We’d been waiting for the Collombs to return to Virginia. Apparently they were floating about in a catamaran somewhere off the coast of Madagascar these past few weeks. Happily for the Piedmont Driving Club, Caroline and Bertrand were ready to return to dry land. Each hitched a pair from their herd of Haflingers and set off around the fields and roads of their Warrenton estate. PDC Members who joined them for the drive were Al and Vicki Baturay, Carl and Caroline Cox, Kim Cameron with Matt Neiswanger, Mary Munster, Doug and Wendy Ward, and Barbara and Tom Wolf. Special guests included conservation activist Hope Porter, Victoria Stack, the Honorable Don Ritter, the Wolfs’ friend Theresa Slowik (getting her reward for preparing the food at their 50th anniversary drive the week before), and our favorite tootler, Bobby Dreyer.
It was a perfect day for a cross country drive. We marveled at Oakwood’s crystal clear pond and amused ourselves by trying to name the many species of wildflowers that lined our path. We travelled around Oakwood, across the fields of Land Ho, over the neighbor’s Granville farm and eventually through a forest that led to the Belleview trails. Along the way we encountered several challenging water crossings. No problem for the brave whips and grooms of the PDC, we emerged muddy but happy and ready for the next leg of our trip. Caroline Collomb led us down gravel roads through Belleview and eventually up to our rest stop. There we sat in our carriages, admiring the 360 degree panoramic view, while Oakwood staff served Champagne and crackers slathered with French pate.
Once back to Oakwood we unhitched, unharnessed and made our way to the gardens at the pool house. It was as though we were cast back in time. We found ourselves surrounded by stone walls and carefully tended gardens. The place looked much as it must have when the Duke and Duchess of Windsor made Oakwood one of their retreats. We sat together at a luncheon of barbecued chicken and a variety of salads, with a selection of cupcakes from one of our favorite bakeries (Wegman’s!) Wine flowed freely of course.
It was a memorable way to spend Labor Day, in the company of good friends and gracious hosts.