Wednesday, August 3, 2016


As you know if you have been following my blog, it has been a long time since the last one.  I have had a long run of poor health.  Before Thanksgiving I had surgery that did not turn out well and that required emergency follow up surgery.  The combination left me sick for a long long time with a painfully slow recovery.  Infact, I feared that I would never recover. It took about eight months before I began to be close to normal.   During that time it was with great effort that I kept my "Snapshot of Culpeper" going in the Culpeper Times.  It required a lot of planning to go  out in very short bursts and grab shots for my  Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley Facebook page.  Clearly this blog suffered.  But I am back...... at least for a while.  It seems pretty clear to me that sooner rather than later I am going to have to move nearer to the Heart Center in Fairfax.  In the meantime I intend to have fun with all of my projects, so let's get going

(note, as of 10/08/2016 there have been over 71,500 visits to this blog)


I am always on the lookout for faces for these projects.  There are many many interesting faces in this town.  It was a very short time ago that I ran into these guys at IHOP.  They are at a fun time of life and personify the joy of many of the faces that I run into.  Left to right:

Drew, Cameron, Max, Ben, Skippy and Wyatt

I have thought about places I will miss if I leave Culpeper.  We are fortunate to have streams and "runs" that pass through our area and make for beautiful scenes.  Since I originally came from Idaho, I had never heard the term "run" as it refers to a waterway.  When we studied the Civil War we thought names like "Bull Run"  were interesting, but did not have a true idea of where those names came from.  Mountain Run meanders through much of our landscape and I think is especially pretty at Lenn Park.  In fact because it is so peaceful and picturesque there that it is one of my top two or three places in the area in general and possibly my favorite for photography.

Messieurs-dames, venez manger des crepes francaises les plus formidables du monde!!  Elles 
sont vraiment delicieuses!!

Ladies and gentlemen, come eat the most wonderful French crepeps in the world!!   They are really delicious!! 

The customers are Eric Bynum a local musician and Laura Bynum a writer/artist who has had her own show in the Loft.

The chef is Zach Foxley a local resident and graduate student at George Mason. However, his fledgling crepe business is just starting to grow so keep an eye on him...... the best is yet to come.

Homes in transition is a nice way of saying that there seems to be a lot of houses, especially on the edge of town, that are falling apart from old age and neglect.  I am always curious about them and want to go inside, but I rarely do.  I walked into an old barn that is pretty close to CCHS and came face to face with a coyote.  That sort of cured my curiosity for a while.  When I see a house like this I always remind myself that at one time this was a new and beautiful home and someone was excited
about moving into it.  What happened in the meantime?   At this house I saw this toy resting on the front porch.
And this outhouse in back.

Back to faces..... this is Judy Owen and she is a school bus driver for Culpeper County Schools.  For my money she and the others like her are among the most important people in Culpeper.  We never hear about school bus drivers unless there is a wreck involving a school bus  somewhere.  Every day here in the Peper thousands of kids are safely transported to and from schools.  Unsung heroes is what they are. This one was very grateful that I singled her out and gave some attention that translated to all the bus drivers.  As you are driving around some time just think about how it would be if there were forty kids behind you... each one full of energy....and each one counting on you to get them to school and home safely.  I personally am thankful that there are responsible people who are willing to do this job.  I made her picture extra large to indicate how important I think she and her peers are.

This is a face and a place.  First we are at the Old House Vineyard and this is the manager of the the "House"  which has many attractions including fine dining.  Her name is  Deborah McCall.        Note the beautiful vineyards behind her.

Hard working Dude.  This is Bruce Butler and his assistant Billy Truslow  power washing my house.   These guys work hard and in pretty extreme heat.  The company motto is, "Keepin It Clean."

Kandy and Andrew, as you can see on their sleeves,  are helpful employees at the UPS store.  They make life easy when you go there.  This month I am going to give them a big challenge.... I am going to ship an antique rocking chair to Colorado and I trust they will get it there safe and sound.

This is another important place.   What can I say? This obviously is Eastern View High School.  Every time I go there or by there, I am amazed at the amount of land that is committed to the school and community at this facility.

I may have mentioned before that one of the hardest things to do when you move to a new town is find medical people that fit with you and that you feel confident with.  Well, we struck gold with Shannon Butler who is our dentist.  She is so thorough and patient and kind.

When I posted them in my facebook I noted that they did not tell me what the joke was, but I was hoping that it was not on me.  I did check my clothing though.  It is hard to look at this and not smile. These young women are: Sarina, Alicia, Destinee and Rachael.

On my facebook page which is also called, "Faces of Culpeper"  I decided to picture people in the Peper who worked at the drive through windows and the various fast food restaurants.    Lorena, Edson and Kaleshia work the window at Burger King.

Beautiful old house.  There are several of these in town.  This one is a biggie!

Chad Buracker is a long time employee at Mike's Glass.  I saw the business sign and boldly walked into the back work area and had Chad show me how you cut glass..  It looks amazingly easy when he does it.

I think there must be an art community or at least an "artsy" community where everyone knows Patty Werick.  She  owns the art gallery/studio called, The Loft where there is alot of art for sale, plus art workshops and tons of fun and rewarding things.  She is at 107B on East Davis and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 11am on Friday and Saturday and 12 on Sunday.

Andrew Dearing was outside of my dentists office when I noticed him.  He told me that he is an aspiring musician among some other things.  He looks like a movie star to me. My facebook , Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley  reports to me the number of  views each picture has.  Andrew got about 1200 views and then stopped.  All of a sudden in the last two weeks he has picked up about 1000 more!  That has never happened before!

I heard a lot of people say that they never thought they would live long enough to see a picket line in Culpeper but we did and it lasted a long time.  As always each side gave a little, but you would have to say that the workers won this one.  Ken Wheeler, Richard Payne and Bob Decker were picketing the day I took the picture.  Good job guys!


On three occasions since I have been doing this blog, I have happened upon couples who were preparing to get married in the park.  Two of them in Yowell and one in Mountain Run Lake Park.  One was a couple of years ago and two were this year.  

This wedding occurred at Mountain Run Lake Park. Groom is Dino Tracey, Bride is April Tracy and Dino's son is Brayden.

I did not get down to see this wedding but hollered to them from the bridge and got a wave.  These newly weds are: Constance (also pictured below) Hepner Bielanski and her husband John Walter Bielanski.

Back to faces and places 

The railroad runs through us.

There is nothing quite like being a grandfather.  This is Clyde Zopp and his granddaughter.

This is the famous Shawn Moss who is the owner of "Shawn's Smokehouse Company located on Sperryville Pike.  I am told that he recently opened another in Warrenton.  One thing I know for sure is that the food is good.

Jonathan and (bashful) Rebecca James with baby Lilly.

I first learned about this place about a month ago.  It is a beautiful and growing Assisted Living facility, The Culpeper.

Larry Myers could be called a "dog whisperer."  The dog with him here is in training.  As we took this picture, lots of people came by and spoke with him.  When he was on my Facebook people wrote testimonials about him.  He must be good and he has a mild personality.


I was lucky enough to attend my grandson, Nathan's little kindergarten "graduation" program at Yowell Elementary.  This is Nathan and his teacher, Mrs. Butterfield who  is very popular with the parents and the kids.  As they say,  "She is really nice!"

This friendly person who I found riding her bike near IHOP  is Alyssa Labuda and teaches third grade at Emerald Hill Elementary.

Demonstrating that teachers never stop giving, I discovered these two helping on a fund raiser at Shawn's BBQ.  Both of these ladies teach at Pearl Sample.  They are Carly Pope a music teacher and Alex Ramsey a first grade teacher.

Isn't it interesting that this sits right in the middle of town?

Filming a public service announcement for the city at Meadow Run Lake are: Jonathan Krawchuck in blue who is the station manager for our local tv station and Jeff Stanfill the technical director.

Jason Theil at his store called,  "The Shop" which boasts an eclectic array of products for sale.

This is Tracia Thao Phan

Mike Cannon and David Massie are loading a one person kayak that was just purchased at Dick's Sporting Goods. 

If you look closely you will see that this tree is loaded with green apples.

Sam Withrow called me one day to come see the chair he had made and so I did.  He did a great job.  When I put this in the Culpeper Times I noted that, "Sam puts the 'good' in good old boy."

One of the things that I always long to do when different flowers are in bloom is to take pictures of a pretty person or of children deep in them.  This time it was black eyed susans and I found Nicole Platel-Aspray to pose for me.  Would it surprise you if I told you that this was taken in front of the empty Belk store?


Since it has been several months since I wrote and pictured a blog, I have about 20 more pictures to include.  However, I think I have gone about as long as I dare for this one.  This will be my last entry this time.

For the nine years that I have lived in Culpeper, I have driven past this facility and wondered about it.  It is on Bragg Road and several acres covered with wood to be shipped.  Trucks are rolling in and out with loads of finished lumber.  The day before I visited 85 trucks passed through.  Last year they shipped 145 million feet of lumber from this lot.  My son had told me that this was the largest operation of its kind in the United States.  I believe it.

Frankly I was a little bit intimidated about going in because there were signs like this one and about wearing hard hats etc.  while on the property but finally my curiosity won out.  I went in and met Matt Fincham  who is the Operations Manager for the lot.  He educated me (this is one of five locations for this company.)  Joe Daniels, a culpeper resident is the owner.  I hope to be able to talk with him for the next blog.  Then he drove me around the facility in his cart until I saw the place that I wanted to use to take a picture.

Here's Matt.   I guarantee that these pictures do not adequately represent the size or scope of this yard.  Here are a couple of other angles.

Thanks for sticking with me so long today.  I hope you saw lots of new people and even learned a thing or two.    I promise that I won't be so long next time.

Remember that I have my "Rich Crowley's Snapshot of Culpeper" every week in the Culpeper Times AND my facebook which I call,  Faces of Culpeper by Rich Crowley.   I have a very large readerships of my three projects and I want to thank you for supporting me.

Until next time.......