A Visit to Downtown Farmville + Updates

Monday, August 17, 2015

Historic Downtown Farmville, Virginia | Em Busy Living

Time has been flying since we pulled out of California only two weeks ago. In a way it feels like we only just left yesterday, but it also feels like we've been home forever in other ways. A week of quiet, slow living while we visited my parents helped to make the days feel long and drawn out, but now that we're back in Salem (Roanoke) with Dan's family it feels like all of our remaining days here are filling up with plans and things we need to do before time runs out. We're now in the middle of our "in between" time at this point, with two weeks behind us and only two weeks ahead before we start our new lives in New York. Crazy, I tell you.

Now that we're here, in the land of many friends and things to do, I'm appreciating our few days of disconnect at my parents' even more. For three days my mom substituted at her old elementary school (can you even believe that school already started there?) and Dan and I filled our days with lots of couch time, walks around the property, and visiting with my dad and a cousin (and coincidentally our contractor) as they worked on a new building they are having built out back.

After one full day of absolute laziness we really needed to get out of the house. I suggested we take a drive and head to one of the little towns within an hour's driving distance of us and have lunch, so we hopped in the car and took off to the little college town of Farmville, Virginia.

Farmville is only about a 40-45 minute drive from my hometown and is one of the closest "centers of commerce" (there are places to shop, dine, etc) besides Lynchburg and South Boston (both of which are about the same distance from home.) It's the home of Longwood University and Hampden-Sydney College, so it's a very quiet town during the summers and fairly busy the rest of the year. Besides a Walmart, small movie theatre, and a few chain restaurants and fast food places, there wasn't much going on in Farmville while I was growing up, but everything there has really changed in the last decade. My favorite change is the resurgence of downtown, which has always been a destination due to the ever-popular Greenfront Furniture and a few long-standing shops, but the recent renovations of downtown buildings, streets, and sidewalks, along with new coffee shops and businesses, has really brightened things up.

"Everything is just so charming!" I don't know how many times I said this as we made our way through the few short blocks of downtown the day we visited. I pointed out every single thing that was different since our last visit to the town and constantly wondered how anyone could ever bash Farmville the way I used to as a teenager. (Granted, things were definitely not quite as charming back then.) We parked on Main Street, which was easy on a Tuesday morning pre-college season, and put a quarter in the meter for an hour of street parking (crazy!) before crossing the street and making our way to Charley's Waterfront Cafe.

Charley's is located in one of the many gorgeous brick warehouse buildings that make up Greenfront and has a large deck overlooking the Appomattox River where the old mill used to operate, making for such a great atmosphere inside or out. The interior is all original brick walls, wood floors, and massive wooden beams, which is just a dream in my opinion. It also helps that the food is just so delicious (and well priced.) I wish I had taken a million photos, but hindsight, you know.

Just outside of Charley's is the intersection of Main Street and the recently-developed High Bridge Trail State Park, a walking/biking/horseback trail that runs through multiple counties (and downtown Farmville) for a total of 31 miles. The entire trail used to be the rail bed for the Southside Railroad and includes the historic High Bridge, once nearly destroyed by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War and now the longest recreational bridge in the state. It's also 125 feet tall at it's highest point above the Appomattox River, so I don't know how I feel about making that 2,400 foot walk across. Yikes! Dan and I walked from the entrance to the short little bridge that crossed the river just yards away, which didn't require very much walking or disturb my extreme fear of heights.

I could spend hours looking through the many antique shops downtown, as well as in the various buildings owned by Greenfront full of furniture, lamps, interesting home decor, and piles and piles of rugs. We stopped in Caryn's Bridal for a moment to see a friend (who no longer works there?! Where did you go, Lelia?!) and looked around in a few of the new shops that lined main street before hopping back in the car to head home. On the way home I kept talking about how much I just love downtown Farmville now, and how I could maybe even see myself living there one day, if only they had a Target! Come on Farmville, how do you not have a Target? Or Kroger?

Want to visit Farmville, Virginia? (Zip Code 23901) Here are a few of my recommendations:

Dining & Coffee:

  • Longwood Bed & Breakfast, 608 High Street
  • Catalpa Inn, 373 Catalpa Lane, Prospect, VA 23960. My cousin Alecia and her husband recently renovated and opened this single-family bed and breakfast just outside of Farmville, conveniently located 10 miles from downtown and with the High Bridge Trail running directly through its front yard!

To See & Do:

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