As you read through this issue of The Rising Sun, you will get a sense of how many things are going on at Happy Retreat at different levels. We continue to make steady progress on the restoration of the house and outbuildings. We have established two signature annual events – the Wine & Jazz Festival and June and the Craft Beer and Music Festival in September – which will continue to anchor our calendar of activities. The Book Club has introduced many in our community to two excellent books and provided a stimulating setting to discuss them. Our AmeriCorps member, Rachel Niswander, has set up a program to archive the growing amount of material — books, letters, papers, even furniture – in our collection. This December we will host our first Christmas Open House. In 2018, we will inaugurate the Charles Washington Chamber Orchestra concert series.
Our challenge is to develop a sustainable “shared use” plan for Happy Retreat that will accommodate all of these activities and more. To that end, we will be launching a Grand Idea Task Force in early 2018.
The name is taken from Joel Achenbach’s book about George Washington’s “grand idea” to develop the Potomac river as a route of commerce between the Western frontier and mid-Atlantic ports. The Task force will bring together a broad spectrum of local historical, cultural and educational groups, along with representatives of tourism and hospitality agencies. The goal will be to produce a blue print for the use of Happy Retreat that will accommodate as many kinds of activities as we can — festivals, concerts, event rentals, classes – in a way that will help make our organization financially sustainable. We are fortunate that the National Trust for Historic Preservation will be advising us, lending their expertise to our effort.
Please come to our holiday open house — Happy Christmas at Happy Retreat – on Sunday, December 10, from 2 to 4 pm. You will see the house decorated as it might have been in earlier times. There will be cider, cookies and seasonal music.