Thursday, November 5, 2015

Haven't I Seen You In The Newspaper?

As of February 18, 2016 there have been over 58,000 visits to this blog

As I approach each new blog I have a quandary.... what theme should I make this one about?  I have had beards, merchants, tattoos, people who work in 100 degrees etc.  Sometimes I just have a collection of people that I have met and found interesting.  This is sort of one of those times except that each one of these people have appeared (or will) in the Culpeper Times piece called Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper.  Side note... I actually had someone refer to the newspaper piece as "your Snapshot"... as  in, "I look for your Snaphot every week."  Because I post this blog, Faces of Culpeper,  and the the Facebook page, Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley, most people refer to all of my work as "Faces" and that's ok by me!  However this man referred to it correctly and I was surprised and honestly, pleased.  So all of these were or will be in my Snapshots of Culpeper.  Let's get to it!

This man's name is Al Wray.  He is an interesting guy who is a retired American Airlines pilot.  He still loves to fly and he still does it all the time in his own private plane.  During the last political election he, and some others, volunteered their planes and their skills to get some of the Republican candidates from one place to another.  That is an impressive service.  Of course, it is not uncommon for Al to be helping one person or another who needs his help.  His wife told me that he can fix anything.  They live in an interesting neighborhood just out of town that has an airstrip.  In fact all of the homes are built around that strip and each has a hanger.  That makes it easy to just wheel  out and take off.  I hear a plane overhead right now!  It might be Al.......... 

These friends of ours have a good looking family.  They are the Seeleys and are roasting wieners at a fire pit in Lenn Park on a picnic with Andrea and me.  It is a favorite spot for us to take our grand kids.  I would like to tell you that the Seeleys  are such a together group that they actually do their roasting in a perfect line, but naw...... we posed them.  It looks like they could cook that way, though.   Pictured from left to right are Gavin, Lexi, Pappa Trent (works at Micron), Ethan, Tess (in front) and Mamma Corinn (she is the bookkeeper at Emerald Hill Elementary School).  

At the "Savor and Sip" event held downtown, I was looking for some new faces to feature in one of my pieces or another.  I saw Adwela Dawes who looked unique with his hat and his imposing size and knew that he was someone I had to meet.  He turned out to be a life long resident of Culpeper and very willing to talk with me. He is the singer of Adwela & the Uprising, a band that was going to play on the covered stage near the depot. I hung around and talked to their manager and found out that they had been on tour but were about to take a break to work on an album.  I listened to their first three songs and I think they are quite good.  Reggae is not really my thing, but it is theirs and they excel at it.  Good luck!

I am usually happy when I get a picture that I know I can use for this blog.  Occasionally
I am VERY happy about the picture because of who is in it.  I feel very lucky to have been the photographer who caught these two at Baby Jim's and recorded them for posterity.  Sweet ladies and important in the history of our town.  Baby Jim's is a landmark in the "Peper" and these two are icons.  Paula Jenkins (Miss Jenkins) on the left owns the establishment with her son.  I was told that she became involved in Baby Jim's in the mid 50s.  That is a long time ago!  Janet Jarrells on the right, told me that she had worked there for "25 or 30 years."  That is cool!   I understand that Baby Jim's was opened sometime around 1947.  It was recently named one of the top breakfast restaurants in the state.  Congratulations!

One of the most difficult things that you have to do when you move to a new area is to find doctors that you are comfortable with.  I had an orthopedic issue and Dr. Craig Reigel was recommended to me.  His office is at the Virginia Orthopedic Center directly across from the Culpeper Hospital.  He has practiced his specialty for 26 years now.  I found him to be very engaging in his manner and conservative in his approach to my injury. I guess this is one are in which I have to look no further for my doctor.  Oh, by the way..... my foot is better.

These guys look very awake for 6:30 am.  It was my wife's birthday and I had asked her what she wanted for breakfast on her special day.  She said, "Donuts in bed."  What?????  Oh well if that is what she wanted her wish was my command and so I headed to Dunkin Donuts leaving early enough that I could get over and back before she was up.  I entered the store right at 6:30 and here were these guys chatting it up and having a good time.  I went back to my car for my camera and they were most gracious.  Turns out that on days they play golf they gather at DD for coffee and donuts.  Really friendly and easy going (at least at Dunkin Donuts early in the morning).  I am going casual myself and giving you first names in no order: Chris, Jay, Tony and is up to you to sort it out.   Oh, the donuts in bed were a big hit!!

I honestly had not been to the Farmers' Market near the depot this year.  I figured that I would be missing a significant part of the Culpeper culture if I never stopped in.  So I did and discovered this engaging woman and began a conversation with her.   She is Monica Briggs and she and her husband, Tim have owned the Sunshine Acres Farm for more than thirteen years.  They raise pesticide free produce which appeals to a lot of people.  The have five children and seven grandchildren....makes for an interesting life.  If you would like more info you can reach her at

This is Eric Zamora and this whole entry is something new for me. 

For years I have driven down Montanus and seen the signs that read "Zamora Mixed Marshall Arts"  and then most recently "Zamora Boxing Gym."   Over time I had stopped by several times and finally had to admit that I just could not figure out when they were open.  A couple of weeks ago I thought I would head over in the early evening and see if anything was cooking at that gym.  As I pulled up I observed about sixteen people in the parking lot running laps.  Most of them were men, but there were three women.

I grabbed my camera and headed inside fully expecting to see something out of a Rocky Balboa movie..... hot, dark and sweaty.  I was in for a surprise because there was a large, bright, clean, and cool gym area with lots of people working out.  The owner, Eric Zamora came over and we chatted for a while.
I made an appointment to come back and get some pictures.  Eric is a young father with a wife and three kids.  He is a former boxer and a well respected trainer.  The gym is associated with four professional fighters, three men and one women.  They feature a variety of classes for kids, teens and adults plus one on one training.  
I photographed part of a training session with Eric and one of the pro fighters , Roque Zapata (Rocky) who moved here in the sixth grade from Panama. He is also a security officer and fights professionally at Bantam Weight.  He told me that people mistake him for Eric's son since they are together so much.
Go by in the evening and just look in.  Eric will make time for you.  I think this is a great fitness option and more.
540 2223 5360

We may not be experiencing a boom in commercial growth, but it sure seems like we are slowly and surely improving our economy.  This  new business is Breeze Printing and is owned by the enthusiastic Robin Kruczek.  Robin has been a graphics designer for over thirty years and now brings her considerable talents to Culpeper.  They are located at 114 N. West Street.  These are Culpeper people who are invested in our town. Her husband Kevin,  owns Breeze Auto Full Service Repair.  

The first time that I heard the name Roque Castro I was visiting my son's family in Fresno, California.  I was looking up this blog and decided to see what else might be online about Culpeper.   The first thing to pop up was a five or six minute promotion sponsored by the Office of Tourism and it featured Roque Castro.   Roque does a lot of things and this promotional piece focused on his re purposing business, "Yesterday Reclaimed."  The information about him was interesting but the piece was beautiful and fabulously done.  I thought to myself, "Hey, I'd like to live there!"  I resolved to meet him and although it has taken over a year, I finally did it.  First, the name is pronounced "Ro Kee" and is a name from Guam where his father lives.  This guy is interesting!  He has so many skills and interests.  His main business is developing software and he and his partners have clients in many of the main population centers of the world.  Because it is so spread out and is online he has the luxury to live and work where he chooses.  Since Roque felt like his growing up experience was so good here in Culpeper, he wanted his four children to have the same experience..... so here he is with his wife.
We have alot  more yet to hear from him.  I should note that he is the artist who created the "Love Sculpture" by the Depot. 

This lovely lady is Paige Read and I got to spend a bit of time with her the other day.  Paige is important to all of us because she is the Director of Tourism and Economic Development for Culpeper.  Impressive!  Paige is an interesting person.   She and her husband have not found their future home just yet.  Since she plans to plant her roots deep they are looking for a decent size piece of land to build on and have not found just the right one.   She came to us from the Virginia State Tourism Department and loves Culpeper.  Paige is especially interested in the agricultural aspects of the economy plus she is interested in keeping the downtown area fully leased and dynamic.  I think she can help do it!  I asked her what she liked best about "the Peper" and she quickly replied:  "I love that it is a progressive small town with a rich history."   Me, too!

Lately the Olde Country Story has become one of our favorite places to frequent because my wife  has fallen in love with their fresh homemade bread.  I have to admit it is pretty great.  The Olde Country Store is not only interesting, it is amazing because of the array of products and the large number of people who are shopping there.... locals and tourists.   This week we had to drive  around for a minute to find a parking spot. It is well known that the owners are Mennonites  and that many of the workers are in traditional Mennonite dress.  That all adds to the mystic of fine baked pies, cakes, breads etc.....  plus their sandwiches are the best.  They have most of their products bulk wrapped and did I say that everything is fresh?  If you haven't been....then you've got to go.  This is Dorcas Martin who waited on me and graciously let me take her picture.

I find some pretty cool places and pretty cool people around this town.  This guy is one of those people.  I think it is safe to say that he is one of the few people I have met who enjoys talking as much as I do.  When we were together it was a flurry of words!  I say this about so many people but, Mike Duby is one interesting dude. He owns a fitness studio called,  Applied Science Fitness Studio and like him, it is unique.  He specializes in "Private One on One Strength Training."  He has quite an array of equipment but  you will never be working out with a crowd.  It seems to me that it offers a great opportunity for those who prefer being able to be private in their exercise.  Give him a shot...
540 812 5532  or
or just drop in like I did
217 E. Culpeper Street and don't let the entrance fool ya


Like everyone else, I am in love with Culpeper in the Fall.  The leaves are especially magnificent this year!  I really wanted a picture that highlighted the leaves and the color and was special.  Not a run of the mill picture but one like you would rarely be lucky enough to see. First I had to find some places that would be visually perfect, then I had to figure out who to shoot in the leaves and how to  present them.  For some reason I could not make the two come together.   My wife suggested that first I find the leaves and then just knock on the door of the house and see if the owner would come out and let me take their picture in their leaves.  I was extremely skeptical, but I wanted that picture so I went to a couple of houses and knocked and no one was home.  Then I accidentally  wandered into the Oak Lawn neighborhood and saw the perfect tree.  So I screwed up my courage and took my card and camera and went to the door.  The caregiver spoke to me through a crack in the door (can you blame her?) and took my business card to the owner.  She came right back and invited me in.  There I met Jake Cassidy one of the most delightful women I have had the pleasure to chat with.  She told me that her name is really  Elizabeth Cassidy, but  no one calls her Elizabeth.... everyone calls her Jake. I learned from her that she and her family physician husband moved to Culpeper and to that very house in 1966!  I would not have guessed it but Jake is 94!!  She has three children, two boys and a girl.  I asked if we could take her picture and she reached for her sweater.  This is the result!  Thanks, Jake!

That's it for this time
Don't forget to look for Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper  weekly in the Culpeper Times
Regularly check my facebook page, Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley   

Friday, September 18, 2015

Tattoos Of Culpeper.... Again!

I have been doing my "Faces" blog now for five years.  I have featured hundreds of people, sometimes with themes and sometimes random.  This is the third blog about people in the peper who sport tattoos.  I have to admit that I find them interesting and always enjoy meeting the people.  This blog should burst any misconceptions about who gets tattoos,  because all kinds of people do.  Almost everyone that I ask to photograph for any of my pieces readily agrees.  The longer I do my blog, facebook and "Snapshot" the easier it is because so many know my work.   However, this time I had two ladies turn me down....that is unusual.  They were both heavily and tastefully tattooed and would have really added to the blog.  Too Bad!  A number of people including a tattoo shop owner expressed the opinion that not as many men are getting tats now as women.  The shop owner told me that his business runs about 20% men and 80% women.  That validated my experience.  When I thought I was done I counted by gender and found that I had 12 women and 6 men.  Sooooo ....  I went to where there are always tattooed guys, Golds Gym. Sure enough.

Well enough conversation let's get to it.... Tattoos of Culpeper.... Again!

When I went to Golds Gym to find guys with tats, Nick Swett was the first guy I ran into.  He is a big guy... about as tall as I am but a whole lot bigger.  He works hard at that!  He is a construction worker and works out four or five times a week.  He told me that his tattoos below left were all tribal.

And this one is an  "old token Indian" tattoo if I understood him correctly.

Then I  cracked up when I saw this tattoo on this tough guy. Let's see, tribal, Indian and Pig Pen.  Works for me!


Shortly after one of our massive rains of the summer I was driving past Yowell Meadow Park and spotted Nicole Vissone fishing.  I have seen alot of people in general fishing this year and several of them were young woman, but Nicole was fishing with her boyfriend and they were not fishing in the pond.... they were fishing in the flooded areas of Yowell Meadow Park.....AND they were catching fish!  Talk about being given lemons and making lemonade!  When I stopped to talk to them I saw some  tattoos peeking out on Nicole in a couple of places and we had to talk.
Nicole is a student at Germanna studying police science.  In the meantime she works for the school in security. 

See, a little peek on the leg! 

And on the back

And a gun and roses on the thigh!

She has quite a display of quality work from the back.  When someone has so many tattoos, I get general information about them and their email on the spot and then send them a copy of the pictures.  I asked them to tell me about the tats so that I can explain them here on this blog.  Unfortunately I was not able to get an explanation from Nicole.  Maybe the email address I had was wrong, but Nicole if you see this, please email me and tell me about the art.

This is Allen Jenkins who works at Lowe's.  Until he joined Lowes, he spent most of his life breaking and training horses. He still does that as his second job.  Like everyone's, Allen's tattoos tell  stories.  His first tattoo on top came when he was 19 and he really liked the tv show, "The Saint."  As I recall that was the symbol they opened the show with.  The cross was designed by his Godmother at a time when he needed a reminder of the real direction in his life. 

Tiffany Yowell... beauty and beast?

I met Tiffany Yowell at Dick's Sporting Goods a couple of months ago when I was looking for a "Face of the Week"  which was then a new feature on my Facebook page.   I also call that  "Faces of Culpeper" but I added "by Rich Crowley."   Who would not want to feature this face?  Tiffany  told me that she had been  a "pretty good" soccer player and so googled her.  There were several newspaper articles about her achievements on the soccer field including a ton of awards and recognition for her skill.  A couple of times her "aggressive play" was mentioned.  I thought to myself, "This young lady has the face of an angel and the competitive heart of a beast!"  I don't know her well but she was a college scholarship athlete until injury forced an early retirement.  Then to top that off she shared with me that she had seven tattoos.  Seven!! By the way.... in real life she is a full time student at Mary Washington University.
Here is one tattoo with several facets.  There is a piano keyboard.... she plays piano.  There are music notes to represent her families' love of music and the words, "in the arms of an angel" which is the favorite family song.

On Tiffany's foot is a soccer ball representing her love for the game that she played long and well.

On her shoulder is this message in memory of her grandpa.

This butterfly is made from the her initials along with her mother's.

And finally.....
This was added right after the first surgery she had on her knee.  There would be two more surgeries before she was done.

That is a lot of tattoos on this woman and she told me that she is not done. 

Brittney Wright and Tiffany are, as they say, BFFs.  She attends JMU studying health science.  Brittney has the best planned tattoo that I have ever seen.  Talk about long range planning.  I will explain it below.

This obviously is two baby elephants with their trunks joined to make a heart.  Brittney told me that someday she would marry and have two kids. Not 1 or 3 but 2!  At that point she will have the names of each added above an elephant.  She certainly is a forward thinker!!

Michael Cregger works at Automotive Options and among other things is an excellent detailer.  The tattoos on his forearm represent peace and love.  Michael's passion in life is skateboarding.  His tattoo "One Love" is his dedication and love for when he finds the right woman he can tell her that it is for her.  :)

I met Tracy Shipe outside of the 7-11 on the corner where you turn to go to Mountain Run Lake Park.  I commented on her tattoos and we were off and running.  I asked if I could shoot them and she  suggested that we do it at Mountain Run Lake Park instead of in the parking lot.  She has a great deal of symbolism in her art and so I will quote below what she wrote me about it.
"The leaf symbolism refers to mother earth."

This can be hard to see at first, but it is a beautiful
woman with tattoos on her face.

A giant plus for me was Tracy telling me that she has not let her friends photograph
 her, but with me it was different because instantly we shared the same
energy.  Yeah!  I will take it!

 In black is Jorge Perez who works construction... his tattoos honor friends that have died plus some honor his Mom and Dad.
     CJ Fincham  in red works for Presidential Detailing  and says that he has allowed his arms to be a "sketch pad" for tattoo artists.  They are complex and interesting and random. 

One of the things that I love about summer is that if you are looking for tattoos, they are right out in the open.  I noticed this one in Target on the arm of Katie Beatty who works at the animal hospital.  As you can tell there are two roses, but what might not be quite as clear is that above the roses is the name of Katie's daughter, Ava Rose.

On July 4th I ran into Robert Hawkins at the car show on E. Davis.  Robert has his share of tattoos which he acquired in "various cities."  Robert left Culpeper in 1966 and worked as an iron worker until her retired and returned here in 2013.

I was delivering a magazine to one of my wife's friends and saw 
Jessica Stull walking down the street to her home.  We had to talk!!

This arm of Jessica's is serious business!  The tattoos represent the past, present and future. In no real order.... the roses represent Alice in Wonderland. The bird represents  freedom.

Jessica is a paramedic (EMPT) for Prince William County and she continues to live her life in spite of the
pain she carries with her.   


I ran into Taylor Radan at the post office.  She was trying to address an envelope to her husband, her baby was tired and fussy, and I wanted to talk about her tattoo.  I might have been the straw that broke the camel's back, but talk about a gracious woman......she stopped and gave me all the information that I needed.   Taylor is a stay at home mom whose husband is deployed in Kuwait. She wrote me this about her tattoo:  "The lock and key symbolize a nine year long friendship.  We have not seen each each other for years but our friendship never faded, so I got the tattoo to show that we would always be friends."

If you have followed me on any of my outlets (blog, facebook, "Snapshot of Culpeper) you will have seen this guy before.  He is Antonio Yates and he is the owner of  Antonio's Classic Barber Spa.  In addition he is a competitive body builder with a competition coming up in October.  He told me that his tats are all  religious and tribal.

This is Amy Mariyasov and obviously some one hurt her so badly that it was like a spike through her heart...... pretty sad.  She works at the 7-11 near Mt. Run Lake Park. 

This man lives not too far from me and was moving into his new house when I spotted his arm and came back to talk to him.  This is James Pennell who works (if I got this right) at Workers Builders First Source. He and his wife have three kids.  His tattoo wraps around his upper arm and honors two fathers: God and our biological fathers.  In actuality the inside part of his arm is in respect for his father in law who died too soon. 

This is Jennifer Bywaters  who owns an online business making handmade jewelry.  Mosts of her products are for children and some that I saw were very clever as well as attractive.  Her business is called BBbead boutique.  You can reach her by email at  She had her tattoo done shortly after her baby was born.  It is a mommy and baby bird together. 

Jessica Wester Marks has quite a few tattoos, but this one is obviously the one most noticed.  It is a butterfly and cherry blossoms.  

Juan Lord only has three tattoos.  This one is a beautiful  picture of his deceased mother. 
Juan is in the Air Force and currently going to school. 

These two are the initials of his children.   I have to note that Juan's arms are big enough to tattoo an aircraft carrier on. 

Miarra Robinson is a hair stylist at the Hair Cuttery.  She was in a big hurry when I asked her to pause just a second for a picture which she graciously did.  All of our communication was by email and got a little confused at times.  The scissors on her forearm are obviously acknowledgement to her career which she loves.  The tattoo near her collar bone says "Strong woman, in Hindi."

Russell Furr is a Master Plumber who lives in the Peper with his wife and three kids.  He told me that all of his tattoos are "Bio mechanical designs"  and that the artist is Thom Little.  These tats are pretty complex and a bit scary.

This happy face  belongs to Tracey Farrar who has a total of five tattoos.  This one was the most visible.  Tracey is a single mom and a sign language interpreter.  We can't see everything here, but the flowers are hibiscus and iris and in there somewhere is "I love you" in sign.

Kendall Peters is a Tanning Consultant at Tan City .  She has just this one tattoo and her sister has a matching one.  It demonstrates their bond forever. 


Frank Whorton works in Federal Security.  He was previously in the military but left because of the severe wounding he received in Afghanistan.  He is a true wounded warrior who has gone through much difficult work and pain to get where he is today.... he still has a ways to go.  When I talked with him he seemed to have a great attitude.  I am personally impressed with him and grateful to him for serving all of us.  Besides, his dead lifting is impressive.  
This, of course, the Grim Reaper siting on a clock that is ticking someones' time away.  You will notice that it has two red lines running down from it.  Frank said that when they had completed the tattoo, that his blood was running down his arm just like that and he got the artist to grab some red ink and make it permanent.  


1. This is one of three photo related presentations that I do about Culpeper, Virginia.
2. Be sure to check out my newest and very hot facebook page:   Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley
3. The Culpeper Times runs a weekly feature called,  Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper.  It is located inside the front cover and you cannot miss it. 
4.  A bit of education..... my last name is pronounced,  CRO  LEE the first part is just like the name of the black bird.

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