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New money v. Old money in Middleburg

    Check out the Walter Nichols story in the Food section about the rich divorcees of the hunt country, stirring up trouble, starting businesses, ruffling feathers (and they have a lot of feathers to ruffle out there in Middleburg and Upperville). You can just imagine how some of the old-money folks are looking at these intruders and thinking: "Not our kind of people." One is a billionaire with BET money; the other cashed in hugely in Silicon Valley back in the day. These women have a lot of energy, a lot of fire in the belly, and are not about to ease gently and quietly into hunt-country society. You have to love the fact that Sandy Lerner is giving herself a "road roller" as a birthday present. You know, something that can smooth out the country lanes on your property -- everyone ought to have one (I'm checking the Home Depot website). Lerner, like most Americans, enjoys jousting in period costumes.

    Meanwhile Sheila Johnson wants to open a resort hotel on the outskirts of town, with a very select clientele: "Now, not every Joe Blow Public will come. But if I have, let's say, the king of Jordan or Oprah or if the president comes, we can stage something wonderful here."

    Modesty is nearly extinct in our culture. If you don't flaunt it, people will suspect you don't got it.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 22, 2005; 12:09 PM ET
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