Culpeper is a surprising little town with big heart, reminiscent of when life moved a bit slower. The architecture and land is steeped in history, but the food, spirits, shops, and trails reflect a life more modern. It is the perfect escape from your day-to-day demands, but quaint enough you feel fully immersed the moment you arrive.
Start off at Moving Meadows Farm for daily specials and provisions to take home. Then head over to Rockwater Park for miles of walking trails, an 18-hole disc golf course, ninja obstacle course, climbing boulder, and splash pad.
Continue your love of the outdoors by choosing from any number of iconic scenic byways perfect for casual or enthusiastic cyclers. The 23-mile loop to Brandy Station is a locals favorite, since it starts and ends at downtown breweries. Prefer dirt to gravel? Head to Burke Farm, home to over 300 acres of mountain biking trails.
Check out Grass Rootes for a casual dining experience and ample outdoor seating. For endless outdoor space, head over to veteran owned Mountain Run Winery for wine, cider, and food trucks. You cannot miss Old House, Virginia’s only family owned and operated winery, brewery, and distillery. For easy access to the heart of historic downtown, spend the night at Suites 249, Thyme Suites, or The Loft on Davis.
Fuel up at 18 Grams Coffee Lab with seasonal delights and homemade pastries. Select one of three self-guided tours of historic downtown Culpeper or enjoy the walking tour at Virginia Bison Company, where you can get up close with grazing herds of bison. Grab food for a picnic from Thyme Market, including sandwiches, pizza, and desserts.
Immerse yourself in American history as you explore Cedar Mountain Battlefield where Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, performed her first field duty. North of town lies 2,100 preserved acres at Brandy Station, home of the Civil War’s largest cavalry engagement.
Piedmont Steakhouse, Lucio’s Italian, or Pinto Thai, it’s impossible to not eat well in Culpeper. Far Gohn Brewery is everyone’s favorite tavern featuring rotating German brews. Flavor on Main serves the best balance of specialty cocktails and small plates; and Old Trade Brewery and Cidery brings forth an assortment of flavors with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Walden Hall gives you the choice: a private suite, a guest house, or the entire house, yours for the taking.
Take a plant and nature walk with herbalist Colleen O’Bryant, owner of Wild Roots Apothecary.
Cover photo: Davis Street in downtown Culpeper. Photo courtesy of Visit Culpeper