The Baturays and the Coxes barely got their carriages and harness unpacked from their trip to Acadia Park in Maine when it was time to depart for yet another Club “off campus” gathering. This time they, along with Club President Anne Watkins and member Caroline Collomb, journeyed to Fair Hill, Maryland for a few days of driving. Each brought a pair, so we had the Cox’s “Black Boys”, Anne’s “Windsor Greys” and 2 sets of Haflinger’s — one belonging to the Baturays and the other to the Collomb’s. We were joined by Club member Wayne Porter as Anne’s guest along with her groom Alexis King, Caroline’s groom Edgar and her dear friend from Paris, Ann. Hubby Bertrand arrived from his meeting in Delaware for the final day of driving. Not only did we enjoy spectacular fall weather, but the park was empty!
The group took up ALL of the rooms at Fairwinds Farm Bed and Breakfast. We’d stayed there before and the accommodations are splendid for horses as well as people. The pictures tell the tale….we drove the many miles of Fair Hill, over fields and through woods, over bridges that spanned the highway and over a classic wooden covered bridge. We even drove through tunnels and “drain pipes” so that we could follow the roads and trails the DuPont family had long ago created so they could hunt the area. Last but not least we discovered the “water hazards” on the cross country course…..great fun!
After driving there were cocktails each day, then it was off to the local restaurants (where CRAB and fresh fish are king!) All agreed that this trip could easily become an annual event for the Piedmont Driving Club.
The trip to Acadia National Park in Maine was to be our most ambitious “off campus” drive EVER. Several Club members had planned for months to attend. The logistics were staggering….When should we go? How long would it take to get there? Should we plan to over-night between Virginia and Maine? Where should we board our horses? Where should we stay and for how long? All these preparations and more were made. And then the unthinkable happened in the form of a “government shut down”. Most of the members endured this crushing disappointment by simply unpacking and staying home. Most, but not all… Hard headed determination caused Vicki Baturay and Caroline Cox to start making phone calls. First thing we needed was a place to rest ourselves and our horses midway between Virginia and Maine. Vicki reached out to a good “friend of a friend” in Natasha Grigg of Boxford, Massachusetts. Not only did Natasha put us and all our horses up for the night, she entertained us at breakfast with tales of carriage driving from her long and prominent career as the first President of the American Driving Society.
When it was learned that the Wildwood Stables would be closed because of the shutdown, Caroline found another facility where the horses would be treated as though they were at a spa (with stalls cleaned, hay provided, horses fed on schedule, and turn out an option!) Gail Clark, dear friend and frequent guest on the Cox carriage, offered her guest house to the group. Arrangements were made to park at a private maintenance facility with access to private Rockefeller roads adjacent to the Park. So, for Vicki and Al Baturay with their Haflinger pair and, Caroline and Carl Cox with their “black boys”, the trip was a go! What a week it was! The weather was absolutely perfect, mild and sunny. The Clarks began the week with a lobster dinner for us in their stunning home and ended it with another lobster dinner at their seaside cottage on the beach. We all had more fun than can be written about…..you need to look at the pictures!