We want answers. To lots of questions.
Questions about important stuff, like: Who makes the best pies, cakes and
cookies in town? So, please send in your picks for the10 categories that
constitute our 2007 Readersí Choice Awards. All votes must be for
people, places and things. Entries are due by May 1, and should be sent to
Readersí Choice Awards, c/o Cooperative Living,
, Glen Allen, VA 23058-2340.
You may also vote online by going to our
Web site, www.co-opliving.com, clicking on ďContestsĒ and following the
For mail-in votes, include your name,
address, phone number, and which electric cooperative serves you. If you are
voting in more than one category, send each vote on a separate piece of
paper (can be mailed together), and please: one vote per category. Now, to
prime the pump, herewith are my selections in each of our categories. But my
votes donít count; yours do! So get busy and vote, and look for the
results in our August issue.
1) Best fried chicken from a store or
No question in my mind: The Homeplace in
the breathtakingly beautiful
, about 30 minutes from
. Their country ham, roast beef, home-cooked veggies and homemade biscuits
are to die for, too.
2) Best local bakery
This is like shooting fish in a barrel,
er, pies in a case. Mrs. Roweís in Staunton (near the intersection of I-64
and I-81) has the most heavenly pies, cookies, cobblers and sweet
confections this side of, well, heaven.
3) Best golf course
I donít play golf, but then opining on
things outside oneís sphere is something journalists do all the time,
right? So Iíll vote for Poplar Grove in
, the last course designed by the late
and PGA legend ďSlamminí Ē Sam Snead. Iíve visited the course, and
the rolling hills, streams, and lake and mountain views actually made me
wish that I lived on a golf course.
4) Greatest Virginia-born athlete (living
Iíll go for style AND substance here:
Arthur Ashe was a great human being and humanitarian who also happened to be
a great tennis player.
5) Best country store
Iíve visited a bunch and two leap to
mind: Carterís Country Store near
, and Groveís Store in Somersville in
. Both bring old-fashioned value and good vibes to patrons hungry for a good
sandwich or just good conversation.
6) Best live music venue
If you like BIG (parking lot, seating
area, stage and, of course, acts) itís hard to beat Nissan Pavilion near
Manassas; if small and lively are more your style, then youíll love the
authentic old-time mountain music at The Friday Night Jamboree at Southwest
VAís Floyd Country Store.
7) Favorite local doctor
Iíll pick two gentlemen who are gentle
men: Dr. James Priest, a caring, giving dentist from
, and Dr. Robert Beatley, an old-fashioned family doctor from Reedville on
the Northern Neck, both of whom bring compassionate medical care to all,
regardless of circumstance.
8) Favorite teacher
So many wonderful mentors for each of us
to choose from. My favorite is the late Bill Dietrick (who wrote a column
for this magazine during the 1990s), who taught me a great deal as a teacher
at the University of Richmond, and even more as a mentor and friend after
9) Best local newspaper
I especially love two, one east and one
west. To the east, I love The Eastern Shore News, which does a great job
covering the Commonwealthís often-overlooked presence at the southern
point of the
. To the west, I favor The Recorder, a sparkling little weekly that covers
all the goings-on in
ís least-populous county,
, and her slightly larger adjoining cousin county,
10) Prettiest college campus
Again, the Old Dominion has more than
her fair share. Iíll vote for
. This all-girlsí college has a small enrollment of just over 700,
beautiful Collegiate Gothic architecture, and rolling hills and mountain
views that are stunning, whether clothed in spring flowers or draped in
winter snow. (Disclosure: My daughter attends there, but that didnít
prejudice my vote. Too much. Really.)