Oct 22-26 Greenbriar River Trail, WV
What a fabulous time to be in ”wild, wonderful West Virginia”! The leaves were at peak and the weather was perfect – light jackets in the day time and a fire in the lodge at night. Three turn-outs gathered for the trip: Caroline & Bertrand Collomb with her four in hand of Haflingers, Carl and Caroline Cox with the “Black Boys”, and Al and Vicki Baturay with their pair of Haflingers. Good friend and fellow whip Grace Vance came up from Aiken to be with the group, as did the Cox Lead groom, Molly Savage. We all stayed together in a well restored lodge just a few feet off the Greenbriar River Trail. Our horses had the option of stalls and/or turn-out in spacious paddocks and it was a simple matter each day to tend them, harness, hitch and GO. The Greenbriar River Trail really needs to be experienced by everyone who loves carriage driving; the footing is excellent with imperceptible grades (it is a reclaimed railroad bed), and, for most of its miles, it lies right beside the sparkling Greenbriar River. Yes, there are places you can leave the actual trail and travel over dirt roads. At one point we took such a detour and ended up hundreds of feet above the river – the views were beyond description! It was one of many great places we stopped to rest the horses and enjoy our lunch and, yes, the Champagne that fits so well in the floor cooler.
The lodge was amply equipped – large kitchen, huge sitting area, nice private bedrooms and plenty of bathrooms. Very clean, very comfortable and it easily accommodated the entire group. We especially enjoyed breakfast together in the kitchen before we went out driving and cocktails on the wrap around porch when we returned. Dinner was always fun as well, if not somewhat problematic. We were pretty much in agreement that, beyond frying a few eggs, etc. in the mornings and opening packages of chees/crackers/pate and bottles of wine in the evenings, nobody really came there to COOK. Obviously, thought we all, we’ll just go out to eat for dinner each night…..well, once again, this was “wild, wonderful West Virginia” – mountainous, untouched by civilization, right? Right! Consequently there were NO restaurants within miles and miles, and those that we eventually found had odd hours at best. OK, so let’s go grocery shopping and we’ll dine in the cabin…..not! Grocery stores were distant and scarce. All’s well that ends well, however, as we did find 2 restaurants. They were a bit of a drive, up/down a mountain. The ”Fiddlehead” was the one we liked the best. It served a nice combination of steaks, pizza, fried chicken, burgers, quesedillas, and Thai salad. Hmmmmm, Thai salad? Those who ordered it said it was delicious, and obviously very authentic, as we learned that this quaint restaurant nestled in the West Virginia mountains was owned and operated by some lovely Thai folks! The other restaurant didn’t serve or allow alcohol. It was crossed off our list.
So, if you go – and we hope you will – plan to spend several days exploring the 80 miles of trails in your carriage (including tunnels which we never reached!), and plan to cook your own meals (at least on the evenings that you don’t go to the Fiddlehead Restaurant.) Plan also to stay and board your horses at EJ’s Cabins, in Dunmore, West Virginia (check out his website). You’ll be made welcome!
Oct 17- PDC Member Featured In Bird-In- Hand Carriage Catalog
Member Mark Duffell with his pair of Belgians are pictured showcasing a Bird In hand wagonette durring the holiday season.
Oct 17 & 18- PDC Field Trip to Martins Auction, Lebanon,PA
It’s a tradition throughout the carriage driving world, it seems, to make the bi-annual trek to Lebanon, Pa. for Martin’s Auction. The PDC is always well represented there, and this fall was no exception, with about a dozen or so members in attendance. There are always great “finds” and I doubt any of us went home empty-handed. Special congratulations go out to top bidders Dr. Tom Burgess, who is now the proud owner of the handsome fully restored Brewster Bronson carriage that graced the front cover of the sales flyer, and also to Club President Anne Watkins who at last has a snazzy high-backed cutter of her own, and also to Al and Vicki Baturay, who captured a beautiful wicker Phaeton. Whether we are buying or selling or just looking, we are always learning and that is the salient feature of this auction. Where else can one see so many different carriages on display, along with all of the requisite appointments? PDC’s own Judy Hahn, a first timer to the auction, says she just “wanted to see what it is all about” and, yes, she’ll be back!
Oct 12- Smitten Farm, The Plains, VA
Thomas and Barbara Wolf, long time members of the PDC (Barbara serves on the Board), also enjoy a long association with the Orange County Hounds, of The Plains, Virginia (Tom has been an active member lo these many years). Sheba – and by now all followers of this web page know who she is – enjoys her status as a well- respected “member” of both organizations, in that she shares the “lines” with Barbara during picnic drives and carries Tom swiftly and safely over Orange County territory on hunting days. There aren’t too many carriage horses who do both, as often or as well, as Sheba!
As a happy consequence of the Wolf’s excellent standing in both the hunting and driving communities, they were able once again to arrange a Club drive though a portion of the magnificent Orange County territory. Eight turn-outs arrived at Gosling Farm in The Plains for a well mapped “go as you please” trip through the beautiful Smitten Farm where many a great TB racehorse got its start) and over the peaceful gravel roads that surround the area. The rest stop was at Cromwell’s Run, recently purchased by the carriage-friendly Wiseman family. We were welcomed by Thomas and Alexa Wiseman, along with their son Thomas who saw his first horse-drawn carriages and appeared to be an instant fan…..is there a pony cart in his future, we wonder?
Barbara drove Sheba with former Master of the Los Altos, Ca. Hunt, Giny Hunter on board – showing her yet another way to enjoy our magnificent countryside. Carl drove his Black Boys to an ECC wagonette (why is this important? ….because it holds a trap door with a cooler) And why is THAT important?....because celebrated coaching horn stylist, Bobby Dryer and his lovely guest Linda Perry were on board…..along with Carl’s wife, Caroline, of course. Silver goblets graced the turn-out for the Pierre-Jouet Champagne Carl brought along in recognition of their 25th Wedding Anniversary.
The ever-stylish Mary Munster drove her Friesian mares with special passenger, Pricilla Hatfield, on board. Pricilla’s mom and dad drove the family pony, “Buster Brown” to a two wheeled cart, so it was nice to have a seat available for her behind Mary’s elegant pair. However old Buster Brown might be (I’ve heard 20, 25, 30), he was the only equine to arrive at the rest stop who didn’t appear to NEED a rest!
Club President Anne Watkins brought “Czar” along for his inaugural outing with the Club. He appears to be everything one could want in a driving horse – attractive, quiet, obedient, willing and he knows his job! Moreover, when she pulled her carriage along side Wayne Porter’s, it was apparent that “Czar” and his “Tucker” (another fool-proof steed) could make a nice pair – right size, right color, right attitude!
Marci and Keith Bade drove their Haflinger mare, Maya. These picnic drives are getting to be “old hat” for her….she places herself well, stands well, and generally seems to enjoy the experience of being out with other carriage horses.
Teresa Young and husband, Seppo Karkkainen, drove their beautiful Friesian mare on her first PDC picnic drive. She was put to a very nice Meadowbrook and she performed splendidly. We certainly hope to see the three of them on many future drives!
Can’t write about a PDC picnic drive without mentioning the food…..and, yes, it was plentiful as ever! Host Thomas had prepared a pork tenderloin, accompanied by applesauce and assorted beans from the Wolf garden. Barbara’s table décor was a profusion of autumn flowers, also from their abundant gardens. Various accompaniments to the main course included sesame noodles with shrimp, corn pudding, deviled eggs, platters of cheeses/crackers/grapes, stuffed muffins, cookies, pumpkin pie and the coup de grace, a delightful sheet cake wishing Carl and Caroline a “Happy 25th Wedding Anniversary” HOW do these people know these things? Apparently there is a “mole” among our equines….
Oct 5- Sky Meadows State Park,Paris, VA
They kept rolling in! Trucks and trailers bearing horses, ponies and carriages converged in the parking area of Sky Meadows State Park in Paris, Virginia. What started out as a conversation between PDC members Vicki Baturay and Judy Hahn…..”Hey, let’s you and I meet at Sky Meadows and check out the trails….” turned into the discovery of a whole new, and at times challenging, venue for the Club. Possibly it was the desire to explore new carriage trails, or maybe it was the turn in the weather, but 10 turn-outs assembled to enjoy the day. Although Vicki and Judy had suggested a couple of routes, it was pretty much “go as you please”. Some headed UP Lost Mountain, while others stayed on the well mowed bottom land.
Caroline Collomb, with hubby Bertrand and groom Edgar, was the only one brave enough to explore the area with a four in hand. She piloted her trusty Haflingers up, up, up until they nearly reached the pinnacle. The trail became narrow and rocky, however, so she was forced to turn around. Carl Cox, Caroline and groom Molly drove the Black Boys part way up the Mountain and then decided to head for the mowed fields, where one didn’t need to act as a “ballast” to keep the carriage level! Al and Vicki Baturay were more adventurous….maybe because they drive sure-footed Haflingers to a sturdy Khunle…so they continued further up the Mountain. Mary Munster surprised everyone by driving Dirk, her Friesian gelding, on his first picnic drive in company (lots of it!) Judy Hahn drove Buddy everywhere and anywhere she wanted to go (he’s THAT kind of horse!) Wayne Porter drove Sweetie and they displayed how nice it is to have a horse that goes the same in/out of company, especially when you have Club President, Ann Watkins on board. Barbara Wolf dropped by to guide Sheba ‘round and through the lower trails before she left for work-related engagement at the Kennedy Center. Happily, Tom was able to stay for the picnic. Sam Davis drove Foxglove directly behind the Cox turnout “because that is where she wants to be”, offered Sam! Marci Bade, with hubby Keith, sent Maya along behind Foxglove. Good Haflinger that she is, Maya always goes politely wherever she is asked! Leslie and Bob Yarbrough drove one of their TB/Connemara mares (which one??? Hard to tell, they are so perfectly matched!) over the mowed trails, to the rest stop and then for another couple of miles before heading back to the picnic.
Ah, the picnic! Judy may be fairly new to the Club, having joined only this year, but she certainly has caught on to what makes for a stellar PDC “Picnic Drive.” Not only did she and Vicki select a picturesque and interesting venue, they placed what was to become a FEAST under huge shade trees, providing a comfortable setting for the many whips, grooms and guests who gathered. The tables were filled with a delightful array of warm (how did you manage THAT, Judy?) quiche, plenty of salads, summer veggies, roast chicken, cheese trays, cakes, cookies and pies plus cider, sodas and a selection of wines to accompany the food. The friendly Ranger who dropped by was kind enough not to notice anything amiss in our selection of beverages (who KNEW that alcohol is frowned upon in the Park…!?!) All agreed that Sky Meadows is a place we want to come back to, again and again! Also, it is possibly a good venue for sleighing, should the weather cooperate this winter.
Oct 4- PDC Exhibition Drive , Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, Warrenton,VA
Three turn-outs from the Piedmont Driving Club exhibited carriages at the stunning Oakwood Estate in Warrenton, Virginia on as part of a ‘Prelude to Autumn’ fundraiser in support of the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, which is based in Northern Virginia.
Caroline Collomb, “Mistress of Oakwood”, drove her four in hand of Haflinger ponies to a Europeanmade wagonette. As she is both gracious and enthusiastic for the sport of driving, she offered many rides around the large oval in front of the Mansion. And so it was, happy Patrons wearing elegant cocktail attire climbed in and out of her carriage without spilling even a drop of Champagne!
Carl Cox brought his own touch of class to the event as he drove his black and shining pair to a stylish surrey. Three women adorned his carriage, all wearing hats that can only be described as “fabulous”. Caroline was beside him, with Debbie Nash and Juli Kordic in the rear seat. All sipped their Champagne from silver goblets while waving to an appreciative crowd on the lawn.
Al Baturay, looking every so handsome on the box seat, drove the Haflinger pair that he shares with his wife, Vicki. The beautifully matched “Nordex” and “Aztec” showed off a German-made carriage with inlaid wood that perfectly complemented their golden coats and flowing, flaxen manes. Vicki’s floral skirt and delicate fuchsia hat created an eye-catching and pleasing contrast.
Sept 28- Drive from Poe's Field, Flint Hill, VA
Hosts Bob and Leslie Yarborough planned a Club picnic drive from Poe’s Field in beautiful Flint Hill,Virginia. Seven turn-outs gathered for a trot down the very scenic North Poe’s Road: Carl and Caroline Cox with their “Black Boys” plus groom, Molly; Mary Munster and guest with her Friesians; Keith and Marci Bade with “Maya”, Tom and Barbara Wolf with “Sheba”, Lisa and Albert Andersen with “Cloud”, Sam Davis and guest with “Foxglove”, and the Yarborough’s with their mare “Strike a Pose” who was on her first solo picnic drive. The young mare is part of the Yarborough’s driving pair and although she’d been with the group while under saddle, it was a new experience for her to come out in harness. Bob and Leslie have been very sensible about the way they’ve started their pair so it was no surprise that this mare performed beautifully – went right down the road in company like a “pro” and stood calmly during the rest stop. They deserve to be very proud of her!
Gale Johnson, land owner in the Old Dominion Hunt territory and great friend to the PDC, hosted therest stop at his picturesque farm. He had invited a number of friends, including several who came “astride”, so it turned out to be quite a party! There was plenty of Champagne, blocks of cheese, baskets of crackers and so forth. All were invited – of course – back to the PDC picnic where the celebration continued over a generous lunch. Leslie set out a beautiful table, tastefully done in autumn décor. She had marinated steak for a day or two, then grilled it to perfection. Yum! Sides included Marci’s sesame noodles, Lisa’s mixed rice/grain/quinoa concoction, Barbara’s fresh-cut string beans among other tasty treats. When in Pennsylvania to have some new harness worked on, Caroline brought back an Amish “shoo fly pecan pie”. That, along with Marci’s homemade apple cake, disappeared in record time!
Beautiful weather, lovely surroundings, and the warmth of the Yarborough’s hospitality came together once again for another great PDC drive.
Sept 20- Ride to Thrive Polo Classic Exhibition, The Plains, VA
Once again the Piedmont Driving Club met at Dr. Seager’s Chetwood Farm, in The Plains, Virginia to perform a carriage exhibition in support of this charity event. Six turnouts participated, each different and each displaying the very best in suitability to the occasion. Carl Cox drove his Black Boys to an ”auto top” surrey. His groom, Alexis, wore jacket/tie/flat cap that smartly complemented the dark green of the vehicle. Carl’s wife Caroline was on board, wearing a contrasting yellow hat and lighter green jacket. Mr. Bobby Dryer signaled each movement of the carriage parade with his coaching horn. Mary Munster drove her Friesian mares to a lovely wagonette. On board was Club President Anne Watkins looking ever so fetching under a large black hat adorned with a bright red flower. The very dapper Gardner Howe performed the duties as groom. The Baturay turnout of golden Haflingers was put to their finest carriage. Al looked impressive as he held the lines wearing a linen jacket and matching Fedora-styled hat. Vicki was stunning in a fuchsia hat and a scarf with tiny flowers that subtly echoed that bold hue. Mary Munster’s second turn-out was another of her Friesians, this time a gelding being driven as a single by her handsome staff member, Yuvani with his equally handsome brother, Adolfo as groom. Wayne Porter looked happy, relaxed and comfortable -- as always -- behind “Sweetie”, his dark bay QH mare. His turnout was enhanced by his lovely passenger, Club member Pat McCann, wearing a lovely hat in tones of brown and beige. Lastly but hardly least came Sam Davis who ALWAYS turns out appropriately. She and guest Cynthia Hill looked the part of proper country ladies out for a pleasant afternoon behind the smartly stepping Connemara mare, “Foxglove.”
The carriages paraded a mile or so over the Chetwood roads to the festivities. Each turnout was properly announced before lining up in front of a huge tent. Everyone was invited to come closer to view the carriages, chat with the whips and share glasses of wine or beer. After about one half hour, carriages departed – some took the “long way” to enjoy the quiet roads that surround the farm, others went directly to their trailers. Club members were then invited to partake of a sumptuous Latin themed buffet, marvel at the exhibition of young riders who are beneficiaries of the Northern Virginia Therapeutic Riding Program, watch a polo match and SHOP the huge silent auction. There was also a live auction that included a trip to Ireland, a trip to Wyoming and – we think BEST of all – an opportunity to ride with Mary Munster on a special carriage outing at the Virginia Arboretum. We thank all the PDC members who worked hard to display the charm and tradition of carriage driving to the hundreds of people who attended this event, and we especially thank Mary for her generous donation. It brought a lot of cash to a very worthy cause.
Sept 14 Picnic Drive, Gleneden, VA
Relatively new to the Club, but hardly to the sport of carriage driving, PDC member Judy Hahn hosted a picnic drive at her Gleneden Farm in Berryville, Virginia. From start to finish, the event was SUPERB! Eight turn-outs participated: Leading the group was Judy Hahn with her bay crossbred gelding, “Buddy”. Leslie and Bob Yarborough drove a lovely bay mare that she also foxhunts, Kitty Newman with “Redwing”, her Farnley pony (also a bay), Marci and Keith Bade with Maya Luv, their Hafflinger mare,
Deb Bauserman with her smooth-moving Haffie, Al and Vicki Batturay with their pair of Haffie’s (do we see a trend here?). But wait, there were a few “dark horses” to round out the group: Mary Munster drove her Friesian girls and Molly Savage drove the Cox “black boys”.
The group travelled through Gleneden (and past a passel of Paint horses!) over to Woodley. For anyone who may not know, Woodley is home to the Blue Ridge Hunt races. It is a pristine estate of over 350 acres and a former home of one of Virginia’s pre-eminent foxhunting families, the Mackay-Smiths. A bit more of the history: Mr. Daniel Sowers bought the land from George Washington’s cousin and built the magnificent main house of pink Flemish bond work. As was typical of early houses built without
benefit of architects, Woodley was likely designed by its owner. It is a fine example of a Georgian house with some Federal conceits (including fanlights, side lights and dentil moldings at the front porch.) The wing was likely built during the Civil War because the brick façade changes from a darker brick to one that is slightly paler. The Civil War would have made it impossible to get bricks and the later shipment was not of the original fabrication. It was in this wing that Alexander Mackay-Smith had his study where he wrote “Foxhunting in North America.” The property boasts 2 generous secondary houses and an eight stall stable that was designed by the Mackay-Smiths to accommodate the hustle of a foxhunting morning. There is also a huge bank barn. This estate remains a working farm to this day.
Woodley is probably best known today as a host site for steeplechase racing, so what a thrill it was for the eight PDC carriages to trot ‘round the mile-plus track! Just before we set off to do that, however, we were treated to a Champagne stop beneath towering shade trees. Who knew that grapes actually taste better when served “kabob” style on sticks, along with chocolate-bottomed macaroons and chocolate covered raisins?!
Back at Gleneden, the happy whips and guests tended to their equines before gathering poolside behind the Hahn’s lovely home. Between the pool and a glistening waterfall we sat to enjoy fried chicken, warm biscuits, salads, more salads, canapes, pie, and Mary Munster’s “cookie sandwiches” (YUM!). There was, of course, a variety of wines and other cool drinks. The Hahn family showed that they are not only avid horse people but very gracious hosts!
Sept 1-10 Acadia Park, ME
The great news is that this was the “second annual” PDC trip to drive the carriage roads of Acadia Park inMaine.....the sad news is that there was only one PDC turnout that made the trip! Carl and Caroline Cox brought their half bred “Black Boys” north again for a fabulous week-plus of driving. The weather was unbeatable! Club President Anne Watkins generously offered a cottage at her family compound on Mt. Desert Island so the three of us (Carl, Caroline – that would be ME, and Anne) made the very best use
of every wonderful moment. We drove every day, save one when rain “threatened”. This group always looks forward for an opportunity to shop, so it was rather nice to turn the horses out for a rest and hit LL Bean, a huge shoe outlet, and possibly the BEST “kitchen” store I, Caroline, have ever seen. ( Fortunately for Carl, there was a large wine selection in the basement level......) There’s nothing quite like being on “the Island” with Anne – she’s been spending summers there for 20? 30? 40? Years and knows ALL the best spots! Like us, our horses were boarded in the very lap of luxury. No mucking/feeding/wondering what to do without turnout......such is the situation at the Park Stables....the Black Boys stayed at Wild Iris Farm, where their every need is met. (If you are not familiar with this place, you MUST “google” it. Your horse is treated as one of their own!)
We met up with last year’s PDC hosts, Gail and Ham Clark, for dinner one night and for a coupleof carriage rides through the Park. The Clarks also hosted a cocktail party for us and several other carriage driving buddies at their spectacular residence on the water. Our friends (and hard working doctors!) Tom and Lisa Sherman (formerly of Warrenton, Va. And now of Rye, N.H.) happened to be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in Bar Harbor (yikes, could they be that old?), thus weput together ANOTHER carriage drive and picnic lunch (with Champagne of course!) in their honor. We were fortunate as well to spend a little time with fellow 4-in-Hand Club member Jimmy Granito. Unfortunately, plans we had to drive with him had to be cancelled due to a situation back at his South Carolina farm.
All in all it was a fabulous trip, well worth the arduous drive one must endure to get there. Maybe nextyear we will have more Club members come up....maybe next year we’ll stay longer....maybe next year we’ll take 3 days, instead of 2, to get there. One thing is for certain, we WILL find a way to gather again at Acadia with as many driving friends as possible! There are still a couple of carriage roads we have not travelled over..... and perhaps a couple of restaurants where we have yet to sample the lobster?!
Aug 7- Sky Meadows State Park, VA
Deb Bauserman, Lindy Hild, her daughter Laurel, Vicki and Al Baturay met for a jaunt around the lovely, grassy and rolling meadows of the Lost Mountain Area of Sky Meadows. Weather was balmy, not a typical day for August. The climb up to the foot
of the Lost Mountain afforded a grand view of the valley below and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.
After about an hour and 20 minutes, we ended our drive with a picnic of course, what would a drive be without one? We set up in the circle of the parking lot between two large and splendid maple trees that provided plenty of shade. While dining on Popeye’s chicken, baked snap peas, water and ice tea, we reminisced about the delightful time we had and plan on getting together again soon.
Aug 6-10- Walnut Hill Carriage Show, NY
PDC members Bob and Leslie Yarborough and Carl and Caroline Cox journeyed to beautiful Pittsford, N.Y. for the 43rd
Anniversary of the Walnut Hill Carriage Driving Competition. There were classes foreverything from mini’s to four-in-hands of coaching horses, including scurries, presentation, carriage dog, ladies’ wicker Phaeton picnic turn-out, fancy dress costume, and more.....Truly the organizers met their stated objective: ...”providing driving enthusiasts with the opportunity to advance the classical driving arts for the improvement of the sport of horse and carriage driving.....and to promote public interest in the contributions made by the horse and carriage to our cultural, economic and social history.”
We were proud to have PDC member Maryalice Matheson serving as one of the judges, and similarly happy to witness PDC member and CAA President Dr. Thomas Burgess take home the ribbons for Reserve Grand champion with his elegant and talented pair of Friesians.
Those of us who were fortunate to attend this event all agreed that it needs to be on next year’s PDC calendar!
July 29-Temple Hall, Leesburg, Va
Vicki & Al Baturay
Alcinda & Priscilla Hatfield
After a long layup Redwing was feeling his alfalfa hay by giving Kitty Newman a very sprightly ride on the grassy trails of the Farm. Teresa Young joined Al and me on our carriage and helped serve the champagne at the rest stop on a lovely shaded part of the trail. Wayne Porter was joined by Anne Watkins and Alcinda & Priscilla Hatfield followed to complete the drive.
Afterwards, we all tackled the canopy which needs one person at each leg and one person in the middle to push up the tent portion. “Easy to assemble” say the instructions, right..... After much deliberation it was finally up. We then proceeded to load up the small table with spicy and mild Popeye’s Chicken, three salads; green, fruit and pasta, cheese and bread, chocolate cake, cookies, ice teas, water, beer and wine. The conversation was lively with stories and laughs all around. We also toasted Kitty and Redwing’s come back and hope to see more of them at future drives. We had so much fun it was around 4:00 PM before we realized it. ( writen by Vicki Baturay)
July 20- Luray Caverns, Luray, Va
Eleven Members of the PDC went to Luray Caverns in Virginia on a muggy July day.....and what did they “discover?” Well, many things....the first is that you don’t have to be sitting on a carriage to enjoy one! The Carriage/Car Museum boasts a delightful collection of antique vehicles including many carriages and many more automobiles. It was fascinating to explore the striking similarities between early carriages and early cars.....the springs, wheels, body, “boot”, “bonnet” and dash boards were much the
same in every case. This is a collection well worth the trip for anyone who loves carriages! The price of admission also included a guided tour though the world famous Luray Caverns and access to The Museum of the Luray Valley as well as a model farm and many shops, etc. from a by-gone era.
A full morning’s worth of exploration left us with a powerful hunger so we motored over to the Mimsyln Inn, another historic landmark in Luray. Who knew they’d have a HUGE seafood buffet, a lovely private dining room and a 1930’s era jazz pianist waiting for us? (Probably Vicki knew....she’d done an “advance” on the restaurant because she understands that food is an indispensable component of every PDC gathering.....) The restaurant was marvelous, a perfect ending for a very interesting and enjoyable day!
July 13- Long Branch Plantation, Millwood,Va
It was almost too hot, a little too muggy, and yet there was an intermittent breeze and overcast skies. Some folks figured that since we are certain to have better carriage days ahead, it might be best to “sit this one out”.....maybe catch the World Cup Soccer final between Argentina and Germany in the comfort of one’s air conditioned home, maybe float about in the pool all day.
“Some” but not all: despite the disparaging weather, 7 turn outs arrived at Long Branch for a late morning drive. Molly Savage drove Team Cox’s “Black Boys” with owners Carl and Caroline drinking chilled wine in the back. Mary Munster drove her Friesian girls with Club President Anne Watkins and Kitty Newman on board. Al and Vicki Baturay came along with their Haflinger pair. Single turn outs included Wayne Porter with “Tucker”, Debbie Bauserman with her Haflinger (and guest DebbieFeemster, an accomplished whip, on board), Judy Hahn with “Buddy” and her girls on board, and Sam Davis with “Foxglove”, her pretty Connemara mare.
Anne Watkins had arranged for a lovely shaded rest stop about 2 miles from Long Branch. We all met there for Champagne, crisps, goldfishies... and also for shade, rest and chatter. PDC Members Ben Cox and wife Elizabeth Cummings had volunteered to serve the treats. Another member, Lisa Andersen, appeared with buckets of cool water, sponges and sweat scrapers and very kindly worked to cool off each horse and pony. There had been some hills, a lot of walking and a bit of trotting and we were pleased that all the equines appeared to tolerate the weather and the exercise very well. (Us, well, maybe not so much!) The three pair turned back for Long Branch while the four singles continued another mile or so to the Shenandoah. Go figure!
Back at Long Branch we had set up tables on the back lawn under large shade trees. Picnic host for the day, Caroline, had previously decided that we should have a “cold plate” theme and so it was that our luncheon included chilled teriyaki chicken salad, caprese, wonderful chunks of melon, cold beets, broccoli and assorted other salads, caviar-topped deviled eggs, fruit tart, more fruit, cookies and cupcakes....all this plus chilled wine, sodas, water and such. With horses and ponies sponged off and
resting in their shaded trailers, and everyone balancing full plates on their laps in the shade of stately Long Branch, it became a most pleasant day!
And, yes, we did return home in time to watch Germany’s historic win.....
July 5- Morven Park Show and Picnic Drive, Leesburg, Va
The Carriage Driving Show held on July 5 at Morven Park boasted 50 entries - that is DOUBLE thenumber they had in 2013! Piedmont Driving Club Members Dr. Tom Burgess, Mary Munster, Lisa Andersen and Wayne Porter took home many of the ribbons!
The following day Members of the PDC joined with other driving enthusiasts to traverse 7-8 miles of well marked carriage trails that wound through the historic estate, once home to Westmoreland Davis, a former Governor of Virginia. We were again blessed with exceptional weather. There was enough of a breeze to discourage any flies and the temperature was comfortable for horses and people alike.As we neared the Mansion we came upon a small tent that over shadowed a table. Volunteers from the
previous day’s show greeted us with Mimosa’s and plates of delectables: prosciutto-wrapped melon, smoked salmon on crackers, mini-quiche, rugula, brownies, fresh fruit and other tasty bites.
We took our rest beside the expansive lawn, happy for the opportunity to chat with each other and enjoy looking at the large variety of turn-outs. A highlight of the day was the “gaggle” of VSE’s – so many participated, and each was cute, able and special in its own way. They served as a reminder of how versatile the equine is!
July 4- Carriage Exhibition , Great Meadow, The Plains, Va
The Piedmont Driving Club was again invited to display carriages in connection with the Annual Independence Day Celebration at Great Meadow. It was a time of choices, however, so with the Morven Park Carriage Show occurring on July 5 members had to choose. PDC members Dr. Tom Burgess, Mary Munster, Lisa Anderson and Wayne Porter each decided that to do both would have been a bit of a squeeze so they opted for the Saturday Show. Despite this “split”, Club members will get back together on Sunday for a Pleasure Drive (and picnic!) over the expanded carriage trails at Morven Park.
Five turn-outs went to Great Meadow and what a “show” THEY put on! PDC member Molly Savage who is the Lead Groom for Team Cox turned out the Cox wheelers (aka the “Black Boys”) to an elegant auto-topped surrey. She and groom Veronica Demarest looked sharp in blue jackets, red striped ties and black bowlers. Carl and Caroline Cox sipped Champagne in the back seat, careful not to spill it on their best “bib and tuck”. Carl is still wearing his brace but we wonder if he isn’t being spoiled a bit
with Molly handling the reins. Al and Vicki Baturay turned out their solid gold Haflingers to a custom built wagonette, further adorned by guest (and PDC member) Adrienne Brooks who looked splendid in red white and blue. Tom and Barbara Wolf were once again a picture of elegance behind “Sheba” whose black coat glistened with every powerful stride. “Maya Luv”, the pretty Haflinger mare, pulled a Bird in Hand wagonette that was festooned in patriotic splendor and displayed several American flags. Marci guided her effortlessly around the course with Keith waving to the appreciative crowd. Lastly – but hardly least – came Sam Davis and guest Cynthia Hill, both in the colors of the day. Sam drove her bay Connemara mare, “Foxglove” to a British-made (of course!) competition gig. Foxglove made the trip around the Great Meadow course before a cheering throng of thousands in an OPEN bridle. Did I mention that Sam had bred, raised and trained this pony? She was absolutely flawless despite all the unfamiliar sights and sounds.
The weather was perfect, the crowd very enthusiastic and our trip around the famous race course was spot on. “How could anything be better than this?” we thought as we loaded up our trailers for the trip home. Those of us who returned for the evening’s festivities soon learned that things would just keep getting better and better... The Great Meadow Foundation had given the Club two rail spots and numerous parking passes in appreciation for our efforts. Club member Pat McCann was unable to participate in the carriage exhibition this year so she quietly volunteered to “host” at the rail. Have you ever felt like you were “guest of honor” at your own party? This is pretty much how we felt when we joined the tailgate! Pat and friends put together the most magnificent outside dining experience one could ever imagine. The tables were beautiful, there were chairs for all (for viewing the display of fireworks to come). The food was superb – fried chicken, grilled salmon, inspired salads, fruits, sweets
& savories....plenty of wine and summer drinks. Friend of the PDC, Erika Payne, set up a lap top that continually rotated pictures of our carriages as they travelled over Great Meadow. Such fun to watch! We thank Pat for attending to every detail of the party and adding her gracious touch to a lovely day.
Oh, and by the way, the fireworks were pretty awesome as well!
June 29 4th of July Rehearsal, Great Meadow, The Plains, Va
On Sunday, June 29, 2014 eleven members of the Piedmont Driving Club met under our favorite tree at Great Meadow in The Plains, Va. for a dual purpose meeting. Team Cox brought out the “Black Boys”put to a wagonette for a preview of the grounds. Lead Groom Molly Savage took the reins and guided the pair around the race course, past the viewing stand and then over the many inviting gravel roads that circle the grounds. Passengers included the “still mending” Carl Cox plus Caroline, Club President Anne Watkins, Mary Munster, and Kitty Newman. Barbara and Tom Wolf followed with ”Sheba” put to a village cart. Plans were set for the July 4 Carriage Exhibition. We only hope that the weather will be as lovely as it was this day!
Meanwhile Marci and Keith Bade were fast at work setting up tables and chairs for our meeting/picnic. Once the horses and carriages were put up we gathered for the MAIN EVENT.... A very special birthday party for a very special fellow.....our Keith turned 70 years young this very day! Of course there was a lovely cake, plenty of flowers and several very funny cards. Marci spent 3 days marinating the pork tenderloin to which she added her signature sesame noodles. Accompanying dished included a luscious green salad, a ranch potato salad, chips/dips and the biggest, sweetest strawberries we’ve seen this season! Pat McCann managed to arrive just in time for the luncheon with a bowl of cherries and a plate of Pimm’s cookies. We toasted Keith (quite a few times!) with Champagne, Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay......somebody said there was delicious homemade iced tea as well (but I must have missed it with all the wine....!)
June 15-PDC Picnic Drive, Locust Hill, The Plains, VA
The Piedmont Driving Club was pleased to find a NEW venue for picnic drives thanks to the generosity of Magalen O. Bryant, owner of the beautiful Locust Hill Farm in The Plains. Her grandson, Michael Webert manages the farm and is assisted by horse-manager Karen Russell. Together they developed a plan for the Club’s drive that included mowing the parking area as well as many pathways along the fields. The route that they chose allowed for our rest stop on the grassland where the Orange County
Races are run. PDC Board Members Mark Duffell and Barbara Wolf (assisted of course by hubby Tom) coordinated with them, ensuring all the details that made for a spectacular 7+ mile drive. There was plenty of shade along tree-lined lanes that boasted both excellent footing and gorgeous scenery. Arrangements were made to pass through neighboring Foxbrook, the farm of Dr. William and Valerie Lees who came out and took pictures as we came up the driveway (careful not to flatten even ONE beautiful plant!)
Mark arranged for a very memorable “rest stop” hosted by Whitestone’s secretary, Laura and her son.They were tasked with serving the cucumber sandwiches and other goodies that Mark HIMSELF had prepared in the wee hours that morning. These were accompanied by Champagne, Mimosas and Sangria -- absolutely delightful! After the drive there was a huge picnic luncheon in a shaded meadow. Once again Mark, Barbara and Tom left nothing to chance – while the Club was driving Mark had been heating a huge pan of Whitestone beef barbecue and thus it was bubbly hot and delicious when the hungry crowd gathered for lunch. Side dishes included Barbara’s nearly famous wild rice salad, freshly made veggie casseroles, more salads, fruit compote and plenty of deserts. Nothing says “summer” like strawberry shortcake and Marci’s did not disappoint! (And there’s nothing like canned whipped cream to liven up a party. Laura’s son put it on everything...) Wine and chilled mojitos flowed freely,
along with tea and lemonade. The eight turn-outs for the day included Mark and his fancy pair of Paint Drafts (with guest Erin, plus Michael & Valerie Webert and their 2 year old son William on board for his inaugural “Father’s Day” ride), Mary Munster with her Friesians (Club President Anne Watkins and Pat McCann on board), Barbara and Tom Wolf with “Sheba”, Lisa Anderson driving “Cloud” (hubby Albert and guest from Journeyman Tack on board), Judy Hahn driving her handsome crossbred “Buddy” (4 guests/grooms), Marci and Keith Bade with their lovely Haflinger mare, “Maya”, Sam Davis and her Connemara mare “Foxglove” (and guest), Alcinda Hatfield with hubby. She drove the smallest and probably most game pony, “Buster Brown”.
Not driving, but there to offer support and sample the wines, were Carl and Caroline Cox and Club VicePresident Maryalice Matheson - Thomas. Carl was sporting a sling following recent surgery to repair a torn shoulder. For anyone who may not know, he “fell off the wagon” quite literally at an earlier drive after loading his carriage. And yes, this occurred BEFORE the apres-drive party...!)
June 8- PDC open drive, Blandy, Boyce,VA
Social/Activities Chairperson Vicki Baturay, who designs the pretty fliers sent out to announce upcoming events, came up with yet another great idea! Since the Blandy Farm at the Virginia Arboretum is a public venue, why not gather driving enthusiasts from neighboring Clubs to join with the PDC for a drive through these lovely grounds....with picnic to follow, of course.
Wholeheartedly embracing this idea, Board member Wayne Porter agreed (with the help of his lovelywife, Elizabeth) to host the occasion. Wayne drove trusty “Tucker” to his beautiful new carriage with Elizabeth at his side and Club member Cynthia Daly on board. Al and Vicki Baturay brought two guests along in their carriage behind “Nordex” and his younger buddy “Aztec“. Barbara drove “Sheba” to her high riding road cart, with hubby Tom as navigator. The most memorable turn-out of the day had to be the Frost carriage: The came all the way from Pennsylvania with Mike, Debbie, 2 daughters, one son-in-law, 2 grand-kids and a 2 month old baby. One very attractive and able Haflinger pulled the whole family, save one who stayed behind! They reported that they had a GRAND time and we are so happy to hear that as they are relatively new members.
Perhaps it was the threatening weather (it did actually rain a bit....) but we were joined by only one person from another Driving Club. She drove a very cute VSE (I still call them “mini’s”) and seemed to enjoy both the venue and the picnic.
Since I was not actually present for any of this (Hubby Carl Cox was home recovering from surgery to atorn rotator cuff), I shall quote in part an email I received from Barbara Wolf:
“Not as hot as expected thanks to clouding up and breeze, but once we were out, the sky darkened steadily to the NW and wind picked up. Baturays went first and Vicki navigated around the grounds. Frosts followed us and kept a very nice pace – we were sandwiched by Haflingers! Who knows when or where Wayne went, indeed there are many options at Blandy. We eventually got into the woods on some fairly narrow trails, not exactly suited to carriage horses. But we made it out eventually. We were going to kid new member Mike Frost about giving him the “steering audition” in the woods – and noted that he passed with flying colors! By the time we approached the parking area again there was clearly a storm brewing: we’d been sprinkled on several times, dark clouds were moving in, and there had been a distant lightening flash or two. Time to come in. When we got back who should we encounter but Lisa and Albert Andersen. They’d been riding 4 year olds, acclimating them to the sights and sounds of carriages.....The rain held off and Club President Anne Watkins had arrived in time for the picnic. The Frosts are a cheerful bunch and had a good time in spite of the foreshortened drive; he was just as glad, actually, since it was a new experience to drive in a group and the weather was risky at best. Baby never made a peep and the little kids were very nice. Great addition to the Club, for sure! Lisa and Albert returned as the picnic was winding down but they were hungry and had a huge amount of watermelon amply marinated in blueberry vodka, so they ate while people admired the new Kentucky Break in the trailer, and the watermelon disappeared. By the time we finished the picnic, the storm had blown by to the north and the sun was out.”
It all goes to show that no matter how many or how few members of the Piedmont Driving Club gather together, everyone can be assured of a good time!
May 21 Your Hat Lady Event, Warrenton,va
Once again members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club were invited to gather for a sampling of “Chapeaux and Canapes” at Gertie Edwards’ shop in Warrenton, Va. Your Hat Lady never disappoints! She had a huge collection of spring and summer hats for us to try and we bought quite a few! Among the happy hat shoppers were Vicki Baturay, Caroline Collomb, Caroline Cox, Teresa Young and Pat McCann. Yes, Carl Cox also managed to find the “perfect” hat, this one to complement his newly acquired rain gear for his roof seat break. Sadly some of our “regulars” were still in England at the “post Windsor” festivities. Gracious Gertie provided no end of sandwiches, fruit and cheeses platters and homemade goodies to accompany the bubbles we discretely brought along (!) Afterwards we had a delicious meal at “Sibby’s”, arguably some of the BEST barbecue south of the Mason-Dixon Line.
May 18- Great Meadow, The Plains , VA
Fifteen Members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club met on a spectacular Spring Sunday, May 18, to drive the roads and fields of the Great Meadow Event Center, home of the Virginia Gold Cup. This drive had been cancelled earlier in the season due to uncooperative weather. We did not have as many carriages as we had previously planned for because many Members had been lured to England for the Windsor Horse show (and who can blame them for giving in to THAT temptation!).
The tone was set: leisurely, “go as you please”, so it was the kind of day where participants set their own pace and travelled where they wished. Views of the race course were magnificent, as were the scenic hills that surround it. The adjacent “Fleming Farm”, which is comprised of a couple of hundred acres had just been purchased by the Great Meadow Foundation. Plans are to build a world-class “three day eventing” venue on that site. Gates were left open for the Club so we were able to preview the land from our carriages. We drove through lovely groves of trees and around old corn fields to another open area where we discovered bull dozers and other heavy equipment “at rest”. Obviously work has already begun to transform this newly acquired land. Our gracious host, Mr. Robert Banner (Event Manager for Great Meadow) told us to expect additional roads suitable for carriage driving once the project is finished.
In all there were 5 turn-outs: Caroline Cox drove her “Black Boys” to a wagonette, while husband Carl gave a few pointers in between sips of Champagne. Tom Wolf, ousted as he was from his own carriage, popped the corks. Barbara drove “Sheba”, turning the reins over from time to time to Leslie Yarborough. Lisa Andersen drove “Cloud” to a wagonette brimming over with friends: Pat Flynn and her daughter Barbara Ferneyhough (both new members to the PDC….Pat is retired from a lifetime of breeding, showing and promoting the “Ragamuffin” cat and Barbara still rides at the Grand Prix level). No room today for Albert so he rode his impressive 17.3 h. hunter along side the carriage. Marci Bade drove “Maya” and brought along a friend, Christine Pearson, while Keith set up for the picnic. The Cox turn-out was happy to welcome back Groom Veronica who just finished her first year at Virginia Tech. Lead Groom Molly, who as most of you know is a professional photographer in “real life,” spent the better part of the day taking pictures. Bob Yarborough’s principle duty was to exercise “Dina’, their beautiful and sweet-natured German Shepherd. For all concerned, whether on or off a carriage, it was a day for simple pursuits and relaxation. Even on such a day, however, this group managed to work up an appetite. Eventually a huge circle formed under a shade tree and the table was set. Marci had grilled spare ribs all evening – just fabulous! These were accompanied by fried chicken, Lisa’s “secret recipe” coleslaw, Caroline’s broccoli salad, Barbara’s fantastic bean concoction, pimento dip, deviled eggs, homemade potato salad, decadent “brownies-by-Marci” and of course plenty of drink choices. It was certainly a pleasant way to spend a day in the country!
May 11 PDC Drive from Innisfree, Round Hill, Virginia on Mother’s Day, May 11, 2014
Once again, Members and guests of the Piedmont Driving Club wrapped up an afternoon of carriage driving and comraderie with CAKE – birthday cake, of course! But allow me to page back through the day, for there is so much more to report, and I’ll get to the cake….
With temps in very agreeable low 80’s, puffy clouds and verdant green as far as one could see, 6 carriages set out to travel the quiet gravel roads from Doug and Queenie’s Innisfree, home to their many chestnut-hued Thoroughbred (yes!) driving horses. There was a plan afoot…..we needed to get Doug off his mower (as he was still “making ready” for company) and AWAY from the property. Queenie insisted that she could manage setting up for the picnic that was to be held in the stable following the drive. Doug never questioned that, why would he? This was Queenie, his wife, life-partner, care-taker of all things great and small (horses, Dalmations, cats and chickens…), and most loyal supporter. We convinced Doug that he could be more useful in the Cox carriage, where he would sit beside Whip Molly Savage as she led the group on a 6.5 mile drive. Carl and Caroline Cox sat in the rear of the wagonnette with Marci Bade’s son and his fiancé while Doug provided commentary on the many estates and points of interest along the way. Following were Barbara and Tom Wolf with ”Sheba” put to a lovely village cart. As usual they were a pleasing picture –
Tom in jacket and tie, Barbara in a spring dress with a lovely hat – but this time they were completely out-classed by Sheba who wore a simple strand of PEARLS around her sleek neck! After all it was Mother’s Day, a time to celebrate feminine pulchritude…
Albert Anderson once again squired his lovely wife Lisa via a cart he restored. “Cloud” responded beautifully to his strong but sensitive hands. Albert, as you may know, spends much of his day fashioning metal into intricate and often delicate shapes. Deb Bauserman and guest were stunningly dapper behind her Hafie gelding. No more struggles for her – with a new trailer that houses both horse AND carriage, she simply slips both out, dons harness, puts to and goes…..! Marci and Keith Bade drove “Maya” to their new carriage and after the rest stop made a switch of passengers, bringing her son and fiancé back to the picnic while Keith joined the Cox carriage. Judy Hahn came again with “Buddy”, her handsome Standardbred/Percheron gelding, strong enough to pull several members of “Team Gleneden” in the Bronson Wagon. They are a pleasure to watch – each has his/her job and the horse is
always the center of attention. They are careful to see he gets what he needs, be it a pat, a rub or a cooling spray when his work is done.
The group travelled together through the quaint village of Unison and up to the top of a very special meadow – special because it was nearly lost to a developer who sought to plant 28 houses there and now, thanks in part to Doug and Queenie, it remains forever in scenic easement. Queenie, Lisa and Marci had conspired earlier to provide us with Mango Mojitos and canapes stuffed with crab and chicken while we rested horses, chatted and savored the view. On certain dates one can observe the sun set in one direction while the moon rises in another – spectacular! After a leisurely trot to Innisfree, we arrived back at the Kemmerer Stable to find that it had been totally transformed. The plan worked! In Doug’s absence, Queenie had managed to string Happy Birthday banners, balloons and decorations throughout. And on the table, of course, was an enormous cake inscribed, “Happy Birthday Doug”. Who knew that this was his 76th birthday????? Well, we all did, but we never let on and he was TOTALLY surprised! There was plenty of food and fun (the standard for a PDC picnic!) but one thing about the venue that made it extra special was Doug and Queenie’s tack room……those who took the time to enter saw a lifetime of carriage adventures depicted in pictures. Doug, as many of us already knew, has experienced more on the box seat (behind single, pair, team and tandem turn outs) than most of us will ever even be able to read about! He is a legend in the art and sport of driving and we of the PDC are honored by the interest he takes in our simple pursuits! Indeed it was a very Happy Birthday for everyone present.
May 4-North Wales, Warrenton,va
A Festival of “Firsts”….
There were plenty of “FIRSTS” on this delightful spring day: FIRST time ever that the Club has been invited to drive the beautiful grounds of the North Wales Estate in May. Previously we have been asked to wait until October, after haying and all crops were harvested. Everything about the day was lovely, with the grounds freshly green from a well-soaked April, and our horses ready for a brisk trot over welcoming roads. It was, however, WINDY! In all we travelled over 7 miles of the estate, but were reticent to approach the lowlands and the water crossings due to the torrential rains of the past couple of weeks.
Nice that the Whitestone folks thought to bring along an agile, young proper British groom -- he was better able than most of us to pop off the carriage and retrieve the many hats lost to the relentless breeze (It was the very dapper-looking Tom’s FIRST outing with us as well and we hope to see him often!) This was also the FIRST time Whitestone’s Mark Duffell brought out his handsome (and formidable!) pair of Paint geldings. They were a perfectly behaved splash of color, even bigger than his Belgian pair. Mark drove them to a wagonette full of happy guests: George Lemm, Kirsi Kaiser, Dixie Noffsinger, Nancy Adracsek and Robin Clewes. Another FIRST came in the form of “Team Gleneden”, new PDC member Judy Hahn’s spectacular turn-out. Her handsome crossbred gelding was put to a beautifully restored Bronson Wagon and everyone—whip, grooms, horse and carriage were decked-out in matching blue appointments. Very nice! Another “FIRST?” Mary Munster left her Friesian girls at home but she shared reinsmanship duties with Wayne Porter, driving his smooth-moving Chestnut gelding. Club President Anne Watkins, accompanied by PDC member Kitty Newman and groom Alita, drove the cute and steady “Windsor Greys”. Despite the wind, Club Vice President Maryalice Matheson managed to school Bob and Leslie Yarborough’s snappy TB/Connemara mares…..with plenty of nicely executed turns, stops and “stand please” in pair harness. Also a FIRST: Team Cox’s Lead Groom Molly Savage made her debut as sole whip of the Cox carriage. She kept the Cox “Black Boys” up in the bridle while Carl continued to nurse his separated shoulder with a few glasses of Champagne and Caroline spent her time in the back of the wagonette trying to keep her hat on her head, her skirt in a respectable place and chatting all the while with the very charming Tom Adracsek, a spill-over guest from the Whitestone carriage. Not quite a “FIRST”, but happening more and more: Albert Anderson drove “Cloud” while wife Lisa appeared to concentrate on nothing more than looking relaxed and gorgeous at his side. “Sheba” (and by now you ALL know who she is) demonstrated that she is happy and obedient at the other end of the lines wherever Barbara chooses to place her, thus the Wolfs (Tom and Barbara) presented an elegant picture congruent with the spectacular location. For sure that is NOT a “FIRST” for them, as they can always be counted on to turn out with grace and style! FIRST, last and in the middle at times, Marci and Keith Bade piloted the ONLY Haflinger of the day (and THAT is another “FIRST” for this Club). The lovely “Maya” hauled Marci, Keith, and ALL of the food and drink that Keith served so gallantly (despite 30 mph gusts?!) at the rest stop atop the farm. When we weren’t clutching our hats, spilling Champagne and dropping canapes in our laps, we enjoyed the panoramic view.
What a great group of horses we have, they stood like statues through it all! Then “Maya” gamely trotted back to the picnic site where Marci and Keith had stretched out tables laden with marvelous food, flowers and a few heavy LOGS, just to keep everything in place. We were met by the ever-enthusiastic PDC member Teresa Young (and we so look forward to her FIRST club outing with her harness horse!) Fortunately the elegant stable yard of North Wales is quite sheltered from the kind of wind we experienced on other parts of the farm. Or maybe, with all that fried chicken, lamb, salad, deviled eggs, veggie casseroles, wine, more wine, Marci’s SANGRIA, and a few left-over bottles of Champagne, we simply forgot about the wind? Finally, and this is hardly a FIRST for this Club. we all gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Club President Anne Watkins! The whole thing ended, of course, with cake……again, NOT a PDC “FIRST”!
April 18-It was decided that the Piedmont Driving Club would suspend picnic drives in much of the Northern Virginia territory due to at least one confirmed case of Equine Herpes Virus-1 (EHV-1) in the area. Consequently the drives planned for Easter Sunday (April 20/Innisfree Farm, Round Hill) and for the following Sunday (April 27/Glen Bolton Farm, The Plains) have been cancelled, with the hope that they can be rescheduled once this crisis has been resolved. Plans are being made for “non-driving” activities, so please continue to check your emails.
On a happier note, take a look at the lovely painting that will be entered into a contest in Baltimore. Michele (?) painted the picture of Club President Anne Watkins and friends from a photo she took at last year’s drive from Philip Carter Winery in Hume, Va.
The May/June issue of “In and Around Horse Country” features an article about the Club’s 2013 season that was submitted by yours truly (Caroline Cox). Of the many photos also submitted, they chose to include three with the article, hence Carl Cox, Mary Munster, and Lisa Anderson have perhaps achieved a modicum of fame!
April 13 Kittery Point Farm Bluebell Drive , Va
Piedmont Driving Club President Anne Watkins left nothing to chance as she hosted the Club for this stellar event! At a balmy 80-plus degrees, it was the warmest day so far this year, with just the right touches of sunshine through billowy clouds and gentle breezes. The route from her farm to the Shenandoah was lovely, with plenty of daffodils along the way and a vivid profusion of blue bells all along the river banks. Fourteen turn-outs, including one pair under saddle, made the delightful 7 ½ mile journey to a waterfall and back. There was, of course, a rest stop in a meadow along the way. In keeping with the celebration, Champagne flowed along with plenty of good cheer on the part of Whips, grooms, guests and neighbors who gathered to view the carriages.
Turn-outs included: Carl and Caroline Cox driving their 4 in Hand with new PDC members Michael and Debbie Frost, plus grooms Molly and Alexis on board; Anne Watkins driving her “Windsor greys” with PDC member Kitty Newman and groom Alita; Mary Munster plus grooms driving her Friesian mares, Al and Vicki Baturay driving their Hafflinger pair, Caroline and Bertrand Collomb plus groom driving their Hafflinger pair, Debbie Bauserman and guest driving her Hafflinger, Marci and Keith Bade, driving their Hafflinger mare ……wait, do we see a trend here?....well, not everyone in the Club drives Haffies (at least not yet!). There was also Pat McCann and guest with her Saddlebred/cross, Wayne Porter and guest with his QH, Lisa and Albert Andersen with their Percheron crossbred (and did we see Albert take the lines for a while? Yes we did!), Sam Davis drove the venerable Torr (more on them later!); New PDC member Judy Hahn,a neighbor of Anne’s, drove a lovely dark bay to a natural wood four wheel vehicle and let’s not forget Alcinda and Tom Hatfield with their HALF Hafflinger! Rounding out the group, Leslie Yarbrough and friend rode her pair of TB/Connemara mares and she promises that soon she will bring them in harness.
On such a beautiful day with so many lovely turn-outs to view, there were plenty of appreciative guests. Anne’s neighbors are well aware of this annual event and rarely miss the opportunity to come out. They join us of course for the sumptuous luncheon she and the Club lay out beneath the eaves of Anne’s stable. To get the party started, Vicki Baturay greeted each person with a little cup of “blue bell cheer”. She’s been at it again: this time she suspended blue berries in “shots” of Jello that had been infused with vodka and BLUE curacao, creating a delightful-looking and tasty treat. This year Anne also invited members from her bridge club, a fun loving group for sure. It was a day of celebration as the Club met for its traditional “opening meet” at Kittery Point. Lunch was “over the top” with spring lamb, beef tenderloin, fried chicken, soup, about a dozen different salads, quiche(s), beans, beets, fresh asparagus, chips/dips, crackers/cheeses, wine and even more Champagne. It was also Carl Cox’s birthday so there was, of course, cake for all. The most honored guest, however, had four legs: Founding member Sam Davis brought “Torr” to the party. Perhaps one of the earliest equine members of the PDC, the Connemara came to celebrate his 30thbirthday with carrot cake and several swigs of Guinness straight from the bottle. And, yes, he took his beloved Sam for a cart trip, although not quite down to the river (Torr has seen it many, many times anyway!) Having Torr celebrate his longevity with us at the party presented an opportunity for each of us to reflect on our own horses/ponies and to appreciate that without their willingness to serve and their inherent patience and kindness, we could never know the joys of carriage driving.
April 6 Temple Hall, Leesburg, Va
With the deluge of last weekend but a soggy memory, ten turn-outs gathered to drive the soon-to-be verdant fields of Temple Hall Farm in Leesburg, Va. So eager were Club members to be “a-horse”, they came with shaggy, shedding coats and carriages that were perhaps a bit dusty, but with no lack of enthusiasm. Leslie Yarbrough even came WITHOUT her carriage….so to exercise her new pair of TB/Connemara mares, she enlisted the aid of good friend Emma and they rode astride among the carriages. Janet Olcutt and hubby Mike ARRIVED as members of a neighboring Club, the “Weekend Whips” and LEFT as members of the PDC. Their pair of snowball minis took the day’s “awe, how adorable!” award -- hands down. The little pair trotted gamely among the PDC turn-outs which included Carl Cox’s (no doubt daunting) 4 in Hand of crossbred black geldings. Caroline was beside him as grooms Molly and Alexis flawlessly performed their duties. Also enjoying the day were: Club President Anne Watkins’s “Windsor greys” with Kitty Newman and groom Alita, Mary Munster’s pair of Friesian mares, the Baturay’s dapper Haflinger geldings, Pat McCann’s elegant-looking saddlebred cross with Mary Jo Beckman on board, Wayne Porter’s big QH with guest Maureen, Debbie Bauserman’s able Haflinger accompanied by Debby Feemster, and the still hunting-fit Sheba with Barbara Wolf at the other end of her lines. Tom was, of course, at her side.
Temple Hall is a welcoming venue for many equestrian pursuits, with wide grass trails that also wind through the woods. There are inviting stream crossings and even piles of logs to pop over (intended we believe for those who come WITHOUT carriages….and while we did not witness it, I expect that since Leslie and Emma have regularly fox hunted her mares, they may have sailed over a few of these.) As a working farm, Temple Hall is a place where horses can be safely desensitized to chickens, peacocks, sheep, pigs and several unusual looking breeds of cattle.
As it was early in our season, this outing was promoted as a “tune up” drive…..an opportunity to go at one’s own pace. It was up to each whip whether to stay on the trails which circled the mowed cornfields, wind through the woods and go in/out of streams, or stick to the farm roads that would take us past machinery, sheds, and all of the afore-mentioned animals. So accommodating is the staff at Temple Hall, the farm manager paid us a visit to ask how we enjoyed our experience and to remind us to sign their guest log. This would help, he pointed out, in future allocations of Park assets for equestrian activities.
With so many decisions to make as to where to drive, at what pace, whom to follow, whom to avoid (!) and so forth, it is no wonder we were famished by the end of it all. So, in keeping with the traditions of the PDC, we put up our horses, ponies and VSE’s (the PROPER term, I am told, for “minis”) and then we hurried over to several long tables that were over-laden with food and drink. If the array presented is any indication, there are bountiful times ahead for the PDC! There was fried chicken, vegan-friendly squash soup, pasta casserole, fruit salads, bean salad, chicken salad, tuna salad, sandwiches, chips, dips, cheeses, pies, cookies, left-over birthday cake (what?! Yes, 3 PDC members celebrated together earlier in the week and even they could not finish the enormous cake that was presented to them….) the weather, the venue, the feast and the friendship – it all made for a perfect day!
March 29-Glen Bolton Farm The Plains, VA
Due to heavy rains throughout the area, the picnic drive that was scheduled for March 29 at Mary Munster’s Glen Bolton Farm in The Plains has been postponed until.
March 15- Blandy Farm Boyce,VA
The Piedmont Driving Club has decided to schedule 4 “tune up” drives prior to our Opening Drive which is scheduled for April 13, 2014 from Club President Anne Watkins’s Kittery Point Farm in Berryville, Virginia
The first of these drives occurred on Sunday, March 15, 2014 at the Virginia Arboretum, Blandy Farm, in Boyce, Virginia. It was two days prior to St. Patrick’s Day -- close enough for a “Wearin’ of the Green” theme! Who knew that on St. Patrick’s Day there would be a foot of snow at Blandy? Could it be that the “O’Baturays” were ken (that’s an old Celtic word that roughly translates to “they knew about it”) to this outcome? Clever and crafty, the “O’Baturays” concocted the Club’s first picnic drive in 60-plus degree temps, with mild winds. ‘Tis sure there was no GREEN at Blandy, but happily there was no SNOW either. As with all of the “tune up” drives, the idea was to give Club members the opportunity to reunite equine, harness and carriage with as little stress as possible. The decision was made to make these drives “come as you are, go as you please….have as much fun as you can”…..with no worries!
Carl Cox was so relaxed about the whole thing that he simply handed over the reins to Team Cox Lead Groom Molly Savage, while he and Caroline and new PDC member Teresa Young polished off a bottle (or 2?) of Champagne. Mary “McMunster” piloted her Friesian girls throughout the Blandy grounds with Club President Anne Watkins at her side. The “O’Baturays” could be seen driving their McHaflinger pair across the fields where they were observed at least once on a “stop” (an Irish whiskey break perhaps?) Most colorful of all was Deb “O’Bauserman” with PDC Member Lisa “McAndersen” on board -- both were festooned in green, with “tams” to match.
Afterwards, we met for a picnic as usual. Did I mention that the “O’Baturays” hosted? With THAT information you can be sure that the picnic was anything but “usual”. There were potted shamrocks in profusion over a groaning board of traditional Irish fare: bangers and potatoes, a tasty array of cheddars, soda bread, fruit salad, sandwiches, green quiche and about 300 crème puffs (or so it seemed). No green beer, to be sure, but there was plenty of
WINE and even a bottomless pitcher of mango mojitas. At the end of the feast there was a “pot of gold” filled with (chocolate) coins and other sweets….but wait, I’ve left out the BEST….Vicki met each whip, groom and guest with a green mini tankard of an amazing concoction: “whiskey Jello shooters” (Yes, indeed!) Wonderful way to bring in the 2014 driving season!
The next PDC “tune up” drive was scheduled for Sunday, March 23 at Great Meadow. Sadly, and because of the afore-mentioned FOOT of snow that arrived on March 17, this drive had to be cancelled. Next “tune up drive” is scheduled for Saturday, March 29 at Mary Munster’s Glen Bolton Farm.
March 2 2014- Whitestone Farm Aldie, VA
Approximately 50 members and friends of the Piedmont Driving Club met on March 2 for the Club’s Annual Meeting, held at Whitestone Farm in Aldie, Virginia. In recognition of the Club’s outstanding 2013 season, in which members participated in 35 picnic drives, including 7 exhibition drives, Dr. Tom Burgess (CAA President and PDC member) and Mr. Doug Kemmerer (noted 4 in Hand Whip and long time Coachman) presented Club President Anne Watkins, of Berryville, Virginia with a Certificate of Achievement. Pictured with Anne are Dr. Tom Burgess, Mr. Carl Cox (PDC Picnic Committee Chairman) and Mr. Doug Kemmerer.
A highlight of the PDC Annual Meeting was Mr. Kemmerer’s talk on the history of coaching in the United States. He first drew parallels with the system of mail delivery by coach in the UK and the challenges of coaching in the Northeastern United States. He then gave special emphasis to the the logistics of both travel and mail delivery by coach in the Western United States.
The Piedmont Driving Club will begin the 2014 season in March. In addition to dozens of local drives throughout the Northern Virginia area, the Club anticipates another trip to Acadia Park in Maine, a trip to Fair Hill Maryland, and possibly a trip to the Jamestown State Park in Virginia. There is also a possibility for a trip (without horses/carriages!) to France to attend a Concourse elegance near Chantilly. The PDC cherishes its affiliation with the CAA and would welcome CAA members to join us.