Daycation - Farmville, Virginia

Friday, September 7, 2018

I'm going to start a series about my favorite "daycations" in Virginia!  We are centrally located, so we can get to almost anywhere in the state within a reasonable amount of time for a day trip.  We love day trips or weekend trips; I really like to explore, and I love to expose Reagan to new things.

One place we frequent in Farmville, Virginia - almost quite literally "the heart of Virginia".  It's tucked away from major interstates, about an hour from Richmond.  This is a frequent trip for us, because it's more rural, very outdoorsy, and very unique.  It definitely has a rural feel, but it's actually home to two Virginia colleges - Longwood University and Hampton Sydney college.  They're two of the oldest in the nation!  Combined, their enrollment is still pretty low at around 7,000 give or take. 

There are two ideal ways to make this daycation.  Since we have a young toddler, we spend most of the day at the nearby Twin Lakes State Park, about 20 minutes away.  This is the cutest state park!  There's a lovely playground, but the big hit is the water.  The lake has a little beach with a lifeguard, built in water play pieces, and even a little water slide.  There's a dock for jumping, and you can rent paddleboats.  Right next to the water area is a little cafe and shop, where everything is amazingly priced!  Buy a float for $4, and the lifeguard/boating team down by the lake will blow it up for you.  The food combos average around $5 for a meal and drink, and they also serve Hershey's ice cream.  There's indoor bathrooms and outdoor showers with stalls.  Grills for anyone's use.  There are also great trails and campgrounds, though we haven't taken advantage of those yet. 

When you're all tuckered out, head to Farmville for dinner.  Our go-to for any meal in Farmville is Charley's Waterfront Cafe.  It has a large patio that overlooks the Appomottox River - which, by the way, they dye green for St. Patrick's Day!  The indoor restaurant is really lovely as well.  Food is fantastic; their specialty is their handmade chicken fingers and their she crab soup.  I love everything I've eaten there.  Sunday brunch is a buffet, which is extra special on Mother's and Father's days.  

Make sure to take a picture with the LOVE sign!  Virginia is for lovers!

The second way to do Farmville is to spend the day just there.  We've done this many times as well - great for the winter or if you're not up for a day at Twin Lakes!

It's known for furniture, and visitors flock from near and far to buy both antique and new, high end, handmade or designer furniture.  Green Front Furniture is amazing - and huge!  It takes up four former tobacco warehouses and six other downtown buildings.  It's locally, family owned...but this is no small-town shop.  A lot of the furniture is high end and unique, and I doubt you could find similar pieces anywhere else in Virginia.  There's definitely something for every aesthetic here.  

Not even a third of Green Top Furniture!

For other shopping, we love Sleeping Bee for unique, home goods.  The Outdoor Adventure Store is great for finding your next outdoor necessity - kind of like a local REI!  There are many, many other shops along Main St; definitely pop in some of the antique stores!

Grab some lunch at Charley's, and prepare to walk it off!  You can leave your car parked downtown and immediately start off on the 30-mile High Bridge State Park trail.  It is an absolutely lovely trail that traverses Cumberland, Nottoway, and Prince Edward counties as well as Burkeville (right near Twin Lakes), Farmville, Pamplin, and Rice.  It's just over 5 miles to the bridge, which was a former railroad bridge influential to the Civil War, if you choose to walk from downtown Farmville.  This is great if you chose to bring your bike, but 10 miles out and back is a bit tough for us walkers!  

There is a parking lot at River Road in Cumberland about 3 miles from Farmville's Main St where you can park about a mile from the bridge.  This is what we prefer to do.  This is a pay lot; it costs something around $4 and the payment goes to the state park.  In high season, there's someone there that can take cards.  Off season, it's a cash/envelope honor system.  It's a short, flat walk! 

Before you head back home after your walk, treat yourself to an ice cream from Uptown Coffee Cafe or a baked good from Mill Street Sweets (though Mill Street closes way earlier than I think they should!)

Enjoy your day outdoors, shopping some of the most unique furniture on the East Coast, and eating good, local food!