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   

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