Many things are said to better with age. Luckily for us, the Annual Ledbury Quail Hunt has successfully landed itself at the top of that list. This year marked the 4th Annual Ledbury Quail Hunt — a day where we welcome friends, customers who have become friends, family and collaborators for a morning hunt and social afternoon filled with great food, drink, music and company at Orapax Hunting Preserve in the beautiful rolling hills of Goochland, VA.
The day began with a group of hunters setting out just before noon in groups of four, each with a hunting guide and a few well-trained bird dogs. Having never experienced this part of the day first-hand, I can only gather that the hunters establish somewhat of a sacred bond during the hunt based on the camaraderie formed in those few short hours. Upon the hunters’ return, there are signs of it in every handshake, every conversation, every photo and riddled throughout video footage. Those newly-founded friendships paved the way for the course of the afternoon, straight into the after-party.
This year graced us with a wild card we’ve been fortunate enough to avoid in years past: a long and steady rainstorm. Our hunters, guests and vendors took it in stride and powered through what turned out to be quite a lovely afternoon. After all, a little rain never stopped a bonfire, right? (Wrong. But this day, it did not.)
We treated this year’s event as a celebration of Virginia, partnering with some of our home state’s finest purveyors of their craft. Virginia Tourism’s “LOVE” letters greeted our guests as they arrived at Orapax. The hunters enjoyed coffee and pastries from Alchemy Coffee before venturing out for the day. Upon return, Chefs Brittanny Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, Adam Hall of Saison and Lee Gregory of The Roosevelt were already manning the grills. Chef Joe Sparatta of Heritage showed up to give Lee a hand as the second, and much more fondly welcomed wild card of the day. The folks from White Stone Oysters were serving up oysters on the half-shell. Three of our favorite Richmond bartenders — Kjell Anderson of Metzger Bar & Butchery, James Kohler of Saison and Thomas “T” Leggett of The Roosevelt — were serving up delicious variations of classic cocktails with Bulleit Bourbon and Rye. (Recreate their cocktails using these recipes.) Bulleit’s team was leading tastings from the bar of the infamous Woody. Our friends from Ardent Craft Ales, Champion Brewing and Hardywood Park Craft Brewery were all on deck, serving up some of their seasonal favorites. Virginia Wine provided some of the finest local wines and cider from Chatham Vineyards, Trump Winery, Williamsburg Winery and Potter’s Craft Cider. The day closed out with an energetic set from Sleepwalkers as the embers of the bonfire slowly died down.
Looking back, we’re thankful to have spent the day with folks who believe in our brand enough to spend a rainy Saturday outside with us, enjoying great company. It was a great reminder that the Ledbury community is much, much bigger than the 30-so of us who report into the office each day. There are a lot of great folks out there who make Ledbury possible, and for that we’re incredibly appreciative. As the Danish would say, the day was a true display of all that is “hygge,” finding gratitude in friends, family, community and connection.