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Nice Retreat: Wine, jazz festival draws crowd to Charles Town

By Jeff McCoy

The Journal of Martinsburg

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.  — ‘Happy Retreat’ was the Charles Town home of Charles Washington, President George Washington’s brother. The site became home to the Happy Retreat Wine & Jazz Festival on Saturday, June 10.

Randy Hilton is Vice President of Friends of Happy Retreat. “This is a non-profit. The proceeds go to restoration and maintenance of the house. The first goal is that people come and enjoy this,” Hilton said.

The Brooks Tegler Quartet, The Krispy Kat Quartet, and The Apollo Jazz Septet entertained the capacity crowd with smooth jazz. Over 50 different wines were represented by local and national vendors.

Alfredo’s Mediterranean Cafe has been in Charles Town for fourteen years and served their specialties to a hunger customer base at the event. “We run out of food three times. I could have sold more if I had (it),” owner Alfredo Amays said.

People came in all day long. “I would say we have had over 500 people,”Hilton said.

Charles Town council member Todd Coyle offered is expert service to the event and booked the bands. “I’m a volunteer. I’ve been a working musician for 40 years, that’s how I know all these guys. I grew up coming to Happy Retreat as a kid. I knew the Gavins when they lived here,” Coyle said.

He saw the event as a double win. “I get some musicians paid and we add a little bit of variety to the community,” Coyle said.

Author and columnist Bob O’Conner was on hand along with his many books. “I’ve written 12 books and they’re all available today,” O’Conner said.

Visitors, vendors, and Friends of Happy Retreat officers were all happy with the day’s success. “It’s been excellent,” Amays said.

Staff reporter Jeff McCoy can be reached at [email protected].

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