When I was a commercial real estate broker in downtown Washington, D.C., in the ’90s, I occasionally suffered from “concrete-itis.” Every turn of the head would showcase another building, an address conjuring up square footage, vacancies, and phone calls to make. Leaving the city for a round of golf and some good eats was a frequent remedy. When Raspberry Falls Golf & Hunt Club opened in 1996, I cemented the cure for “concrete-itis”: golf at Raspberry and lunch at Tuscarora Mill.
Early tee-times at Raspberry just allowed me to leave buildings behind, and I always enjoyed chuckling at the folks in traffic on the way to the jungle. The décor from cart-color to vests and bowties, always made me feel welcome and like I was doing something very important (and I was). Nothing has changed except I liked it so much I joined and now get to feel this way more often and they know my name. General Manager and Head Pro Willie Lutz does a remarkable job of making a guest feel like a “member for a day,” a motto of the club.
“I hold the greatest office in public golf,” says Lutz, who after only five years maintains hearty friendships with the many famous athletes, business owners, politicians, hobbyists and citizens that show up at the club. The club hosts over 100 golf events a season, houses the Raspberry Golf Academy in a stand-alone building featuring all the latest in instructional technology, and organizes everything from demo-day to club championships for its members. Raspberry Falls is a Gary Player Signature Course, the only of its kind in Virginia, and the Black Knight designed it himself, remarking “this site was made for a golf course!”
The second punch that completes my “spa day” is lunch at Tuscarora Mill, known locally as “Tuskies.” Since 1985, this smoked-lumber, shiny-bottled, warm hearted and culinarily creative establishment has served t-shirts and tuxes alike, in a fashion that makes it a regional favorite. I have frequently played golf at Raspberry by myself and ended up eating here with folks I was paired with.
Some bar time with owner Kevin Malone the other day after a visit to Raspberry was a tale-filled pleasure, with stories ranging from the friends of the establishment that have passed on to cranky and loveable 30-year veteran diners and drinkers. My favorite item on the menu is the seafood salad, but there are no shortage of scrumptious and original choices.
Malone also owns Magnolia’s at the Mill in Purcellville, South Street Under (located right under Tuskies), and three Fireworks Pizza locations, one of which is right next to Tuskies. Fireworks just opened up in Arlington also. The most I could get Malone to say upon querying him as to whether he has more restaurants on the horizon was “I love my wife.”
Some restaurants just have that thing, that aura that makes you feel welcome when you walk through the door, and this is one of them. The Market Station complex was originally developed by Bruce Brownell in the ’80s, and the cozy Tuskie’s space that used to be a mill (machinery still intact for your dining pleasure), was moved 200 yards from where the bike path is now. The complex almost feels like it is right out of a colorful, historic western town. … Oh wait, that’s what it is.
I have been subjecting myself to this one-two punch for almost 25 years now, and I still enjoy it just as much as I did the first time. If you need a cure for the city blues, this highly important, sometimes confidential, always enjoyable itinerary will put the wind back in your sails and deliver you home a happier soul.