Unbeknownst to me, Mother Nature planned for a much cooler weekend in the Virginia area. Lately we have been blessed with warm temperatures of mid 80’s to mid 90’s, many people were blasting air conditioning into their houses. This weekend, those same people had to reverse back to heat again. A 50 degree change really does shock the body it seems. The weather did change our plans from hiking to yard work and shopping but that’s okay because our yard was asking for it.
Two weeks in the making I had booked and reminded the husband that the Spotsylvania Farmer’s Market was open for one last winter season session. Here on the eastern coast farmers’ markets are normally not open after November or December. We literally pout for 5-6 months out of the year seeing as we can’t exclusively purchase from the local farmers. So my expectations were really up and I hope up around 5am – yes, seriously. We packed up the furry baby (as she loves greeting her local admirers) and took our reusable shopping bags to go. We drove 20 minutes to get there only to find “NO PETS” allowed. No where was this stated on the ads or signs outside the farmers market so we were really shocked. Not one farmers market have we been to that did not allow well-behaved pets. In Ohio most markets (& venders) have furry babies in tow to do the weekly shopping. It really disappointed us that we could not shop and will not go again. They turned away two vegans and a furry baby. Tears…
I got over my disappointment and went out with our schedule. Saturday plans turned from hiking to a day trip to a small town called Culpeper, VA. It’s a very tiny town that boosts a larger than life personality. My husband and I keep saying it is a wannabe tourist spot but just can’t seem to get all the links put together. We really enjoy walking the main street window shopping for things such as locally produced balsamic vinegars and olive oil (we purchase Espresso Balsamic – amazing!), canine gift shop, European chocolates and so on. Whenever we are in town we like to stop at our favorite (and the only one) coffee house called Raven’s Nest. It is a coffeehouse with an attitude – thankfully they serve soy and almond milk as we just learned. The coffee is roasted right in town and served fresh – totally worth the 45 minute drive from our house. This time we ordered a raspberry frapp with almond milk – vibrant pink. (We didn’t know they would be making it from a liquid mixture… $5, gasp!) It didn’t’ stop me from drinking it though, no waste here. *Note: If you are vegan and want something to eat for a meal, bring a sack lunch. It’s a carnivores dream come true…
On to our real excursion reason, the Country Shoppes of Culpeper, 10046 James Monroe Hwy, Culpeper, VA, 2270. It’s a ‘run-of-the-mill’ antique shop that has a few antiques but mostly more recently sold items for resale. Normally the DH and I enter these places and think, “oh my grandmother has that in her kitchen and etc.” This time we gasped because we used to play with the items in the store – does that mean we are getting old or the stuff just wasn’t antique? Oh no! ha-ha It was a good hour trip back in time. Our excitement grew though when we found out next door was an Amish/Mennonite store called The Ole Country Store 10042 James Monroe Hwy, Culpeper, Virginia 22701. DH and I grew up near Amish country in lower Michigan/Upper Indiana so we felt like we were home. The small store contains freshly cut deli meats (darn, no Tofurky we looked), cheeses, bulk baking items, and homemade baked goodies. We purchase some vegetables chips that are baked or deep-fried, I really have no idea. I love the green beans… mmmm
Next we went to Taste http://www.tasteovs.com/ to purchase some more Pacific Smoked Sea Salt which we absolutely love on baked tofu chunks for hippie bowls. It gives off a smoked flavor to the tofu- 100% suggest to anyone! Yum! It runs for about $5.25 for a large glass container. Additionally we added to our Taste balsamic vinegar collection with the Espresso Balsamic Vinegar. (Yes we are addicted to coffee.) It sounds strange but the espresso flavor really brings a type of well-rounded richness to the balsamic and doesn’t give off that bitter aftertaste balsamic usually leaves behind. We love to sprinkle broccoli, spinach, tofu and just about anything with it. Great, now I’m hungry again… ha-ha
(Thought this was a wonderful representation.)
Sunday we managed to get to the early service (by early I mean 7:45AM) for the first time. We attend an Episcopal church that has three services of 7:45, 9, 11AM. It was our first Rite I so we didn’t know what to expect but we did have a nice, calm time. Apparently Rite I means everything a Rite III contains minus the music. It was a quiet service but there is something peaceful about it, rather like meditation. No snoring in this service as it is very quiet!
Next we went to our favorite local grocery store called Wegman’s which carries a lot of organic and vegan options. Rather new to the area, we are still looking for more alternatives but this is the only one in the area we have found to contain just about anything. The staff are always nice and the store is really clean so we enjoy ourselves while shopping through the fresh produce and large gluten-free, vegan options.
Once finished we headed off to Lowe’s DIY center for a large cart full of annual flowers, kale, and some organic soil. Coming from the Michigan (land enriched with glacier minerals) I never knew one had to purchase soil but apparently it is a bit expensive. Ha-ha Oh the things we learn by moving to different states- gotta love it! 🙂
Finally at home we made lunch, took a nap (remember I woke us up around 5am) and then got to our yard. It now flourishes with color and delectable vegan treats (aka vegetables and herbs). We can’t wait until our heirloom tomatoes come to the table – yum! Just about everything is grown in containers so if you have sunlight comes into your residence, you can grow your own garden. Nature is truly amazing!
We also took to getting some of the taller grass cut down by hand and took to some weeds to equal things out. After taking a gander at our yard we decided it was time to purchase a lawn mower. We weren’t sure how much grass would grow in the thick forest area we live so we were waiting. Green as we proclaim to be, we purchase a GreenWorks Reel 20′ Lawn Mower to test the waters with cutting grass by true sweat instead of gas or electricity. Anyone have one of these? Opinions?