Friday, November 7, 2014

miles of smiles



                                         This grandson makes me smile!

Where has this year gone?  Oh, sure I know we still have almost two months left, but it seems like just last month I was posting my blog on tattoos (extremely successful and wide-read btw).  That one added a lot of new followers.  The last blog was the summer one and now we are well into a rainy, but beautiful fall.
Time to move on with the year.  Thanks to everyone who has appeared in my "Faces of Culpeper" over the last four years.  I think about 600 of you have graced (frankly I think that "graced" is a dumb word when you really mean "appeared"  She "graced the cover of People Magizine."  Not so much in my opinion. ) my blog pages.  This is far more about pictures than words, so I am going to quit with the words so that you can get on with the pictures.

Here we go.........

BJ's Ice Cream moved this summer and nobody told me.  One day  I had my mouth all set for the  creamy stuff and drove over to an empty lot.  BJ..... a sign that you moved would have eased my angst.  They are out by the new Old Country Store.  I decided that I was going to do pictures of smiles for this blog and thought what better place for great smiles than BJs.  Amber Taylor  (left)   Heather Helmick, obliged me big time.  Nice happy faces to lead off a blog about happy faces.  Both of these young women are recent high school graduates and are either going or planning to go to Germanna Community College.

This is the same store in a new place.  Being in the open makes it look more bright and shiny and smiley than ever before!

Sometimes I just get lucky.  I had gone downtown to get some "smile" pictures and immediately ran into sisters Jennifer Richardson and Jillian Peatross.  Good luck on my part and amazing smiles for this blog.  Nice people and pretty to boot!   Jennifer moved away about a year ago and was back to the Pepper for a visit.   Jillian is a resident who manages the Best Western in Ruckersville. 

                                              Ok!  I have seen the store on Davis Street called "Taste" for a long time, but had never gone in to see what was there. Surely nothing that would appeal to me , I thought.  Actually it took a friend of mine in Fairfax who has been my barber for 25 years to motivate me to go in.  He had been to Culpeper and been to "Taste" and was blown away by how cool it was.  So I went in and talked with George Farrar, who is the owner,  and Corey Deighan, who is his assistant.  Really nice guys and a most interesting establishment.  George owns another in Fredericksburg plus a "chocolate" store that just opened there.   I can tell you that you have to experience this store to appreciate it.  You will love it.  I am so sure of it, that I will give you a free 8x10 picture of George and Corey if you don't....... just kidding. 

KANAKLES!!!!  Just the mention makes my mouth water.  On most of my visits downtown I use the parking lot behind Kanakles.  Then I torture myself by walking on the brick walkway that runs right alongside of the bakery.  It smells like heaven and I always want to dash in the back door, grab a pastry (any will do, they are all delicious), and make a run for it.  Naw.....I always want to go in and buy something. Occasionally I do just that.  Kanakles is one of thosse few places in the Pepper that is known way beyond beyond the city limits.  People come from far and wide just to get a taste of their products.  Here are Stephanie Jones and manager Beth Whitt who will help you and always greet you with big smiles.  They are a part of the "Miles of Smiles" for sure.  Their motto is visible on the wall behind them: "A Balanced Diet Is A Cookie in Each Hand."

My wife took her sewing machine to the 145 Art and Design Studio for an evaluation.  There I met 
Noreen Smith who is the owner.  This studio is all about sewing and I thought Noreen was a most pleasing person to meet.  She took care of my wife very nicely.  Noreen is a most skilled and talented seamstress and quilter etc. 

Culpeper Chamber of Commerce
Before and

I can honestly say that I have never shot anyone for my blog or for my, Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper,  that are anywhere near as fun as these three.  What a trip!  First I told them that I wanted a picture of them for my blog, Faces of Culpeper, and the result was the first picture above.  Then I advised them that the theme of the blog is, "Miles of Smiles" and they started mugging.  What a cast of characters!  Here is the thing..... these ladies are amazing professionals who do a great job at the Culpeper Chamber of Commerce, but they do know how to have fun.  They are: Linda Dodrill who is the Social Media Coordinator; Martha Snider (in black) who is the Membership Coordinator; and far right in back is Debbie Stohlman the Acting President/CEO of the Chamber.  

Not far from my house is the Jiffy Lube franchise for Culpeper.  I generally get my oil changes done there and sometimes a couple of other things.  I have intended to include this crew in one of my blogs for a long time and my "Miles of Smiles" theme was perfect.  The really big problem is finding them when they are not busy.  It took me several visits to find the right time to get this shot. They were a good bunch to work with although it appears that a couple of them did not get the "smile" memo.  They have one young woman, Jessica, who works there and I regret that she was not working at the time I was able to get this picture.  The manager, Mike Huffman is on the far right on the back row.  The others in no order are:  Ed Klaus, Danny Wright, Jason Newcomer
Shawn Sawyer, Dane Rinehard and Ryan Zorich.

This was a tough one!  Even since I moved to the Pepper, I have enjoyed eating at the China Garden. In my opinion they have a great buffet and they stay very busy.  Sooooo, I went in to get a picture of a couple of the waitresses and almost all of them ran for cover.  Shy bunch... all except the tall young lady pictured here.  In fact in order for me to get two employees in my shot they went into the back and found the other lady to get in the picture.  Whew!  I try to be low key, but we had quite a show going for the patrons.  My angel helper is Crystal Lin here on the right....however, they told me that I probably would not be able to understand the other woman's name.  So I suggested that they try me and after some confusion they told me it is Fanny.  That one I get, but I know her real name is much more complicated and is not, Fanny.  Great place and great Chinese food.  If you have not been there then be sure to go. 

A friend of mine, Jenn Clubb, suggested that I check out the newest dance school in Culpeper where she works.  So I made an appointment and went over to talk with the owner of  Marie School of Ballet,  Ms. Amber Marie Daigler.  It was an interesting visit.  First I waded through about twenty feet of young girls who were eagerly and excitedly waiting for their lesson.  Then up the stairs to the studio and office where Amber and I sat down to chat. Amber Marie comes to us from Nevada.  As an adolescent she was accepted into the Nevada Ballet Company and she left home for Las Vegas to study and dance.  She subsequently danced on many stages in Las Vegas.  She brings all of that skill and background to our town to teach our children.  Amber is nothing if not ambitious.  She has in the works, a presentation of the Nutcracker this December.  The community is welcome and can purchase a seat or a group may purchase a table for the evening.  By the way, the school has open enrollment and is still taking students.  You may want to check it out.

I am going to have my big finish be a family of some of the nicest people in Culpeper.  Everytime I enter their restaurant I am greeted with great smiles, and since this blog is my first about smiles and the happy people of Culpeper, there was no way I could not include these guys.  Lately there has been a great deal of attention to the new food businesses that have opened in  town...and that is big news.  However, many of the very best places to eat have been here for a long time.  For example, Pete's opened February 6, 1976... if my math is correct that makes 38+  years.  They told me that their place is the  "longest established restaurant under one owner in Culpeper."  That is pretty cool.  I will tell you this:  Not only do their pizzas taste great, but in their  case a "large" pizza is really a "huge" pizza.  AND the Philly Cheese Steak is the best in my opinion.  So who are these people?  They are the Katrakilis family, Pete, Eleni and daughter Georgia.   Check them out ... you won't be sorry.

So ends my first blog of the smiles (miles of them!) of the happy people of Culpeper.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Please visit my "facesofculpeper" Facebook site and "like" it.
Every week I have a photo feature on the inside cover of the Culpeper Times called "Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper."  All of the faces shown here have been featured there.  Hmmm
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