Letter to the Editor: Saturday in Clarke County

I love Fall in Clarke County.

The ancient mountain stands gloriously ablaze in golds, reds, and oranges while the Shenandoah River meanders at her base steadfast and powerful. I love that part especially.

Saturday morning here was alive with wonder as hundreds of people gathered at the Park to cheer the boys and girls along as they moved soccer balls up and down the fields. It was a beautiful sight watching the families, the coaches, the beautiful little children on a Fall day. The excited voice of an announcer announces football games at JWMS, more kids playing. In the town parking lot the FISH food drive has cars filled with food donations for the food pantry.

A stop at The Barns revealed an amazing show of fabric art in the downstairs exhibit hall, and upstairs Clarke County’s rich equestrian heritage shows up in photographs from all over the county of our fabulous horses. In the morning light the welcoming mosaic depicting Clarke County shines like a jewel in the visitor’s center at The Barns.

And all of this was before noon.

Gathering up the grandchildren we headed over to the Clarke County Animal Shelter where there were more people having a great time of it.

Pony rides provided delight for little ones who have never before sat upon a horse’s back. Dogs jumping hurtles, running through tunnels, and weaving through barriers bring a tear to my eye. They are so joyful in their obedience to their master. The line is long as people waited with their dogs to receive a rabies shot. A chanteuse and her backup musicians played terrific music that some of us liked for dancing. The shelter was immaculately clean and for the first time our grandsons understood that even animals are homeless sometimes and need help and homes.

That beautiful orange kitten was hard to pass up. Maybe later.

Onward we go to Millwood to Heritage Day at the Burwell Morgan Mill. The light is beautiful and the giant trees around the Mill are gorgeous. The stream through the meadow rushes clear and glistening in the light. The Mill is alive with action. There are men and women in period clothing. The best ever apple cider is being made right there; hamburgers and hotdogs are on the grill; students from the Honor Society at CCHS are entertaining the children with pumpkin races over the waterfall, and there is a wine tasting. Inside the Mill the millers are demonstrating how that amazing mill grinds grain and are showing off tools of an era gone by. A store had been set up selling histories of Clarke County, pottery, and the Mill’s own great grain. There was even a fire in the giant fireplace where cornbread and mulled cider were being made.

Yes, we live in one of the finest places on Earth. And our community is stellar in its efforts to help others, to create a sense of cultural connection with the past and into the future, and to provide opportunities for fun for all of us. We have it all… a blue and powerful mountain, the Shenandoah River, and a community of wonderful people who are inspired to create a place that is exceptional in every way.

Thank you, Clarke County, for a great, great day.

Mary Jane Lee

Clarke County, Virginia


  1. Sharon Strickland says:

    This was a lovely reflection on a beautiful day. How refreshing to read after the ugly story about the cigarette sellers. More news like this —please– as we move towards Thanksgiving.