As the promoter of antique shows across the East Coast, Dordy Fontinel's career is almost as storied as the pieces of vintage Americana she vends. A collector since her teenage years, Dordy first started in the antiques business in 1978, eventually moving into promotion in 1992. She was joined in her new venture by her husband, Stillie Mason, an auctioneer with 18 years of experience. Together, the pair helps dealers display their wares to new crowds of collectors, filling their events with vintage home decor, jewelry, and accessories?many of which date from the 1760s to the 1960s.
In its inaugural season, the Tom Tom Founders Festival has snagged more than 50 bands to celebrate the culmination of a month's worth of music, art, and innovation. On Friday, May 11, The Walkmen draw crowds to Main Street Arena in advance of the band's imminent seventh album, Heaven. Expectations are high for the critically beloved quintet, whose new song has been named by Pitchfork as a Best New Track and whose previous release placed on the music site's Best New Music of 2010 list for its compelling sound "rooted in a scrappy, scratchy New York tradition that dates back to the Velvet Underground or Bob Dylan. Later that night, Eliot Lipp extends the party past the midnight hour with his hybrid of '90s hip-hop and house.
With its snaking, soaring caves, Shenandoah Caverns has amazed visitors since its opening to the public in 1922. Rushing waters and violent earthquakes formed the the caverns, which have given it a unique geology and mesmerizing crystalline structures. In an hour-long tour, you'll weave you past intricate formations, such as "breakfast bacon" limestone, a unique phenomenon that was once featured in National Geographic, and the rainbow lake, with its reflective purple, pink, and red hues and leprechaun colony. The caverns are kept at a comfortable 56 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, and elevators and easy-to-traverse terrain make the area accessible to people of any age or physical ability.
A coalition of nine different wineries founded Southern Virginia Wine Fest in 2009, and it continues to introduce visitors to the finest vintages crafted by local residents. Although the festival has expanded to include 12 growers, it still provides the opportunity to chat personally with winemakers and vineyard owners about the process behind making their bottled beverages. The participants peruse more than 60 different wines, complementing the libations with specialty foods and live music throughout the day. The festival even offers a specialty passport tour, which includes visits to all 12 vineyards and stops at notable sites, local eateries, and Dionysian temples along the way.
Rolling hills and meadows cascade toward the organic-farming grounds that surround Paris Barns, where red-roofed buildings and metallic grain silos stand as pleasant punctuations against the lush landscape. The Virginian soil hosts more than 10,500 tomato plants, as well as other seasonal vegetables and herbs. The grounds also act as a certified wildlife habitat for goats, lambs, and alpacas, as well as more exotic animals such as flightless emus, which entertain visitors with their aggressive posturing and spot-on Groucho Marx impersonations.
In addition to harvesting their crops, the zen-minded farmers share their passion for sustainable living with the community at events and workshop that dish the ins and outs of organic farming. When the weather turns warm, the staffers shear wool from the resident sheep and alpacas, demonstrate crafts, and sell fiber-based arts. Meanwhile, beekeepers raid rows upon rows of hives for pure, organic honey.
Staff Size: 50+ people
Average Duration of Services: 4+ hours
Parking: Parking lot
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Brands Used: Dogfish Head, Uinta, and Original Sin Breweries, among others.
Recommended Age Group: Adults
Pro Tip: Bring lawn chairs, sunglasses, and the courage to kick your shoes off and dance.
Most Popular Attraction/Offering: Craft brews for every taste.
I'm a first-timer. How do you get me ready for the experience?
Bring a chair, stay a while, engage others, and bring cash for our vendors so you can taste the different offerings before choosing a favorite. Looking for just the right brew? Engage others for advice.
As the old adage says, "Stuff happens." What training do you and your staff have to stay ahead of the unexpected?
A quick wit, and great humor.
What is the experience customers can expect, and how do you make it special?
Quick service, friendly conversation, great food, vendors, and fun music. We aim to make this a great countryside experience.