Friends of Happy Retreat, like the rest of the world, is gradually emerging from the pandemic. Although we were not able to hold events over the past year, work on restoration and planning continued. As reported in our last newsletter, we have hired the firm of Landmarks, SGA, to develop a comprehensive plan to complete our restoration of Happy Retreat and for the overall use of the property. We have held several meetings with Landmarks since December, both in person and virtually. In April, we met with representatives of the City of Charles Town and the West Virginia Fire Marshal’s office. Once the comprehensive plan is completed, we will use it to leverage historic preservation tax credits to raise the funds we need to complete our work.
Two new upcoming projects in the planning stage are an herb garden and a Monarch butterfly garden. The Bee Line Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution will be presenting a plan to us for the herb garden. We are working with the Potomac Valley Audubon Society on the butterfly garden for 2022. We look forward to working with both organizations on these new gardening projects at Happy Retreat.
We want to bring music back to Happy Retreat in 2021. We were excited to be contacted earlier this year by the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival which asked to use Happy Retreat as one of the venues for its performances in August. More of the details are outlined in this newsletter. Plans to bring musicians from the University of West Virginia Music Department to Happy Retreat last summer were interrupted by the pandemic. We look forward to getting back on track with those plans as well as the regular concerts of the Charles Washington Chamber Music Society.
Regrettably, we will not be holding our Craft Beer & Music Festival this year. Due to the uncertainties of Covid, we were not able to start planning for the event in the time it takes to organize a successful event. We will be back in 2022!