Noted four-in-hand driver, coachman, speaker on all things “horse drawn” and GREAT friend to the Piedmont Driving Club, Doug Kemmerer, chose to celebrate his birthday by hosting the Club at Innisfree, in Bluemont, Va. It will never get better than this! Not only did we travel over 7 miles of well- groomed and historic roads, but we were treated to a magnificent panorama of preserved countryside from a grassy hilltop where we rested our horses. There were 10 turn-outs: Carl and Caroline Cox drove their “Music Boys”, with groom Molly and new PDC members Tom and Mary Kay Albert. Al and Vicki Baturay drove their Haflinger pair. Club President Anne Watkins drove her gelding “Czar”, with PDC member Pat McCann along for the ride. Judy Hahn drove “Buddy” to a Bronson wagon. Wayne Porter, with wife Elizabeth and another guest on board, drove “Tucker”. Mark Duffell (who was accompanied by the prettiest guest of all) brought out his handsome Standardbred gelding for its inaugural picnic drive. Leslie Yarborough and guest Emma drove one of her mares to a Meadowbrook. Alcinda Hatfield, with hubby on board, drove one of her large ponies. Wayne Humphries drove Bouncer (and if you don’t know who HE is, you don’t know your ponies…Bouncer won a World Singles Championship not so long ago!). Kitty Newman drove her Farnley pony Redwing, who like Kitty, is a veteran of many picnic drives.
The pace was leisurely, “go as you please” and designed to allow each carriage to take in the scenery, and whatever driving challenges presented themselves, at will. It was a perfect venue for an early Spring drive, our 7th of the current season.
Meanwhile – back at Innisfree—and unbeknown to those of us trotting the roads, Doug and Queenie had fired up their grill and were cooking burgers and “dogs” in preparation for our return to the farm. Coolers were released from trailer tack rooms and the backs of pickup trucks, and from out of these came chilled salmon, vegetarian dishes, casseroles, pasta salads, green salads, brownies, cookies and assorted goodies. There was a delightful jug of homemade lemonade, plenty of water and bottles upon bottles of wine! Saving the best for last, the Kemmerer’s guests presented Doug with a HUGE chocolate layer cake in honor of his birthday. Dough blew out ALL those candles on his first attempt – WOW! We don’t know what he wished for but we hope it had something to do with horses, carriages and us, the Piedmont Driving Club, because we’d really like to return to Innisfree!