Virginia Johnson

Recycling Christmas: Make It a Green One

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:

General Lewis Littlepage: Soldier, Spy, and King's Confidant, 1762-1802

To the Spaniards, he was known as young Litlpese. Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette knew him as the charming Little Peche. In Russia, to Catherine the Great and her favorites, he was the clever and ambitious Litlpaz. The doomed monarch, Stanislas Augustus of Poland, knew him as his loyal Litelpecz. Whatever the name, this often penniless Virginian's brilliant intellect and exquisite manners won him entry into the chambers, gaming tables, and salons of the last decades of Europe's Age of Enlightenment.

The Young and Orphaned Genius

The Rappahannock Region's Architecture: Part 2: Forgotten Cottages

Old postcard view of the Mary Washington HouseThe big brick mansions such as Kenmore, Gunston Hall, and Carter's Grove grab the attention of most tourists to the Old Dominion but equally historic if considerably less lauded are the clapboard, plaster, and brick cottages that were homes and gathering places for ever

The Rappahannock Region's Forgotten Architecture: Part 1: The Old Brick Mansions

KenmoreStratford HallBerkley Plantation—these and many other substantial brick residences were designed to last and impress. The style was called Georgian, in honor of the English kings of the period. Later similar houses built after the American Revolution would be patriotically dubbed Federal. This article briefly looks at some common characteristics of the houses' exteriors.

Treading, Molding, and Firing

Time for Tea

Tea can be the centerpiece of a formal party or simply everyday hospitality among friends. Whether you prefer herbal, green, or black varieties, when you sip a cup of tea, you are joining a rich, historical tradition.
 

Warming Soups for Chilly Spring Days

The days are bright, crisp, and brimming with the anticipation of a ripening spring. But as the sun sets, and the shivering night winds hurry families to their homes, a bowl of homemade soup will be a shared pleasure long remembered in years to come.

What's in Your Water?

Water, water everywhere…but is it safe to drink?
With bottled water costing well over a buck at the convenience store, budget-conscious folks have been switching to tap water. After all, the argument goes, tap water goes through filtration, too, and has the added benefit of fluoride. News stories blamed the rise in kids' cavities on a switch to bottled water. Surely it made more sense to stick with tap water. Now we find out that tap water and perhaps bottled water contain traces of prescription medications, causing people to reconsider their daily water source.

Farewell to John Cephas, Blues Musician

John Cephas died at his home in Woodford, Virginia, on Wednesday, March 4, at the age of 78.
The Caroline County resident was a nationally recognized blues singer and guitarist who played many local venues with singer and harmonica player Phil Wiggins--including the summertime Music on the Steps series at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and the Bluemont concerts.

The Astounding Leigh Brackett

"Would it help if I got out and pushed?"
—Princess Leia to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back

"She tried to sit in my lap while I was standing up."
—Private detective Philip Marlowe in The Big Sleep

From sharp-tongued space princesses to Bogey's grim gumshoe, some of Leigh Brackett's most enduring legacies are the scripts she wrote for movies that are considered among the 20th century's very best.

Some Things Scottish

The 2009 Virginia Scottish Games and Festival will be held September 5 and 6th at Great Meadow State Park in The Plains, VA. There will be feats of strength, traditional music and dance, dog trials, a gathering of the clans, and much more. Other nearby festivals are being held this fall in Williamsburg, Alexandria, and Crownsville, Maryland.