There’s nothing more endearing than discovering a town with so much character and charm. That’s what today was in Olde Town Culpepper with two of my great friends! Only a little over an hour outside Leesburg,
Culpepper has that it factor: the specialty food shops, the boutiques, the cuisine, all mixed with the history of the area.
We first enjoyed a most delicious lunch at It’s About Thyme. It’s always a good sign when the place is packed,and this one certainly was! Fresh flowers were on every table and a large arrangement, complete with roses and evens birds of paradise, welcomed us at the front door. Huge murals of European countryside and al fresco dining covered both walls, lovely wooden tables peppered the floor, and the ceiling was that old architecture you only find in seasoned buildings.The waiters were attentive; it didn’t feel like we had just one, but all. Different servers would check on us and refill out drinks frequently. While perusing the menu, we enjoyed warm thyme-infused bread and butter. The thyme
was baked in, but not overwhelming.
And not only did the menu boast several European-style options, but they also had daily specials. The basil and ricotta ravioli caught my eye, and I kid you not when I say it was amazing! The combination of the small salad with fresh tomato and creamy sauces and ravioli struck a perfect balance. The ricotta didn’t feel overwhelming and it was portioned well.
After a delectable meal in a lovely restaurant (which even offers outdoor seating in cool shade), we made our way down the street to a few shops, most notably the Cameleer and The Frenchman’s Corner. The Cameleer had unique aboriginal art and crafts, where I also found and purchased special-occasion cards. The Frenchman’s Corner was a haven for chocolate lovers, tea lovers, specialty cheese lovers, wine
lovers, you name it. Upon entering the gourmet shop, gorgeous Belgium chocolates lined up like soldiers greet you at the door. All the chocolate is overnighted from Belgium to New York, then overnighted again to the shop. I splurged and purchased a container of loose leaf green tea and three dark chocolates (one with made with violets), which were placed in a sweet little rectangular brown box.
Walking further down the street, we came across even more restaurants, a hardware store of old times where you could buy anything from plants to nails and bolts to honey jars, a tea house, a gourmet foods and deli, and even a sweet shop (Knakal’s Bakery).
The owner even allowed the three of us to see the 76-year-old oven in the back used for the majority of the bread and cake baking. The oven has four rotating shelves that keep the sweets in constant motion to ensure proper baking. I don’t think I’ve ever been at an establishment and was actually invited to see the kitchen!
Today was one of those day trips you can’t wait to recreate! And for around $40 (including my meal, food purchases, and cards), it was one that doesn’t break the bank!
On the road again,