U.Va. Credit Union Opens Downtown
It’s not the biggest, nor does it have the most members, but U.Va. Credit Union’s downtown Crozet Branch is certainly the most technologically advanced, at least for now. It’s also the first one to have an open-style lobby, where people who enter are individually greeted and directed, whether to a machine or a person, rather than automatically queuing up in a traditional teller line. The downtown branch on Three-Notch’d Road opened last month with a grand opening that drew hundreds of people throughout the day. With catering by the MudHouse and trays from the Crozet Market next door, the refreshments served to emphasize the close-knit aspect of small-town life.
So did the speeches. At the brief ribbon-cutting ceremony outside on a sunny spring day, U.Va. Credit Union Board Chairman Jeffrey Moscicki spoke about the local business community and its support, as well as the members who play a part in the credit union’s success by choosing to bank at smaller, locally-owned institutions. Supervisor Ann Mallek also spoke briefly about its importance in her own family’s life, whether for mortgages, car loans or college.
Once inside, members and neighbors were introduced to the future of banking. A ring of small screens formed a kind of triage, inviting you to “Learn” “Bank” “Borrow” or “Review,” with the next step appearing on the screen. There’s also a new take on the ATM, called an ITM (Interactive Teller Machine) in the lobby. It allows members to perform far more complex functions than collect cash or deposit checks.
Most surprising of all was a machine that scans your veins, a marker that Branch Manager Colin Martin said is many times more accurate and fool-proof than a fingerprint. Once members are scanned, they can use the outside drive-through machines with a flick of the wrist. “You know how you’re always forgetting your card or dropping it out the window,” Martin said. “This makes it so easy.” Martin will manage the downtown branch as well as the branch at Clover Lawn, which will remain open.
For those easily overwhelmed by technology, there are people stationed both behind the teller screens and right inside the front door. “Other branches will be converting over time,” Martin said. “We’re the first.”
Linda Skelly, U.Va. Credit Union’s director of marketing, said there are about 3,000 members in Crozet, banking at two of the credit union’s 20 branches. U.Va. Credit Union employs more than 250 workers and serves more than 70,000 members.
Waynesboro Match Grant Goes to Children’s Museum
The Blue Ridge Children’s Museum met a major fundraising goal in March, raising the $10,000 needed to receive matching funds from Grow Waynesboro. Karen Orlando, the museum’s founder, said the museum has found a potential home near the city’s downtown and will need to raise an additional $10,000 in order to renovate the building at 201 Short Street.
Blue Ridge Children’s Museum has been operating for several years as a “museum without walls,” providing activities for families in Waynesboro, Augusta County, Staunton, and Western Albemarle.
Besides raising the money for the renovation, Orlando said the museum is seeking sponsors for exhibits and continuing its full program of activities in the community. The “museum without walls” is offering two summer camps for children, one in cooperation with the Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway; and one in cooperation with Project GROWS. A spaghetti dinner is planned as a fundraiser April 15 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Heritage Restaurant in Waynesboro.
For information about the Blue Ridge Children’s Museum, including the camps and dinner tickets, visit BlueRidgeChildrens Museum.org.
Loving Cup Owner Named Grower of Year
The Virginia Vineyards Association named Karl Hambsch, the first grower in Virginia to receive organic certification, as “Grower of the Year.” Hambsch and his family started the winery in 2007 with a small planting of vines on the family farm in North Garden.
In accepting the award, Hambsch noted that it was his boyhood on the farm that gave him a sense of responsibility for the land and the watershed. The vineyard now has five acres planted with Cayuga White, Marquette, and Corot Noir. Hambsch has been active in the association and in working with new vineyard owners, said Association President Nate Walsh.
Local Wines Celebrated at Governor’s Cup
Wines from Crozet-area wineries win many regional and national awards, but winemakers are especially pleased when they do well at the Governor’s Cup competition, where local vintners and winemakers mingle with their peers and compete with wineries that have the same challenges as they do.
The 2019 awards announced in February included two King Family wines in the “Governor’s Case,” made up of twelve wines chosen from the more than 500 submitted. Included in the 12 were the vineyard’s Mountain Plains 2016 and Meritage 2016. The King Family’s Loreley 2015 and Mountain Plains 2015 also won gold medals. King Family winemaker Matthieu Finot noted that the 2014 Meritage had won the overall competition last year.
“It shows our consistency in crafting some of the best wines in the Virginia,” Finot said. Both the Mountain Plains and the Meritage are red Bordeaux blends. The Meritage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec and has been King Family’s flagship wine for years, Finot said: The Mountain Plains is a smaller batch of very carefully selected barrels, blended from Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Finot said the 2016 vintage is the second edition of this blend, and that both of these wines are available at the winery or online.
This year, Horton, a Barboursville winery, won the overall competition with its Petit Manseng 2016, one of three Virginia bottlings from the small white grape chosen for the case. All wines submitted to the Governor’s Cup must contain 100 percent Virginia fruit. The Governor’s Cup Case is featured by the state in national and international marketing. In Virginia, 300 wineries cultivate more than 3,800 acres of grapes and provide jobs for more than 8,200 people.
Other local 2019 Governor’s Cup Gold Medalists were Afton Mountain Vineyards Tradition 2016; Glass House Winery Barbera 2017; Veritas Vineyard & Winery Cabernet Franc 2017; and Veritas Vineyard & Winery VR 2016.
Crozet Trolley Rolling with Regular Tours
Rosie and Belle, the picturesque Crozet trolleys, will soon be joined by Clementine, said Shawn Bird, who owns the Crozet Trolley Company with his wife, Atieno. In March, the trolley provided transportation to Charlottesville for the Mumford and Sons concert and festooned Rosie with green for a St. Patrick’s Day tour. Rosie, Belle, and Clementine will take turns every Saturday navigating the “Crozet Spirit Loop,” a flexible circuit with stops at a number of wineries and breweries.
Also, Bird said, a “Sunset Wine Tour” will leave Crozet on selected Friday evenings and a “Sunday Drive Wine Tour” will be offered on Sunday afternoons. “On top of that,” he said, “in coordination with a group of parents from WAHS, we’re offering a trolley ride to the prom for Western students on April 13, to and from the Charlottesville Mall.”
For information and to make reservations, go to www.crozettrolley.com.
Crozet Psychologist Opens Forensic Practice
Crozet Resident Robert Haxter found over his years as both an individual therapist and a psychologist in Albemarle schools that he enjoys his work with children and adolescents, even with those highly resistant to counseling. In addition to his work with Aligned Clinical and Educational Services at Clover Lawn, where he does testing, assessment and therapy, and his private counseling service at his home in Crozet, Dr. Haxter recently opened a forensic practice as part of his Blue Ridge Psychological Associates. In this practice, he travels widely to clients in the judicial system in need of assessment, whether it be for their competence to stand trial, their mental state at the time of an offense, their propensity towards violence, or their likelihood of repeating a crime.
Forensic work is typically requested by an attorney or an agency. He also works with the judicial system on assessments of parental competence.
The new practice adds a lot novelty to his work, Haxter said. “Although courts might repeatedly ask the same question, the circumstances within each case are drastically different. I appreciate that variety, as it often drives me to learn something new and to push myself professionally.”
Wine, Barbecue and Coffee at Rocket
There was a line waiting outside Rocket Coffee March 23 well before opening. That was the day Lovingston Winery opened its tasting room in Rocket’s extra space. Tasting Associate Erin Riley said that “Lovingston West” will offer tastings, glasses and bottles of its six wines Wednesday to Sunday from 11 to 6. In addition, Riley said, those belonging to the Lovingston Wine Club can pick up their orders either there or at the winery. In addition to the tastings and the regular coffee, Marie Bette products, and housemade sandwiches and desserts, the coffee shop on Rte. 250 and Crozet Avenue now offers smoked meats and sides from Hank’s Barbecue. Hank’s mobile operation, Hank’s Fly’n Pig, will be at Rocket Thursday through Sunday with their full menu, but breakfast sandwiches featuring Hank’s smoked meats on English muffins are available seven days a week.
Deborah Ferreira, Manager of Green Olive Tree
Last fall, the board of the Green Olive Tree hired its first shop manager. Deborah Ferreira, an 18-year resident of Crozet, grew up in Florida and earned a master’s degree in speech-language pathology, followed by an endorsement in teaching from Oregon State. She’s been a practicing speech pathologist for more than 36 years, with a special interest in stroke rehabilitation and dementia care, and has taught in both public and private schools. She’s also certified in foot reflexology and uses this skill to calm agitated patients who struggle with dementia. When she’s not working, Deborah enjoys time with her family, singing in her church choir, cooking, dancing, gardening, reading and photography.
The new tenant in the former SWAY space on Three Notch’d Road is Mountain Lumber, the Greene County lumber reclamation company. The space is presently being extensively remodeled. Meanwhile, there’s nothing to report from the vacant Otto’s and Mountainside spaces at Clover Lawn, and Mechum’s Trestle is still a work in progress, although realtor Stuart Rifkin confirmed it will be a restaurant.
Meanwhile, Sam’s Hot Dogs & Trey’s Restaurant began offering soft-serve ice cream in late March, adding vanilla cones and dishes to the selection of desserts, sides, fish, shrimp and chef’s specials—housemade by chef Trey Wilkerson––that supplement the hot dog menu there.
Legendary journalist and prize-winning author Earl Swift has been living quietly in Afton while his latest book, “Chesapeake Requiem” has been quickly piling up almost every award a non-fiction book can get. In addition to his many trips over the years to Tangier Island, Swift spent two years there with its beleaguered watermen, documenting their lives and challenges, and examining the puzzle of how their religious and political beliefs are at odds with the possibility of correcting the coming tragedy caused by the changing climate and rising seas, which are expected to totally submerge the island in as little as 25 years. Swift will talk about his book at WMRA’s Books and Brews, at Pale Fire Brewery in Harrisonburg April 9 and at Pro Re Nata April 10; both from 7 to 8 p.m.
A new food truck rolled into Pro Re Nata in late winter. Hops Kitchen has standard brewery burgers, sliders and wings, but with an imaginative twist, and adds a nice Caribbean, Thai and Indonesian flair to other menu selections.
Crozet Creamery celebrated its second birthday in late March with free birthday cake and free sprinkles for cones and cups. Manager Erik Schetlick said business has been steady at the Creamery throughout the winter. He opened up a toppings bar last week and continues to partner with community organizations for fundraisers.
Over in Waynesboro, people are flocking to the new Benny Stivales Pizza and Beer Garden on Main Street, part of the “Benny” chain of restaurants, known for 28-inch pizzas. The Waynesboro store will also specialize in local beer, wine, and cider. Coming soon to the downtown is a Habitat ReStore in the Old Salvation Army Store, set to open May 1.
Catherine Dunne began work as the manager of Rockfish Valley Community Center’s popular Treasure Chest in January. She’s uniquely suited for the job, with a background in both art and antiques. Dunne said she’s been methodically cleaning and rearranging the space to make sure people can easily find what they’re looking for. The thrift store provides considerable support to the community center and the community and, with the Nelson County SPCA, will provide the fashions displayed at “Rescue Runway,” a fashion show and afternoon tea benefitting the community center and the SPCA on April 7 from 2 to 4. For information, go to RVCC.org.
Down the road in Nellysford, Todd Shue and Walter Slawski have teamed up for Nelly’s Wok, set to open mid-month. Both are veterans of the local food scene. When Shue moved to Nelson County, he realized there was a need for local Chinese food. Slawski, who owns The Shebeen and The Catering Outfit in Charlottesville, said the food will be “elevated” Chinese. He’s not just referring to the mountains: Nelly’s Wok will use fresh ingredients with no added chemicals. Can’t wait for the opening? Find samples of fresh Chinese food at the restaurant in the Nellysford shopping center every Thursday at 12:30.