Friday, December 20, 2013

12/19/13 Goodbye Pig, Town Gift Certificates, Christmas Music, Beautiful Ordinary



I was sorry to see the Smokey Pig disappear into a pile of ruble this past week.  It certainly was an iconic Ashland restaurant for many years, and I know that many people have fond memories of dining and working there. 

There are so many places in town to find your Christmas gifts!  Save your gas and get in the Christmas spirit by walking down the lovely sidewalks of Ashland.  If all else fails, stop by Town Hall during business hours to pick up an Ashland Gift Certificate.  These are available in many different denominations and are good at dozens of stores, restaurants, and shops around town.  Call 798-9219 for more information.

From now until December 28th, Gallery Flux will be open at 5:00 PM for their 2nd Annual Invitational Miniature Show.  What makes this show so unique is that the art is available for purchase with some pieces as low as $40.  Art is always a wonderful gift, especially when it comes from the Center of the Universe!

The Central Virginia Masterworks Chorale will present their Christmas concert, “Touch the Winter Sky” at Duncan Memorial Methodist Church on Sunday, December 22nd.  This concert will feature soloist Camille Saint-Saens and will begin at 2:00 PM.
Come see “Despicable Me” at the Ashland Firehouse Theater this Saturday, 12/21, at 7:00 PM.  This is a wonderful cartoon movie that will make everyone in your house laugh.  The Firehouse Theater is located at 201 S. Duncan Street next to the Rescue Squad in Ashland and across from Town Hall and the
Farmer's Market.  Doors open at 6:30 with popcorn and snacks available for purchase.  Check them out on Facebook and their website as well: ashlandfirehousetheater.org.

I have a task for you all this week.  I’d like you to find delight in the small, tiny moments that make up this holiday.  Find the beauty in the ordinary, and watch it become sublime.  Take a breath, pause in your step, and look around.  Make these final days of 2013 last longer than they should by slowing down. 

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Keep on decorating until the last minute!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

12/12/13 Christmas Lights, A Christmas Carol, PH Swim Team Wins, Firehouse Movies

The Ashland Train Station with "LOVE" sign
 You really should find the time to go for a drive.  One evening when the roads are clear, load up the family into your car and drive around town to see the lights.  We do not have anything outrageous that would qualify for a stop on a “Tacky Lights Tour,” but we have houses that are beautiful, patriotic, quirky, and sweetly old-fashioned with their Christmas lights.


I find it strangely endearing that a fraternity at RMC took the time to spell out their Greek letters in lights, and then to hang those lights in the bushes along the parking lot across from the train station.  I imagine a passenger on a north-bound train smiling to themselves as they catch a glimpse.







Congratulations to the Patrick Henry Swim Team who won back-to-back meets this past weekend!  They swam against Lee-Davis on Friday and then Goochland on Saturday; my arms were tired from just watching them. 

We really should thank Joe and Marilyn Mattys for helping hundreds of people find the holiday spirit for the past 23 years.  That’s how long they have worked to put on “A Christmas Carol” at RMC.  Marilyn adapted the script from Dickens’ original work, and Joe has produced & directed it almost every year with a cast of student and local talent.  It has become a wonderful tradition for our family and we wish Mr. Mattys the best of luck when he retires as Director of Theater this coming May.  I hope RMC find a replacement who will see the beauty in this play.

This Friday is Teen Movie Night at your Ashland Library from 6:00 to 8:00 pm (ages 11& up).  Pizza and beverages will be provided by the Friends of the Ashland Library.  Call 798-4072 for more information.

Then on Saturday, December 14th, the Library will teach us all how to borrow eBooks from the Library from 10:00 to noon.  Do you have an eReader, a smartphone, a tablet, or laptop?  They will show you how to use Overdrive to find, check-out, and down-load your favorite titles.  Call 798-4072 to register for this class.

The movies return this weekend with “Elf” (rated PG) at the Ashland Firehouse Theater.  This weekend's show raises money for the Model UN team at Patrick Henry, so tickets will be a few more dollars for this special cause.  But the laughs with all your fellow Ashlanders will be plentiful and it will make you feel good to help the PH kids.

The show starts at 7 pm, and the doors will be open at 6:30 p.m.  The Firehouse Theater is located at 201 S. Duncan Street next to the Rescue Squad in Ashland and across from Town Hall and the Farmer's Market.  You can find them on Facebook and on line at
ashlandfirehousetheater.org.  Stay tuned for “Despicable Me” on December 21st.

If I tried to list every holiday event in Ashland, I would need a whole page in the H-P instead of a column!  Please forgive me for any omissions, and email or call me with your Ashland news: ashlandnews@gmail.com, 310-5320.  Stay warm and dry this weekend!


Friday, December 6, 2013

Holiday Music, Concerts, Performances, and Movies!



Well Ashland, I hope you are well-rested from your Thanksgiving celebrations, because Christmas is alarmingly close.  Pull down those decorations and get those ovens warmed up!  It’s always at this time of year when I ask myself, “Why didn’t you start buying Christmas gifts in July?”

We enjoyed a wonderful Holiday concert and tree lighting recently at the Hanover Tavern, courtesy of the Patrick Henry High School’s Madrigal Choir.  With their new director this year, Carol Ann Dickerson, these talented kids are giving some outstanding performances.  You can catch them next week at the PH Christmas Concert at the school, Tuesday (12/10) and Wednesday (12/11) at 7:00 pm.  Tickets are $5 and are available from any performing arts teacher at PH or at the door.

The Hanover Concert Band will present two concerts of Christmas music in December to close out their 24th year as "Music Ambassadors for Hanover County". This Saturday, December 7th, at noon, they will perform at the Virginia Center Commons food court. In addition to the program of Christmas favorites old and new, they will present a special musical tribute to the men and women who were at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on that "Day of Infamy" in 1941. If you can, please bring a donation of non perishable food for the Central Virginia Food Bank.

Then on Tuesday, December 17th, you can catch the band at 7:00 PM at the Hanover Arts and Activities Center. This will be a Boston Pops style concert of Christmas Music with table seating available, and beverage and food treats to enjoy throughout the show. Again, donations of non perishable food for the Central Virginia Food Bank will be collected.

Stay tuned for lots of great musical events from the Concert Band as they will be celebrating their 25th anniversary in 2014! There are plans to feature local musicians in the concerts and present special commissioned concert music written by VCU Jazz Studies head, Antonio Garcia. 

This weekend at the Ashland Firehouse Theater, Louise Keeton and the Whistlestop Theater will be performing “The Gift of the Magi” Friday and Saturday, December 6th & 7th.  Tickets are $5 each and you can reserve your seats at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com (please provide your name, and indicate the day, time, and number of tickets requested). This is a show for the whole family! Visit their website: www.whistlestoptheatre.com to learn about this troupe’s exciting opportunity in NYC!

Next weekend, the films will return with “Elf” on Saturday, December 14th.  The show starts at 7:00 PM, and I believe that tickets are $2 each, but this is a fundraiser for the Patrick Henry Model UN, so please come support this great group of kids. The Firehouse Theater is located at 201 S. Duncan Street next to the Rescue Squad in Ashland and across from Town Hall and the Farmer's Market. 
I have the perfect gift for everyone:  an Ashland gift certificate!  Visit Town Hall to purchase a town gift certificate which can be used at thirty-eight different businesses!  You could use it for books, pecans, a rake for all those leaves, honey, or some old fashioned candy.


Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!



I am putting this column to bed early this week as we all scatter to the corners of the map for Thanksgiving.  I hope that there are lots of big dinners planned in town.  It funny, but I honestly don’t like leaving Ashland for any holiday.  It always seems like we should be here, maybe because holidays are more fun in our sweet town, don’t you think?  Whether it’s Easter, the 4th, Thanksgiving or Christmas, I think we always have the perfect setting for celebrations. 

Resist the urge to get up early on the 29th and save your shopping for Small Business Saturday in the Center of the Universe!  If you sit down with your gift list, I know that you could find everything you need right here. 

Speaking of which, Ashcake Gardens will celebrate Small Business Saturday with lots of sales and specials.  Visit their website for special offers and coupons.  I have heard that their selection of Christmas trees is superb this year; www.ashwoodgardens.com

If you don’t know what to buy, visit Town Hall to purchase a town gift certificate which can be used at thirty-eight different businesses!  You could use it for jewelry, chicken feed, a hair-cut, furniture, or dinner out.  It may be the perfect gift for everyone. 

There are two opportunities to see theater productions in town this holiday season.  As always, Randolph-Macon will be showing Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol” at the Blackwell Theater December 6th through the 8th.  There’s more information on the RMC website: www. rmc.edu/academics/drama. 

Also, our own Louise Keeton and the Whistlestop Theater will be performing “The Gift of the Magi” at the Firehouse Theater December 6th and 7th.  Tickets are $5 each and you can reserve your seats today at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com(please provide your name, and indicate the day, time, and number of tickets requested!).








Do you have student in grades 4th through 8th who loves the stage? Sabrina Lacoss, a senior at Patrick Henry High School, is producing a Reader’s Theatre production of “Twelfth Night” by Shakespeare for her Girl Scouts Gold Award project, and she is looking for cast members. Rehearsals will start December 3 for two weeks, and the performance is December 19 at 7:00pm at the Center. Interested parents should call the Hanover Arts and Activities Center at 798-2722.
Do you know what I am thankful for?  A newspaper column, an editor who lets me occasionally write about ridiculous things, and, of course, readers who think it worth their while.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Happy Thanksgiving!




Monday, November 25, 2013

11/25/13 Christmas Parade Recap


If you didn't brave the freezing temperatures yesterday to watch the Ashland Holiday Parade go by, you missed something special.  The beauty queens were beautiful and smiling, the clowns were ridiculous, the Patrick Henry marching band was rousing, and the fire trucks were gleaming.  But what you missed more than all that specacle was the chance to be a part of that collective Ashland memory that we all somehow, unknowingly agreed to live within.  I don't know that any of us realized, when we found that cute house to live in, that we were agreeing to be a part of something much larger than a picket-fence and train whisltes.  Ashland has given us those things which we didn't know we were missing- this town has given us friends, neighbors, laughter, and collective tears.  This town has given us more reasons to celebrate than the average person should have in a lifetime; let's see if we can sqeeze in a few more opportunities before 2013 is over with. 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

11/21/13 Christmas Too Early?, Holiday Parade, Arts and Crafts Show, Firehouse Theater



I have seen the first strand of multi-colored lights in town, and it is a good thing.  I know that people have been complaining that Christmas is coming too early, but is that really a bad thing?  Did you ever watch “Auntie Mame”?  There was that wonderful song called, “We Need a Little Christmas.”  We all love the feelings that the holidays bring up- no wonder we’re anxious to see it begin. 

But if you’re hesitant to jump into the shopping frenzy that retailers would like to ignite, then look a little closer to home for your presents. I think that if we tried, we could find every-single one of our Christmas gifts at a store or shop right here in Ashland.  If you can’t find it, then it probably wasn’t the right gift in the first place. 

This weekend is the Heavenly Creations Arts and Crafts Show at St. James the Less Episcopal Church (Beverly Rd).  This great event has been going on now for 18 years, and it proves to just get better with time!  The Show begins on Friday evening, November 22, 2013, with an Opening Night Wine and Cheese Reception from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and continues on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  

Do you love a parade?  This Sunday is the Annual Ashland Olde Time Holiday Parade!  The parade begins at 2:30 in front of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, and makes its way across the tracks to end at Gandy Elementary.  Bring a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and find a spot along the route to wave to the beauty queens.  This is the beginning of Christmas in a small town. 

Happy belated birthday to our very own Chief Doug Goodman who celebrated his birthday last weekend!  Chief Goodman does so much to keep our town safe; we are lucky to have him here.

Congratulations to Louise Keeton whose play, "Cinderella:  The Fairy Godmother's Tale" (which debuted in May at the Firehouse Theatre) was selected to be shown at the New York Children's Theatre Festival in May of 2014!  We hope that this show gathers much attention and praise when it visits the Big Apple.

The Ashland Firehouse Theater is showing an award winning film: “Hugo” directed by Martin Scorsese this Saturday at 7:00 pm.  This movie is rated PG and is set in the city of Paris during the 1930’s.  Hugo is an orphaned boy who lived in the walls of the train station and repairs the station’s clocks.   Tickets are $2 per person, and it sounds like a lovely escape, don’t you think?

There are two opportunities to see theater productions in town this holiday season.  As always, Randolph-Macon will be showing Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol” at the Blackwell Theater December 6th through the 8th.  There’s more information on the RMC website: www. rmc.edu/academics/drama.  Also, our own Louise Keeton and the Whistlestop Theater will be performing “The Gift of the Magi” at the Firehouse Theater December 6th and 7th.  Tickets are $5 each and you can reserve your seats today at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com(please provide your name, and indicate the day, time, and number of tickets requested!).

Did I add enough to your calendar? Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com



Friday, November 15, 2013

11/14/13 Snow?, THE GAME, Fools at Patrick Henry, Movies Return to Town



I am distracted as I write this week’s column because there may be snow coming this morning and I can’t stop looking out the window.  I have checked various “Doppler” maps and I am looking for signs that winter has arrived (woolly caterpillars).  I am a sucker for weather events.  I have a reckless love of storms and a forecast of snow makes me feel as excited as a second-grader.  Oh, wait- is that a flake?

Ashland Firehouse Theater is open for the season and showing the movie, “Babe” this Saturday, November 16th at 7:00 pm.  Tickets are $2 at the door and the popcorn will be warm & buttery. 

The historic battle between Randolph-Macon and Hampton-Sydney continues this Saturday!  It is really a thrilling thing to see and hear, so do not miss this opportunity to cheer on your home team.  Kick-off is at 1:00 pm, and parking may be tight as Hampton-Sydney likes to pack its students on carbon-monoxide spewing buses which apparently can be parked anywhere as long as they have their flashers on.   Go Yellow Jackets!

The Patrick Henry Players are presenting Neil Simon’s “Fools” this weekend.  If you know anything about plays, you know that anything Neil Simon wrote is excellent, so find the time to catch a performance.  The curtain goes up at Patrick Henry High School at 7:00 pm this Friday, November 15th, and again on Saturday the 16th.  Tickets are $7 at the door.

Mark your calendars now for next weekend and the Heavenly Creations Arts and Crafts Show at St. James the Less Episcopal Church (Beverly Rd).  This great event has been going on now for 18 years, and it proves to just get better with time!  The Show begins on Friday evening, November 22, 2013, with an Opening Night Wine and Cheese Reception from 6:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and continues on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.   This is a juried, fine arts show featuring original, handcrafted works from local and regional artists and craftspeople. Homemade culinary delights and canned goods will also be sold. 

Also next weekend is the Annual Ashland Olde Time Holiday Parade!  The parade begins at 2:30 in front of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, and makes its way across the tracks to end at Gandy Elementary.  Bring a blanket, a thermos of hot chocolate, and find a spot along the route to wave to the beauty queens.  This is a tradition that you should not miss.


Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Good luck to all the COTU runners participating in the races in Richmond this weekend!  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

11/7/13 Successful Festival, Craft Show at Ironhorse, Salsa Dancing at HAAC



Last weekend was really beautiful, wasn’t it?  I think those bright orange, red, and yellow leaves looked even brighter against that electric blue sky.  I hope you found time to sit or lie underneath a tree and just soak up the beauty of it all.  I didn’t, but I wish I had. 

By all accounts, Train Day was a huge success.  This is the second time that Richmond.com has listed an Ashland event on its list of the Top Five Things to do in Richmond this Weekend.  Did you hear that we may have had 5,000 people in town?  I really love seeing all those visitors, and secretly, I love knowing that I live here and they’re just visitors.  It’s like I belong to this really cool club.  Shhhh- don’t tell anyone that I said that; it sounds kind of arrogant.

I know that there are so many organizations to thank for Train Day- the Town of Ashland, The Main Street Association, and the dozens of volunteers who stayed on their feet all day Saturday.  But I think the Ashland Police Department deserves a round of applause for keeping all of those spectators safe.  Can you imagine how stressful it must be when your town’s biggest safety concern is also its biggest tourist attraction?   

We have such a sad goodbye to say to Mrs. Willis, Mrs. Catherine Willis.  I only met her a few times, and I was always amazed at how lovely she was.  I know that she was a wonderful friend, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, but I will always remember her beauty.  She had the most stunning complexion- flawless to the point that I would forget what I was saying.  I hope that doesn’t sound trivial, because even thought I know it was only a small part of who she was, it was the part of her that I’ll remember. 

Oh, I have some belated birthdays this week, especially those Halloween babies who have to share their birthday with ghosts & goblins.  Happy birthday to Parker Marchetti and Bob Brown- both who are treats to have around!  The Brown house was loaded with sweets this week as Madison Brown also celebrated turning 15 on November 4th

I have found a solution to all of your holiday planning woes, and a fun way to spend a Wednesday night!  The 2nd Annual Holiday Craft Show is next Wednesday, November 13th in the back room at the Ironhorse Restaurant.  There will be wreaths, Christmas gifts, New Year items, and lots of sparking jewelry.  Best of all, many of the crafts were made by our favorite Ashland waiter- Jeffery! 

You know you need to dance more.  You’ve know it for a while now, but you’ve been putting off making that first step.  Your moment has arrived.  The time is now- well, the time is next Friday, November 15th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Arts and Activities Center.  A free Salsa dance workshop is being held by Contra-Tiempo, a dance group from L.A. who is in town performing at the University of Richmond’s Modlin Center for the Arts.  Free dance lessons.  You have no excuse.    

 Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Rake some leaves into a pile and jump into them this weekend!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

10-31-2013 Chilly Mornings, Light Evenings, Farmers Markets, Professors and Authors



Where are my gloves?  Where is that hat, and where did I put all my sweaters?  Let’s all practice our layering techniques as we remember what cold weather feels like.  As bundled up as we may be, it is the perfect time of year for sitting around a fire pit, or with friends in a warm restaurant somewhere.   Ashland certainly knows how to make the best of any weather. 

Ashland’s 11th Annual Train Day Celebration is this Saturday, all along the tracks from 10 to 4:00 pm.  There will be trolley rides, store specials, and events all day at the Ashland Library.  Come out and celebrate the trains, for as much as they may annoy you sometimes, what would we be without them?

The Ashland Farmer’s Market is still going strong on these fall mornings!  Come take home some wonderful late-season vegetables and fruits, as well as baked treats for your kitchen.  The Market is open from 9:00 to noon on Saturday behind Town Hall.

Daylight savings ends this weekend.  We’ll have more light in the morning, but it may be dark by the time you get home!

On Tuesday, November 5th, Randolph-Macon will host Professor George Greenia, from the College of William & Mary, who will give a free lecture on “Sacred Steps: Medieval Pilgrimage and American Myth” at 7:30 pm in the Andrews Hall Multipurpose Room (420 Henry St.).  If you think about it, we all make pilgrimages- trips home, tours of historical sites- come and hear about this human characteristic.

On Monday, November 4th, come meet author Katie Anderson at the Ashland Library and listen to her talk about her book for young adults called, “Kiss and Make Up,” from 7:00 - 8:45 p.m. Refreshments provided by the Friends of the Ashland Library.

If you have any door-to-door salesmen come by your house, remind them that they need to register with the Ashland Police Department.  If there’s anyone who you have questions about, don’t hesitate to call and ask the APD: 798-1227.


Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

10/24/13 Homecomings, Spooky Play, Pumpkin Abuse, No More Sandbags



The Center of the Universe was busy this past weekend!  We had a 10K race, two Homecomings (Randolph-Macon and Patrick Henry), a big dance, and beautiful weather.   Sometimes I feel more tired at the end of the weekend than I do on a Friday afternoon, but I think, that’s ok.  If I’m busy on the weekends, then that means that there are fun things to do and life is full.  In a book by Annie Dillard, a character says that he’ll “sleep when he’s dead,” and while that’s completely unreasonable and unhealthy- I get it.  The day is never long enough in the COTU. 

Congratulations to the Patrick Henry Football team who beat Thomas Jefferson HS this past Friday night!  It was a very exciting game- just the way Homecoming should be, with a chill in the air, a full moon rising in the east, and the parade of the Homecoming Court.  If you ever have a Friday night without anything to do, check out the schedule of the Hanover games at www.hcps.us.  It will make you smile, but mostly it will remind you of the promise of youth. 

The Whistle Stop Theatre Company invites families and friends to the first annual “Spooktacular!” at the Firehouse Theatre, 201 Duncan Street, for an interactive presentations of “The Monkey’s Paw,” “The Raven,” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”  These productions invite audience participation and they are suitable for ages 5 and up (not too scary)!  Performances are Saturday at 6 pm; Sunday at 2 pm and 4 pm, with songs, games, and snacks to be shared:   Tickets are $5 and available by reservation at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com.

Do you realize how much stress you could get rid of by launching a pumpkin way up in the sky and then watching it smash to the ground?  Ashwood Gardens and Nursery is having their annual Pumpkin Chunk-a-Thon on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 to 3:00 pm.  There will be hayrides, face painting, food, and pumpkins flying everywhere.  All proceeds benefit the Hanover Arc.  Call 798-2400 to sponsor a team.

As you carving your pumpkins, and putting together your costumes, make sure you remember to stop by the Arts and Activities Center to hear spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band.  The Band will play from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and they are all dressed in costume as well.  I really like it when they play outside because it becomes background music for your trick-or-treating!

We’d like to wish a happy birthday to some of our favorite Ashlanders!  Tammy Proffitt, Sara Holloway, Jackie Jones, Craig Hatz, and Dave Gilmore all marked another year in the Center of the Universe.

The new sidewalks look nice along Railroad Ave!  Do you think that the Coffee and Tea and Suzanne’s can throw away their sandbags now?

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

10/17/13 Decorations, Whistle Stop Halloween Production, Chuck-a-Pumpkin, Homecoming at PH



As the rain falls, the leaves turn, and the flowers fade- Ashland begins to decorate.  I think you’ve often heard me say that our town on Halloween looks like a movie set, and it’s obvious right now that set directors are hard at work.  Our old houses are perfect back-drops to jack-o-lanterns and ghosts hung from the porch columns.  Have you found a costume yet?

The Whistle Stop Theatre Company invites families and friends to the first annual “Spooktacular!” at the Firehouse Theatre (201 Duncan Street) for interactive presentations of “The Monkey’s Paw,” “The Raven,” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”  All include audience participation, and are suitable for ages 5 and up (not too scary)!  Songs, games, and snacks will be shared:  Saturday at 6 pm; Sunday at 2 pm and 4 pm.  Tickets are $5 – reserve places at whistlestoptheatre@gmail.com – bring the whole neighborhood for a spookatacular time! 

Make sure you create an account for your recycling points and consider donating them to a local charity.  Visit www.recyclingperks.com and click on “Shop Rewards” for information on how to donate your points. 

The 10th Annual Ashland Harvest Run is this Saturday, October 19th.  Come out and cheer for these runners who are raising money for several local charities including the Patrick Henry YMCA, ACES, and the Free Clinic. The 10K run starts at 8:00 a.m. at Carter Park, and the 5K Run/Walk starts at 8:10. 

Ashwood Gardens and Nursery is having their annual Pumpkin Chunk-a-Thon on Saturday, October 26th
from 10:00 to 3:00 pm.  There will be hayrides, face painting, food, and pumpkins flying everywhere.  All proceeds benefit the Hanover Arc.  Call 798-2400 to sponsor a team.

As you are planning your trick-or-treating route, or pacing your candy purchases, plan on stopping by the Center to hear spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band and to see all the great costumes walking around town.  The Band will play from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.  Come see if you can spy the pet rat who also likes to listen to the music!

It’s Patrick Henry’s homecoming football game this Friday night.  Come cheer on your hometown boys as they take on Thomas Jefferson at 7:00 pm on their home field- Go Patriots!

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  If you dressed up as your favorite Ashlander, who would you be?





Tuesday, October 15, 2013

10/10/13 Pumpkins, Recycling, Harvest Run, & Brew Master



I love this time of year because it’s when Ashland starts to decorate.  We are a town that loves to string up lights, put signs in our front yards, hang up fake cobwebs, and stack jack-o-lanterns on the front steps.  

As you are planning your trick-or-treating route, or pacing your candy purchases, plan on stopping by the Center to hear spooky music from the Hanover Concert Band and to see all the great costumes walking around town.

Do you remember when the town got those new recycling bins and switched to bi-weekly pickup?  There was a flyer that we all got talking about Recycling Perks.  I really didn’t think too much about it, but I’ve heard that you can donate your points to local charities.  In fact, the Hanover Arts and Activities Center is the featured Ashland charity for the month of October!  Visit www.recyclingperks.com and click on “Shop Rewards” for information on how to donate your points. 

We’d like to send our condolences to the family of Sheronda Woody, who left far too early.  Our hearts ache for her husband and their three daughters, but we know that they are surrounded by the support of friends and family. 

The Holy Cross Lutheran Church will have their community yard sale this Saturday from 8:00 am to 1 pm.  Breakfast and baked goods will be available for purchase and a portion of the proceeds will benefit ACES.  The church is located on Ashcake Rd, just west of the intersection with Elmont

The Ashland Library will welcome the COTU brew masters to talk about how they brew beer on Wednesday, October 16th. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a tasting of the COTU beers at the Caboose Wine and Cheese Shop. You must be 21 and older to attend.

Sign up now to run in the 10th Annual Ashland Harvest Run to be held on Saturday, October 19th.  This great race benefits several local charities including the Patrick Henry YMCA, ACES, and the Free Clinic. The 10K run starts at 8:00 a.m. at Carter Park, and the 5K Run/Walk starts at 8:10.  Register online at www.ashlandharvestrun.com.
To all the parents of kids in Hanover County Public Schools: Power School is ok.  I really believe that it will be a great tool once we all get used to it.  All we need is just a little patience, right Axl?

And here’s a belated birthday wish for two of our favorite people, Ross and Corinne Luck, who both celebrated recently!  We can’t imagine the COTU without them.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  What are you going to be for Halloween?

Thursday, October 3, 2013

10/03/2013 October Skies, Theater Surprise, Street Party, and Street Races





My mother always has said that October has the prettiest skies, and I have to agree.  It’s usually a wonderful month full of perfect weather, good food, and beautiful colored leaves.  As with any outstanding month (see also: May), the Town of Ashland is outside in full force enjoying our piece of Virginia.

The recent news about the Ashland Theater being donated to the Town at first left me dumbfounded, and I thought that someone was playing a practical joke.  But as the surprise wore off, I was incredibly humbled by this gift from Mr. and Mrs. Whitaker.  I am so proud to live in a town where people are this thoughtful and giving.  I hope that the people of Ashland appreciate what has been given to them, and that this theater becomes a symbol of community, growth, and prosperity.

The End-of-Summer Street Party is this Saturday, October 5th, and from the looks of the weather you may need to find some summer clothes to wear.  The gates open at 6:00 pm in the Plaza behind the Ashland Library, and Ron Moody and the Centaurs start playing at 7. Tickets are available from local merchants, or at the door. 

Did you have fun at the Off the Rails Beer Fest?  I missed it, but I’ve heard that half of Richmond was there!  If you’d like to find out more about your favorite malt beverage,   the Ashland Library will welcome the COTU brew masters to talk about how they brew beer on Wednesday, October 16th. The program begins at 7:00 p.m. and will be followed by a tasting of the COTU beers at the Caboose Wine and Cheese Shop. You must be 21 and older to attend.

There are two great races that are being held on October 5th, and if you time it right (and run fast) you can do both.  The 15th Annual Pumpkin Run is a 5K run and walk that will be held at the Ashland Berry Farm.  This great race is an incredibly important fund-raiser for Hanover Safe Place, and all participants will receive a free pumpkin!  Visit www.hanoversafeplace.com for more information.

So run the Pumpkin Run and then hurry back to town to Carter Park and the CROP Walk to end hunger.  This 3 mile walk benefits local food banks and will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Email Cathy Tillman for more information: cgtillman@comcast.net.

I went out of town last weekend with some old friends from high school, and we all sat around talking about our lives now.  It became pretty clear that we have something special in our little A-town, and I had to stop myself from monopolizing conversations with stories of movie theaters, town songs, and the friendships that are here.  Don’t take it for granted.

Call or email me with your Ashland news: 310-5320, ashlandnews@gmail.com.  Go visit the businesses affected by the Center Street construction this weekend!