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HITTING THE SPOT COUPLE fosters sense of place in Spotsylvania
The Spotsy Spot fosters sense of community in the courthouse area, provides display space for local artisans

 Francesca Taylor serves a customer a drink with whipped cream on top. 'I make a killer mocha,' says Taylor, who opened The Spotsy Spot with her husband.
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Date published: 7/28/2006

Downtown Spotsylvania? Just where and what would that be?

For Mark and Francesca Taylor, Spotsylvania County lacked a center, a focus for a unique county identity.

"I've run into Spotsylvanians who think they live in Fredericksburg," Francesca Taylor said. "We do have a strong sense of communityWe want to contribute to that vision of a downtown."

To that end, they've turned their 19th-century farmhouse, located on Courthouse Road next door to the Spotsylvania County Museum, into a gathering place where people can get breakfast or lunch, enjoy ice cream cones, play a game of checkers or sit and chat over a cup of coffee. They call it The Spotsy Spot.

And to emphasize the "Spotsylvanianess" of the area, they have provided exhibit space for various local artisans to show and sell their wares.

Turned wooden bowls, hand-forged utensils and pen-and-ink sketches of Spotsylvania landmarks are prominently displayed along the way to the counter where folks order sandwiches or ice cream.

"There are things here we should take note of, have pride in," Mark Taylor said. "There are people here now who do unique and lovely things."

Among them is Danny Roberts, a Virginia Department of Forestry employee who delights in turning chunks of wood into beautiful objects.

"I say you look at a piece of wood and it's a Cracker Jack box--it has a prize inside," Roberts said. "Every piece of wood has a secret inside. You just have to unlock it."

He uses his lathe to turn out beautiful salad bowls, candy dishes and vases as well as some toys like wooden tops.

"I turn out a little bit of everything. It's still a hobby," he said, but notes that he has come a long way in the time he's been doing it.

Displaying his work at The Spotsy Spot has spread his fame, Roberts said.

"I run into people all the time who say 'I saw your stuff. I didn't know you did that.'"

He appreciates the Taylors' efforts to showcase local artisans.

"People are what gives the courthouse a real flavor," he said. "There are a lot of good craftsmen doing real quality stuff."

Artist John Burnette and blacksmith Hunter Perkinson also display their work at The Spotsy Spot.

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