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Mark Payne, representing the Tavern Woodworkers Guild, Danette Morning (on right), Tavern Quilt Guild president, and Wonda Allain, Quilt Guild vice president, at the unveiling of the new “Barn Quilt” at Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in Heathsville.

A new piece of artwork is now gracing the “Tavern Meeting Building” located behind Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in Heathsville. It’s a “Barn Quilt,” a larger-than-life quilt block pattern.

Originally “barn quilts” began as a way to honor a loved one with a gorgeous piece of folk art. In the case of the Tavern, their new Barn Quilt is to honor the Tavern Quilt Guild, which is celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. 

Members of the Tavern Woodworkers Guild spent several months rendering the artwork on a 4 x 7-foot sheet of exterior plywood. The red, blue and white quilt block design is known as the “Mariner’s Star,” which is the Tavern Quilt Guild’s logo.

The Tavern Quilt Guild was formed in the summer of 1995 by a group of quilting friends from Northern Virginia who had relocated to the Northern Neck. Spearheaded by Anna Holland, a master quilter, quilt teacher and pattern designer, the group began to take shape.

At the same time, many of the quilters were involved in saving historic Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern in Heathsville. The dilapidated building, which dated back to the 1700’s, was seemingly destined for the wrecking ball if immediate action was not taken. The group formed the Tavern Quilt Guild and used its activities to help support the Tavern’s restoration by hand-quilting and raffling off heirloom-quality quilts.

The Tavern’s “Barn Quilt” can be found by turning off Route 360 at 72 Monument Place, the road that goes past the Heathsville Post Office. Look straight ahead in the distance. You’ll have no problem seeing the Tavern’s “Barn Quilt” adorning the Tavern Meeting Building, which is used for community rentals and Tavern functions.

Rice’s Hotel/Hughlett’s Tavern is located just off Route 360 behind the old Northumberland Courthouse.