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‘Serenity’ to call Urbanna home

“Serenity” enters Urbanna Harbor, her new port.  (Photo by Richard Haynes)

by Tom Chillemi

The Town of Urbanna and the 65-foot schooner “Serenity” have partnered to bring a unique sailing experience to the area.

Serenity is now permanently home-ported at the Urbanna Town Marina at Upton’s Point, said Captain Laura Lohse.

On Monday, council authorized the town attorney to write a lease giving Serenity free dockage, but charging $50 a month for utilities. In exchange, “Serenity of Urbanna” will market cruises that will bring people to the town.

The two-masted schooner is symbolic of days when sailing vessels carried commerce on the Bay. It will mesh well with Urbanna’s history, said council member Janet Smith.

Serenity currently offers afternoon and sunset cruises on the Rappahannock River on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Customers are encouraged to bring their own picnic with their favorite beverages, said Captain Lohse. The cost is $35 per person. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 1-800-979-3370.

In another matter, council appointed Bill Dickerson to a five-year term on the Urbanna Historic and Architectural Review Board (HARB) to fill the vacancy left by Peggy Winn, who resigned. Dickerson, who is part owner of Atherston Hall Bed and Breakfast, has a degree in landscaping.

Council also set two items for public hearing at its August 17 meeting. One hearing will be on the 2009 Urbanna Oyster Festival Master Plan; the other is on a proposal to raise the meals and lodging tax from 4% to 5%.

Dr. Jim Robusto, president of the Urbanna Business Association (UBA), said the organization has been surveying visitors at the monthly Urbanna Farmers’ Market in an effort to find ways to improve tourism. He said a long-term goal is to develop a “regional flavor” that would highlight the authenticity and history of Urbanna.

He said UBA membership has doubled to about 35 since January when the association almost disbanded, and that the association is working on several projects and has an improved website at

UBA member Kerry Robusto said the town house tour is set for Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6. Lansdowne will be on tour as well as The Middlesex Woman’s Club, Tobacco Warehouse, and “Walesa,” a “designer showcase home” just west of Urbanna.

Lt. Jim Ellis of the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office reported there were 37 calls in Urbanna over a recent four-week period, down from 52 for the previous year. Two DUI arrests were made in town, and two traffic summonses were issued.

A felony arrest was made on Manor Road of a wanted person who does not normally live there, said Lt. Ellis.

Vandalism was reported at the Urbanna Auction Company on Rappahannock Avenue. A resident also reported two lights were broken at Colonial Pizza during the past weekend. Lt. Ellis said he would check into the incidents.

Council and the audience celebrated 25 years of service by town clerk Gina Daniel, who has worked under seven town administrators and five mayors. Daniel is not retiring and will continue working. “Not only is Gina a good, dedicated employee, she also is a wonderful, kind and caring person,” said Mayor Beatrice Taylor.

posted 07.23.2009

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