Under a brilliant August sky on a day with balmy weather….what better way to spend it than riding in a carriage at Great Meadow, on the exquisite venue that has been so carefully preserved by the late philanthropist Arthur W. “Nick” Arundel? As described in the website, this “beautiful rolling site has become a paradigm for adaptive use of an abandoned farm into open space for equestrian and community events…” It was an unforgettable experience for the members of the Piedmont Driving Club who exhibited carriages there on July 4. Imagine now the excitement generated when we were allowed to meet there for a picnic drive. The roads, pathways, fields and – yes – the entire race course were all accessible to our carriages. We trotted ’round the formidable timber fences, past the daunting water jump and finally across the finish line — the very same one that the indomitable “Saluter” crossed at age 11 to become the All Time Virginia Gold Cup Champion, with 6 wins at the Virginia Gold Cup, 2 at the International Gold Cup, and a speed record that he held for 11 years.
Nine turn-outs enjoyed the day: Carl Cox drove “All the Boys” to his roof seat break. On board were his wife and Club Social Director, Caroline, and guests Kim Shelly and Stephanie Nicoll, plus grooms Molly Savage and Alexis King. Club President Anne Watkins drove her “Windsor Greys” with Club members Flora Hillman and Kitty Newman in the carriage. Mary Munster drove her award-winning Freisian mares, Matsje and Rinske. Mark Duffell drove the Whitestone Farm Belgians to an elegant Surrey with Dixie Noffsinger and George Lemm along for the ride. Al Baturay, with wife and Club Secretary Vicki, drove their perfectly matched Haflinger geldings. Driving singles were Barbara and Tom Wolf with their stunning mare “Sheba“, Wayne Porter and guest with steady-as-you-go “Tucker“, Deb Bauserman and guest with her ever-reliable “Art“ and our Hosts Marci and Keith Bade with “Maya Luv”, the Club’s only Haflinger mare! The scenery was unmatched, with pleasant rolling fields, a crossing between sparkling ponds, roads that curved lazily around the outside of the race course, and even a hotly contested polo match in the distance! Such must have been Nick Arundel’s vision for this property and the Club felt privileged to be a part of it.
Even before we unloaded our trailers, Hosts Marci and Keith Bade had placed tables with a dizzying array of floral arrangements under huge shade trees in anticipation, no doubt, of the generous offerings that were to come. Assisting Marci were Evelyn Caroline and Brenda Milne (a friend and “behind the scenes” supporter of our Club!) Marci provided a mountain of fried chicken, rolls/foccacia, platters of her deviled eggs and a very enticing (bottomless?) pitcher of Sangria. Club members and guests filled in with 8-10 different salads, bowls of fruit (including Mark’s “how sweet it is” cantaloupe), pies, cookies, and Dixie’s “killer” bundt cake. As usual, there was a selection of sodas, water, wine(s) and Champagne. Not only does this Club like to eat, it likes to CELEBRATE.Thus came Marci with a beautifully decorated cake which she presented to our “anniversary couple”, Tom and Barbara Wolf (46 years and counting!). Glasses were also raised to acknowledge Kim Shelly’s service at Great Meadow. She’s been a terrific friend to the PDC and is moving on to a new job. Lastly, Carl offered a toast to our Hosts: Marci and Keith Bade, who worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone had a good time (and PLENTY to eat!)