More than 200 years ago, Warrenton, Virginia developed as a crossroads town for travelers in need of respite. Today, Old Town Warrenton lives up to its historic roots. It is both a gathering place as well as the thriving heart of entertainment and commerce in Fauquier County. Visitors to Old Town could spend an hour or a day here and leave feeling all the warmth that this historic district has to offer.
Many locals begin their day at Deja Brew, located right on Main Street. This cafe has a hip yet welcoming vibe, where friends sip tea on comfortable couches and writers peck away on their laptops with a hot cup of coffee and breakfast sandwich nearby. There are several bakeries and cafes in Old Town, and you couldn’t go wrong to put each on your list of places to try while exploring the shops and side streets.
Great Harvest Bread Company sits at the other end of Old Town and serves freshly baked treats. Customers are greeted here with a warm smile and offered samples of homemade breads and other freshly baked goods. A doorway leads from the bakery to the book shop next door and allows shoppers to take a cup of coffee with them as they peruse the shelves. The Open Book has a uniquely curated assortment of books and gifts, unlikely to be found elsewhere. Author visits, story slams and writer’s nights also make this independently owned bookstore worth the trip.
For those in search of gifts, several hours could be devoted to the variety of shops in Old Town. Latitudes, a fair trade store, provides handmade items from around the world and has been a staple in Old Town for nine years. Latitudes is part of a growing number of stores that have stood the test of time for both their quality of service and goods. Hartman’s Jewelers, offering the largest selection of diamonds and colored gemstones in Warrenton, has been part of Old Town for 25 years. Framecraft, a family owned, custom framing store, has been in operation for 35 years. There are many family owned businesses here, and visitors will experience tailored service and a friendly conversation at each one.
After shopping, make your way down the hill to the old railroad bed that used to bring travelers and cargo into town. Now it is a paved trail that allows walkers, runners and bikers to greet each other as they enjoy the fresh air and tree-lined path. For those without a bike, be sure to stop at The Bike Stop on Main Street which offers daily and weekly bike rentals. You may fall in love with riding so much that you choose to turn your rental into a purchase.
In warmer months, visitors can also stroll the booths at Old Town’s Farmers Market. Local vendors are always eager to chat about their goods, which include flowers, produce, meat and other delicious foods. In addition to items for sale, music and children’s activities make it a pleasant place to spend time.
While Old Town Warrenton has many unique stores for shoppers to explore, it is a sense of community that truly makes it special.
Later in the day visitors can grab a drink at one of the two breweries in Old Town, including Wort Hog Brewing Company or the newly opened, Altered Suds. In addition, Old Town is home to The Wild Hare Cider Pub and Garden, a fun place to get together with friends to try some outstanding local ciders. Dinner options abound, and travelers have their choice of everything between upscale dining and down home meals. The fun times can continue into the evening by heading to Gloria’s, which offers musical performances in a variety of genres almost every weekend.
While Old Town Warrenton has many unique stores for shoppers to explore, it is a sense of community that truly makes it special. Anyone visiting will immediately pick up on the authentic, congenial vibe of the town, which every one of its business owners exude as they greet you at the door. Whether stopping by on your way to another adventure or settling in for the day, plan to spend some time getting to know the crossroads of Fauquier County.
For a complete listing of restaurants, shopping, and events, please visit us at www.oldtownwarrenton.org.
By Erin McCarty