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The mud kitchen at the nature playground at Spruce Creek Park.

Foundation Announces New Personnel

The Rockfish Valley Foundation is pleased to welcome Elise Lauterbach (elise@rockfishvalley.org)  as its first paid staff member. She takes the role of part-time executive director.  We also welcome Rachel Deddens (rachel@rockfishvalley.org) as our first part-time manager of the Rockfish Valley Foundation Natural History Center. Please contact them at 434-361-0271 or by email.

Unique Store Open in Lovingston


It’s incredible to think how the local craft brewing industry has flowered in Nelson County. In just a decade, the bar has been permanently raised as talented visionaries have manifested their individual tastes into tangible experiences all can share.

This embrace of personal preference and a vibrant faith in the time-tested ideals these ideas are rooted in, are what inspired Luke and Adrienne Ramsey to open the doors of Home Remedies Mercantile and Exchange., located next to the Post Office, in Lovingston.

“A heartfelt affinity for local, organic, non-GMO food, and farmers committed to food integrity, is certainly a foundation stone of our market,” says Adrienne Young- Ramsey, proprietor. “Along-side a deep desire for establishing authentic community is a passion for the land Divinity has given us to nurture and protect. We just had a simple hunger for the best food out there which, fortunately for us, is just around the corner. Otherwise, we would have to drive hours to get it! So, we aim to bring it back home, so to speak.”

At Home Remedies Merchantile and Exchange, you’ll find grass fed, grass finished dairy, eggs, meats and poultry, (much sourced from The Ramsey’s own farm,) produce and fruits cultivated in an environmentally friendly manner, local herbs, culinary/seasonal medicinals, organic sourdough breads and pastries, fermented foods and beverages, and delicious coffees and teas made with the best fairly traded ingredients.

More Coming to Schuyler: Earl’s Meadow is Developing

Down an unmarked road that meanders along the Rockfish River, in the small hamlet of Schuyler, gentle green hills that surround The Waltons Hamner House will soon be transformed into a mecca for generations of Waltons fans.

Earl’s Meadow already features The Waltons Hamner House, beloved boyhood home of Earl.  Soon, just next door to this well-built 1915 company house that lovingly sheltered the Hamner family, a new bed and breakfast inn will be built, appropriately known as Livvy’s B&B. This five bedroom bed and breakfast inn will be a replica of the Waltons television show house and will be a hallmark for every Waltons fan who steps across the threshold. Carefully furnished with replicas from the Waltons set, fans can see many items favored by set designers who furnished each room to exact detail, remembered by the original Storyteller, Earl Hamner, Jr.

Beautiful “Quarry Gardens” Also in Schyler

The Quarry Gardens at Schuyler are nestled into a 600-acre property owned by Armand and Bernice Thieblot. The featured quarries were actively mined between the 1950s and 1970s.

Opened in the Spring of 2017 as a public garden, the Quarry Gardens features about two miles of walking trail, more than 30 galleries of native plant communities, and a Visitor Center that includes exhibits on native plants, local ecosystems, and the history of the soapstone industry in Schuyler, as well as a classroom. Future goals are to establish a designated plant propagation area as well as sites for plant research.

Soapstone and Schuyler

Soapstone exists in only a few places in the world, among them Alaska, Brazil, Finland—and Central Virginia. For more than half a century, it was the reason and livelihood for the community of Schuyler.

Since the 1890’s, Schuyler has been the soapstone capital of the world, mining and shaping talc-rich steatite into products both useful and beautiful. Schuyler remains the only active soapstone-quarrying area in the U.S.

Soapstone is a metamorphic rock composed mostly of talc and magnesium. It is dense, solid gray, and non-absorbent; resistant to both acids and bases, electrically neutral, and heat-retaining. It has a soapy-feeling surface and is easily carved. Such qualities made it a useful material for laboratory countertops, laundry tubs, film developing tanks, electrical backboards, telephone switchboards, stair treads, and other architectural features.