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Ideas, trends and inspiration.

Meet Local Soap Makers


June 20, 2016 | Ivy Publications

A few years ago, Kathy Ramsay started raising chickens and encouraged her husband Bob to purchase some goats. Bianca, Journey, and Esther, three “girls” full of personality and charm now greet visitors in the first pasture at Wynott Farm. The mini-Nubian goats are kept company by a flock of free-ranging hens and Lucy and Ethel, two Karakachans, livestock dogs originating from Bulgaria.

“We are breeding for conformation and milk,” says Bob. “We love their great personality, the farm fresh, sweet, creamy milk they provide for our table and for us to make soap, and of course the long ears and roman noses for which Nubians are famous.” Alongside their jobs away from their little farm, the Ramsays enjoy the twice-a-day milkings and making the soaps in the evenings together.

The soaps are made by hand in the traditional 200-year-old cold-process method—each bar taking a little over a month to produce. The Ramsays start with their proprietary blending of goat milk, oils of olive, coconut, jojoba and rice bran, butters of Shea and cocoa as well as essential oils in a large bucket. And once Kathy’s expert eye determines the soap has reached “trace,” the perfect consistency, she and Bob pour the soap into the mold to set for 24 hours.

After 24 hours, the soap is soft enough to cut into logs, followed with another 24 hours of aging before cutting into the bars. The bars are then aged for a few weeks at minimum before being dressed with a wide hand-cut ribbon, upcycled from burlap coffee bean bags, and a charming Wynott Farm sticker. Now, they are ready for sale.

In addition to being carried in several area boutiques, Bob is at the Charlottesville City Market every other Saturday, chatting with all who pause to admire the beautiful bars. The Ramsays look forward to sharing their adventures with their children and grandchildren.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.

 

Shop Like a Local


June 7, 2016 | Ivy Publications

Living in and visiting this stunning area of ours means having a plethora of activities at your fingertips all summer long. With fly fishing, horseback riding, wine tastings, live music and more, Charlottesville certainly is a bustling corner of the countryside. With all the wonderful features of our little slice of paradise, we also enjoy wonderful shopping, whether as a pursuit on its own or in preparation for another adventure.

One of the main shopping destinations for locals and visitors alike is the Barracks Road Shopping Center, which offers a remarkably well-curated selection of local boutiques and national retailers. In a town where nothing is untouched by history, it is now considered one of the oldest in the country at 57 years of age.

Even before it became a notable shopping center, the area was already steeped in history. It should be no surprise to any Virginia native to hear its roots date back to colonial times. The road itself actually takes its name from the military barracks west of town near Ivy Farms that used to house British and German prisoners during the Revolutionary War. If you look closely at the Barracks Road logo, you will notice a rider on a horse, which serves as an ode to the Cavalry soldiers who manned the “Barracks.”

Barracks Sign

This shopping center has become an intricate part of Charlottesville life year-round, hosting events such as the Annual Holiday Parade. Hundreds of locals partake in the festival each year, welcoming Santa Claus into town for the holiday season. This 40-year-old tradition includes colorful floats, costumed characters and horse-drawn carriages.

Dining Barracks

Not to be overlooked is the prominent fountain outside of the space now shared by Panera Bread and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Many locals have fond memories of tossing a coin and watching it ripple away. The enchanting fountain has recently been upgraded to provide a pleasant backdrop for the new, outdoor sitting area. Inviting, cozy sofas sit under a wooden trellis with twinkling lights overhead, making it the perfect place to sit and spend time with friends day or night.

Kate Spade

The Barracks Road Shopping Center collection of stores specifically caters to the goings on around Charlottesville, whether you’re looking for sporty fishing gear, a Foxfield dress or just the right present for that UVA student.

Looking for some CHOho style? The Pink Palm is sure to fit the bill with their popular Lily Pulitzer collection or the many fashionable accessories. Kate Spade’s bold designs and crisp colors exude a sense of playful sophistication. Strappy espadrille wedges and delicate pearl earrings complement the wide selection of leather clutches, wallets and purses in this storefront. Or try the ever classic couture of White House, Black Market.

For the explorer, think Albemarle Angler, Great Outdoor Provision Company and Beecroft & Bull, a bespoke men’s clothier. If you fancy local delights, be sure not to miss Scarpa, Levy’s, Penelope for jewelry and The Happy Cook, purveyor of fine kitchenware. There are many great locally-flavored gifts to be discovered at The Virginia Shop. We know all that shopping is bound to create an appetite, but restaurants such as HotCakes, Aroma’s Café, Five Guys and Zinburger will satisfy that craving.

Shopping curiosity piqued? Here’s the full list of merchants at Barracks Road.

From Ivy Publications, publishers of Charlottesville Wine & Country Living, a semi-annual magazine of Life & Style in Jefferson’s Virginia; Charlottesville Wine & Country Weddings,an annual art book celebrating elegant country weddings in Jefferson’s Virginia; CharlottesvilleFamily’s Bloom Magazine, a monthly parenting magazine with a calendar of Charlottesville festivals and events plus stories on education, health and family fun; and the Charlottesville Welcome Book, a guide to attractions like Monticello, vineyards, the University of Virginia as well as a relocation handbook. Email us at living@ivypublications.com with your questions and inquiries, or call us at 434-984-4713.