35 Mile Drive Courthouse Village Fair- October 30, Goochland

The 35 Mile Drive Courthouse Village Fair

Saturday, October 30, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Goochland, VA

Getaway to Goochland Courthouse Village and spend a day in the country at the 35 Mile Drive Courthouse Village Fair. Driving west from Richmond, enjoy the fall foliage and scenery on River Road West (aka 35 Mile Drive,) one of central Virginia’s most scenic drives through Goochland County.

Bring the kids, the dogs and and explore the Courthouse Village on foot (all .35 miles!)  With live music, food, wine, beer, art, history, farm fresh produce, animals, a beautiful outdoor setting and Halloween festivities, the fair offers something for every age and interest.

Courthouse Village Fair highlights include:

  • Octoberfest at Nadolski’s Butcher Shop. 2913 River Road West, Goochland, VA 23063, (804) 556-4888. Wine, seasonal brews, fine food and live bluegrass music!
  • Arts on the Lawn. 2938 River Road West, Goochland, VA 23063. Discover unique original art in a variety of mediums including painting, pottery, textiles, photography, glassware, etc. Local businesses and organizations also exhibit.    
  • Goochland Farmer’s Market. Grace Episcopal Church, 2955 River Road West. Shop for farm fresh produce, meats, flowers, baked goods and other items at the nationally ranked and final market of the season.
  • Monster Mash Music Fest. White Hawk Music Cafe, 1940 Sandy Hook Road. Goochland. (804) 556-3388. Costume contest and kids Halloween party from 4:00- 5:00. Live music, wine, beer and food that evening.

Cyclists and motorcycles welcome. Ride the 35 Mile Drive  starting at the county line at Henrico through Goochland to the town of Columbia. 70 mile round trip over scenic rolling hills. Points of interest include Tuckahoe Plantation, James River overlook and access at Tucker Park at Maiden’s Crossing (Rte 522,) the Historical Society, Brightly Bed & Breakfast, the Courthouse Village Fair (restaurants, shops, coffee cafe,) Orapax Hunting Preserve, Westview on the James river access and picnic spot, Rapalee Taxidermy, Celebrations Winery, Rassawek, Point of Fork and Columbia. For a complete list of  attractions and contact information visit our website at www.35miledrive.com

Interested in being an exhibitor at Arts on the Lawn? Contact aynsleyfisher@yahoo.com for an entry form and any additional information about the 35 Mile Drive Courthouse Village Fair.

The White Hawk Music Cafe is the current home of the 35 Mile Drive exhibit. Stop in to see the 18 original features which appeared in the Goochland Courier. www.whitehawkmusiccafe.com

James River Experience As Told By Sandy Fisher


Rossie & Sandy Fisher with Annie at Brookview Farm in Manakin-Sabot, Virginia

The James River became personal when we came to manage Sabot Hill Farm in Goochland County, Virginia,  in June 1979. The first thing I saw was a washed out corn crop due to flooding in the lowgrounds from Stoney Pond down to the old Sabot Station. From then on, I decided we would try not to plow too much with the moldboard plow to not have so much erosion. We also put a drain tile to help eliminate big puddles. This helped, but was expensive. We continued to farm the Sabot Island which was two feet higher and the crops were good there.

Local lore on how often the river flooded varied depending on who you talked to. Joe Scales, the local soil and water expert, said about every two years. My partners, Freddie and Bill Reed pretty much agreed with him, so we planted accordingly. We were really interested in getting as much crop as possible off those rich beautiful lowgrounds. The yields on corn and beans were almost double our poorer upland soils. We couldn’t help but notice that there was a line of water along the road between Chastain and Brookview Farm. Chastain flooded more easily than Brookview. We later learned that Bosher’s Dam’s influence (downstream in Richmond, Virginia) had slowed farming for anything east of Brookview.

We bought Brookview in 1972. During the 1980s, we had an irrigation pump and reel and, with a permit from the DEQ, pumped out of the beautiful but unpredictable river. We noticed that in July and August when our corn crop needed the most water, the river was lowest so we had to lower the pump and disturb the bank.

Another thing that needed studying was to fine tune the incidence of flooding. It seemed the river was coming out its banks at least once a year. Some small floods, two-three feet, were not bad for corn, but would cover a soybean crop. We liked soybeans which are a good nitrogen fixer for corn. After a couple of years, we planted just corn and hay. This time, in 1992, I sent away for as much information from the U.S. Corps of Engineers. They had a good data bank going back to 1900. We used 18 inches as a flood mark which would be damaging to soybeans or wheat or corn when it is young. The study took almost a year.

The frequency of flood was once a year with much greater intensity since 1970. This date matches more infrastructure upstream. Also there was no flooding during July and August. This led us to think about things like green beans which are 70 days. We thought about how we could plant them with equipment we had, but not harvest and sell, so we decided not to plant them.

Around 1995, Bill Reed of Chastain, tired of flood losses, began to look at a wetland mitigation bank. At Brookview, we had lost 150acres of wheat crop so we were also candidates. The flood had come in May and came up just barely covering the young wheat plants. We didn’t know that if water gets over the stamen line in the plants, then they are infertile. We went down to combine what looked like a good wheat crop and all the seed heads were hollow. That’s when we decided to also put Brookview’s lowgrounds in a mitigation bank. For the banks to qualify, we had to plant thousands of trees.

Freddie Reed at Sabot Hill realized the river’s flooding potential at this time and he and Hunter McGuire got the easily flooded Sabot Hill and Brookview Farm lowgrounds into the James River Mitigation Landbank. It has been very successful and the 500 acres plus are a great wildlife area. We are happy we have created a good nature preserve of upland hardwoods.

By Alexander M. (Sandy) Fisher, Jr. 2010

Today, Brookview Farm raises and sells all-natural, grass-fed and finished beef. Customers can purchase whole or half steers and select the cuts. Visit their website for additional information at www.brookviewarm.com or email themarket@brookviewfarm.com

Brookview Farm is a member of the 35 Mile Drive Association and an original feature in the newspaper series “35 Mile Drive- A River Road Runs Through It” which appeared in the Goochland Courier/ Central Virginian.

Family-Style Dining at Tanglewood Ordinary

Tanglewood Ordinary

            Southern home cooking brings to mind heaping platters of fried chicken, country ham, cornbread, biscuits and gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, fried apples, black-eyed peas, sweet tea and cobbler. As Paula Deen would say, “it is so good, y’all!”

            Although Southern food is defined as the cuisine south of the Mason-Dixon Line, it is truly a melting pot of culinary influences which span cultures from North America across the Atlantic. We can trace the origins of southern cooking to the southeastern Native Americans who incorporated squash, tomatoes, corn and deep pit barbecuing into their cuisine. Europeans introduced baking with sugar, flour, milk and eggs and French/Spanish influences are the hallmarks of Creole or Cajun cooking. You can find influences from the culinary traditions of Africans, the French, Spanish, English, Scottish, Irish, African-Americans and Native Americans which rise up too create a unique signature, a blending of ingredients, flavors and cooking techniques that are readily identified as Southern food.

            Some of our best-loved comfort food originated in the Applachian Mountains of southwest Virginia, and that is where the story begins for Goochland County’s  Tanglewood Ordinary restaurant located in central Virginia.

            In 1984, Jim and Anne Hardwick discovered The Homeplace restaurant. Tucked away in the small town of Catawba, in scenic southwest Virginia, the white farmhouse with the wide porch and rocking chairs paints a charming picture of southern hospitality. But it was a family-style Southern dining experience that really won them over. Over heaping platters of fried chicken, roast beef, ham and all the Southern sides an idea began to take shape.

         And so the hunt was on for the perfect property to start a similar restaurant in the Richmond area. As luck would have it, Tanglewood Ordinary was available, an ideal property with charm, country atmosphere and a great location along Route 6 in Goochland County. 

            The original two-room log cabin structure was built in 1928  and served as a filling station and sandwich shop. In 1935, an addition was added providing a basement, dance hall, and living quarters. Dances were held there on a weekly basis including the senior prom for Goochland High School.

            In the ‘40s and ‘50s, Tanglewood gained a reputation for being a wild scene after the sun went down. In spite of its rowdy reputation by night, by day, it remained a popular stop between Richmond and Charlottesville. Virginia Governor William Tuck often had his chauffeur drive him out for a cheese sandwich and a beer. He’d sit in his favorite spot, on the low rail fence out front and enjoy an afternoon in the country.     

           Since 1986, Tanglewood Ordinary has been serving up fried chicken, country ham and roast beef, mashed potatoes, green beans, black eyed peas, slaw, stewed tomatoes, cornbread, biscuits and cobbler- family style.

            With great food (as much as you’d like to eat,) fast service, country atmosphere…add to the mix a beautiful scenic drive along River Road West (35-Mile Drive) and you’ve got a recipe for a memorable dining experience and one of central Virginia’s  favorite family-style traditions.

            Visit their website at www.ordinary.com. Tanglewood is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.