and guests to be aware of the young hounds and to have a wonderful party. Anne’s efforts for 10 years developed into a major fundraiser to benefit the hounds while continuing the tradition of a fun event. The first few years the Puppy Show was held at Cloverfields. Kenny and Ceil Wheeler then hosted at their farm, East Belmont, followed by the Puppy Show moving to the Keswick Hunt Club . Last year, Winkie and Sheila Motley hosted the show at the Hunt Club in honor of Hugh C. Motley, MFH who placed great importance on the hounds during his tenure as Master. This year due to the ongoing renovation of the Clubhouse, Kennels, Barn and Huntsman’s cottage, the Puppy Show was hosted by Will Coleman, MFH at Tivoli. The Keswick Hunt Club Foxhounds are the major resource and their lineage can be traced back hundreds of years. Without them we would not enjoy the Hunting we have today. Excitement is building as Restaurant Rochambeau prepares to open its doors later this month, on Main Street in Gordonsville. Focused on authentic French cuisine, the restaurant is located in the space previously occupied by the Restaurant Pomme for over a dozen years.
Power Tower Fight Are Keswick Scenic Roads and Farm Next? For the past few weeks, Dominion contractors have been constructing the foundations and erecting monopoles along Route 15 in Orange as part of the Remington-Gordonsville transmission upgrade. This is part of the first phase of the project and includes a 4.5-mile stretch from Orange to near the Macmillan Publishing Services facility on Route 15. Pictured are the monopoles and lines that are replacing the older and more modest wooden frame construction. A group of property owners and other concerned citizens have begun to gather to assess the threat to Keswick farms and lands.. The group plans to lead the fight to protect Keswick environs but pressuring Dominion Energy to bury the lines as to preserve the beautiful countryside in this historic area.
Sunday, October 14th, the Keswick Foxhounds “Came Home” to their new kennel. A ribbon cutting followed by a Toast to the Hounds and Keswick Huntsman, Paul Wilson blew: ”Going Home” as he led the hounds into the kennel. The 8 week renovation of the Keswick Hunt Club Kennels began in mid August and was completed in mid October, 2018. The renovation design was a collaboration between Paul Wilson, KHC Huntsman and Uhler and Company, design build. The goal of the project was a complete renovation of the kennels to maximize the square footage within the existing building footprint as required by the county ordinance. The completed effort is a state of the art facility Drawing over 150 attendees, PEC held their Annual Meeting on October 21 at historic Castle Hill Farm in Keswick. First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam was in attendance and spoke about the importance of conserving lands in the state. Land conservation has long been a priority of the commonwealth, and for good reason. Nicolette Margaret Merle-Smith was married to Joel Allan Scholz on October 6th, 2018 on her parents’, Grosvenor and Rosemarie Merle-Smith, Sunny View Plantation in Louisa, Virginia. Nicolette and Joel spent the month of August in Mongolia.
Blessing of the Hounds honors a timeless Keswick tradition on Thanksgiving Day Hundreds gathered for the 90th Annual Blessing of the Hounds in Keswick early Thanksgiving morning. Keswick Hunt Club member Kim Mitchell at Grace Episcopal Church featured on the cover. The tradition at Grace Episcopal Church dates back to 1929. Many people say they can’t imagine their holiday without the riders attired in their formal hunting attire, the hounds, and the horses. After the pageantry each year — the blessing, the horn call, the huntsmen and hounds set off across the countryside. The hounds follow the fox. The riders follow the houndsIt’s almost Christmas time! Tony, takes on his adventures of ordering and setting up on the most time honored Christmas Traditions – a tree! Read the calamity that only Tony can describe as if you were sitting right beside him with the box cutter in hand. When we began renovating the Hunt Club, all of us involved wondered what surprises we would find.. But our biggest surprise was that the club was in such a dilapidated state that a big wet snowfall could have collapsed the entire structure. Fixing these conditions required the novel approach of building a steel skeleton around and over the building, both built into the walls and erected on the roof to enable us to save the interior. enabling us to preserve its treasured and historic interior while we are adding a new kitchen, handicap accessible bathrooms and entrance—changes that will update the club and add to its rental appeal. Fortunately, the threatening structural conditions were discovered just in time as the option would have been to demolish the club and rebuild it, destroying over a hundred years of tradition and memories.
Packed full issue of Christmas Cheer, including baking, giving, preparing and recovering from the big holiday season! Plus two Keswickians are inducted into the VHSA Hall of Fame. A number of Keswick members and landowners were recognized at the ceremony. Hugh Wiley and Clay Camp, both former KHC members, were inducted into the VHSA Hall of Fame. WEDDINGS Jillian Grace DeVito and Pierce McCleary Derkac were married on the 3rd of November COMMUNITY The 6th annual Shop to Stop Hunger for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank was held at the Barracks Road Kroger on December 6th. The 60 second supermarket shopping spree to win the coveted Cart Away Hunger award, a reace of champtions included a team of Keswickians, Jeanne McCusker and Bob Powers.