The Piedmont Driving Club was honored to participate in the Virginia Garden Week tour of historic homes on April 24 and 25, 2013. It was a special delight to be asked to exhibit carriages at Leeds Manor, home to PDC members Bob and Leslie Yarborough in Hume, Virginia. Members brought carriages on both days and drove the lanes of the farm in view of the hundreds of participants who toured both the gardens and the Manor house. There could not have been a more perfect setting for our beautifully turned-out horses and carriages. Always the perfect hosts, the Yarborough’s served Champagne and an array of tasty canapés to all. The highlight for Club members was a private tour of Leeds Manor, former home to Chief Justice John Marshall. It was a memory we will long treasure!
It was yet another memorable day for members of the Piedmont Driving Club on Sunday, April 21, when we gathered at Hollie Satterfield’s Elixir Farm in Bluemont for what may become known as the “redbud” drive. (Remember, earlier this month we drove along roads that were bordered by daffodils, then along the Shenandoah through fields of bluebells….well yesterday we were awed by a proliferation of redbud trees most everywhere we looked!) PDC members Wayne Porter and Hollie made the very most of the venue, carefully marking and mapping a route that followed quiet gravel roads and, as a special treat, took us through a couple of private farms. Whips had the option of either a 5 mile or 9 ½ mile trip, with a rest stop on the knoll of a stunning horse farm. While sipping champagne (so generously served by PDC members Ben Cox and Elizabeth Cummings) we watched young stock romp and play while we rested our horses.
Whips for the day included Carl Cox with his black 4 in hand, “All the Boys“; Club President Anne Watkins with her beloved pair, the “Windsor Greys”; Mary Munster with her dazzling pair of Fresian mares; Pat McCann who drove Wayne’s trusty “Tucker” (regarded by some as perhaps the prettiest moving horse ever!); Hollie driving her very fetching paint (how DID she have time to drive as well as host the absolute FEAST that followed…?); and at the top of the “cute“ scale, Kitty Newman, driving her adorable “Farnley Redwing”.
It wouldn’t be a “PDC Picnic Drive” without great food and fellowship afterwards, and this was no exception! Members and guests gathered at Hollie’s barn to enjoy fried chicken, a huge variety of sandwiches, quiche, “I-want-that-recipe-strawberry-salad”, pasta and bean salads, beets, and an array of deserts too numerous to mention. And, yes, of course there was more champagne, wine, and any number of other libations…
Thank you Wayne and Hollie (and everyone who helped) for a great time!
The Piedmont Driving Club met at Club President Anne Watkin’s Kittery Point farm for the 24th Annual Bluebell Drive along the Shenandoah River. The nine turn-outs included a 4 in Hand, 2 pair of horses, a pair of ponies, several single horses and a couple of single ponies. ALL looked fit and fabulous! Whips were Carl Cox, Anne Watkins, Mary Munster, Barbara Wolf, Lisa Anderson, Wayne Porter, Flora Hillman, Kathleen Malone, Kitty Newman and Maryalice Larkin-Matheson (who aptly schooled a couple of ponies in long-lines at the farm)
It was “go as you please” from Anne’s picturesque farm to the river where thousands of bluebells were stunningly in place for miles along the banks. It was an amazing sight to be sure, and our senses were further enhanced by the sparkling water and very agreeable temperature. To everyone’s absolute delight, we were directed to a meadow where Club member Sam Davis, assisted by Wayne’s wife Elizabeth Moore, served champagne and cheese nibbles while the horses and ponies rested.
Then we left for another trot along the river bank to the turn-around point, a dazzling waterfall, before the group gathered back at Anne’s farm. Lunch can only be described as spectacular. The many guests (neighbors, friends, passengers from carriages) feasted on beef tenderloin, sausage & sauerkraut, quiche, salads galore, assorted canapés, home made cookies, brownies, and even a birthday cake — thoughtfully provided by Anne to honor Carl, the Chairman of our Picnic Drive Committee.
So far, the month of April has brought the Piedmont Driving Club NO showers, plenty of flowers and some of the finest weather of 2013! Such was the case on Sunday, April 7 when the Club gathered at Innisfree Farm, home to Doug and Queenie’s impressive thoroughbred geldings. The herd, all of whom have been trained to drive by Doug, romped and ran across lush fields…..while the Kemmerer’s had decided to forego driving and instead made preparations for the Club luncheon which was to follow the drive. All work, no play for them on that day!
Meanwhile, 6 Piedmont Driving Club turn-outs were being readied for what turned out to be a stunning 5 mile loop over gravel roads. In addition to legions of daffodils all along the way, there were 2 large herds of deer to be seen leaping across fences and scattering into the woods at the site of the carriages.
The Club stopped for a rest, and some champagne of course, at a quaint churchyard in the Village of Unison. Then it was a brisk trot back to Innisfree for the ever important, and ever delicious “apres drive” luncheon.
Thank you Doug and Queenie Kemmerer for being such gracious hosts to the Club and we look forward to sharing the road next time with your Four in Hand of eye-catching chestnuts!