The changing season beckons Georgetowners to visit Virginia’s rolling hills, farmlands and historic villages, exulting in the fresh air and expansive scenes within an hour’s drive of Washington. Even better is to be able to take the day to celebrate a special occasion at an extraordinary destination. Best of all is to be able to share that day in the country with family and friends old and new, benefiting a good cause.
All this came together on Sunday, Oct. 9, at a farm, kennels, stables and country estate near the village of Catlett in Fauquier County, some 54 miles from Georgetown. It was the week of St. Francis’s feast, which is celebrated with ceremonies to bless the animals in churches, pastures, forests, stables and fields around the world.
It was also the second annual golf event and open house at Carla Nammack’s Country Club Kennels and Training on Bristersburg Road, a fundraiser for the Chance Foundation, which helps homeless, abused, neglected and abandoned dogs of all breeds. (Note: The foundation was featured in an August 2013 Georgetowner cover story.)
While challenging for the golfers at the nearby links course at Bristow Manor Golf Club, the windy day didn’t disrupt the happy reunion for the many adopted dogs, who came with their owners to see and play with their old friends at the beautiful kennel where they had found new life.
And play they did. A swim party took place in the early afternoon at the large tiled swimming pool. The water was a bit too cool for the humans, but several dogs, mainly Labs, were not at all deterred, eagerly plunging into the water to capture balls and sticks. Other dogs romped together around their picnicking owners, lying out in the many fenced paddocks of the kennels, or walked the nearby country trails and bridle paths with them. Some shared the barbecue and sat contently next to their owners and friends, taking in the live country music.
Getting there was fun, too. Winding roads take you past prosperous-looking working farms, some with multiple outbuildings, others with small barns and family plots. Often large old family homes along the route have antiques arranged intriguingly on their wide-pillared porches, seemingly for both conversation and sale.
There are numerous villages with histories dating to the early 1600s in Fauquier County. Civil War sites are marked with historical plaques that tell the story of what happened exactly at that place. Driving, one passes small country stores selling garden and hardware supplies, groceries and an occasional post office. Gas stations offer gasoline at least 20 to 40 cents a gallon cheaper than in the District — another reason for a fall getaway to the Virginia countryside.