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Fall is full of LOVE in Montross

Posted on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:38 pm

Vice Mayor Terry Cosgrove, Town Manager Patricia Lewis, Holly Harman, Melanie Stimmell Van Latum and Malcolm Lewis stand with the LOVE letters.

Lots of love is filling the air this week in Montross; a love for life in the small-town most have come to know as “The Village” with its astounding history and friendly residents, but also its attraction to all things art. Over the last few years, the quaint, little town has made grand leaps in revitalization, including the beautiful murals and signs that now engulf the area in hopes of making it a popular tourist destination.

Montross will unveil its new LOVE sign this Friday, October 6, during its monthly First Friday event, which also runs concurrent with the Fall Festival this year. The sign will not only provide photo opportunities to visitors during the festival, but will be positioned throughout the town during special events all year.

“The Montross LOVE sign is an initiative to boost tourism and continue branding Montross as a revitalized town with desire to be an art & antiques, shopping and dinning destination,” Vice Mayor Terry Cosgrove said.

Montross Mural Studio’s Melanie Stimmell paints designs on the LOVE letters. Photo by Terry Cosgrove.

The idea and initial concept credit goes to Town Manager Trish and her husband Malcolm Lewis. “The Lewis’ developed concept drawings that set the project in motion,” Cosgrove said.
LOVE signs are part of a statewide program called LOVE Works to promote family-friendly vacation experience in Virginia and to continue to deliver the “Virginia is for Lovers” message that has been the slogan of the Commonwealth for 48 years.

Reimbursement grants are offered through Virginia Tourism. “It is easy to see why this message has been the state slogan for more than 45 years,” Trish Lewis said in her initial presentation to the Montross Town Council. “From the coast to the mountains and every small town or unique winery in beteween you are bound to find something to fall in love with in Virginia”

On August 27, Town Council approved pursuing the LOVE sign and the application for a grant through Virginia is for Lovers tourism. Montross was awarded a grant for $1,500. Seed money was paid by council and will be reimbursed now that the project is complete.

The project was completed with the help of many citizens throughout the town working together to complete the project in time for the unveiling during the Fall Festival which goes well with the festival theme, “Picture Yourself in Montross”.

“A working group of Trish, Malcolm, Holly Harman and myself took the concept drawing to Montross Mural Studio’s owner Melanie Stimmell Van Latum for refinement,” Cosgrove said. “Melanie’s drawings then became the final design.”

“Most of the symbolism came together easily except the ‘E’ which got bantered about until arriving at wine & vines.” said Cosgrove. “The ‘L’ is a “waterman” boot symbolic of our riverside culture. The ‘O’ is an Oyster symbolic of our state’s tourism initiatives, dining experiences and tying to the Northern Neck and Virginia Oyster Trail. The ‘V’ is a Sharks tooth symbolic of our unique area, beach combing and specifically Westmoreland State Park, a tourism gem (near) Montross. The ‘E’ represents our areas deep agricultural roots and specifically our emerging wine industry. It also connects us to the Chesapeake Wine Trail another great tourism initiative.”

Read more of this story in the October 4 issue of the Westmoreland News.