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Everything You Need to Know Before Moving to Culpeper, VA

Photo of Culpeper, VA. The prettiest town in Virginia.

  • Culpeper is widely known as the “Prettiest Town in Virginia.”
  • In 1759, the Town of Culpeper was established but under the name of Fairfax. Culpeper was used as the postal address.
  • In 1869, the confusion caused by this town’s names was laid to rest after the Virginia General Assembly voted to rename the Town of Fairfax into Culpeper.
  • The town figured prominently in the American Revolution and pre-colonial history. Residents are proud of their heritage and the town in general.
  • Despite its small size, Culpeper is filled with exciting and fun activities that are guaranteed to keep the whole family engaged.
  • There is no shortage of places to visit here. Culpeper has great museums, wide public spaces, and an incredible array of local shops and restaurants.
  • Whether you need a change in scenery or an indulgence in urban conveniences, Washington, D.C. is just a short ride away via car or train.
  • Several private and public schools are found in Culpeper, all offering excellent educational opportunities for its residents’ children.
  • Road trip? Several highways pass through Culpeper, virtually making the town the perfect starting point for road trips in and out of Virginia.
  • Culpeper may be a town that savors its historical past but it’s also one of the most upwardly mobile towns in Virginia today.
  • Enjoy the country life and move into your country home in Culpeper, VA. See the finest available homes for sale in our historic town today.

Welcome to the town of Culpeper, crowned as the “Prettiest Town in Virginia.” It is the perfect base to enjoy the rest of Virginia’s horse and wine Country, from its history to its great outdoors, all while being an hour and a half’s drive away from Washington, D.C. 

The only incorporated town in Culpeper County, Culpeper offers the right mix of rustic country life. Continue reading to learn more about Culpeper’s story, the local lifestyle, and real estate market.

Culpeper: Past, Present, and Future

History

Culpeper was established in 1759 as the Town of Fairfax, named after Thomas Fairfax,  6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. While Fairfax was its official name, the town used Culpeper as its postal address. This situation, along with the existence of other entities in the area named Fairfax, caused confusion among locals. Finally, in 1869, the Virginia General Assembly voted to rename the Town of Fairfax into Culpeper.

The American Revolution and the Civil War both left lasting marks on Culpeper. In America’s quest for liberty, a band of local residents from Culpeper and neighboring areas formed the Culpeper Minutemen. They helped fight off the British army, most notable in the Battle of Great Bridge in 1775. One of the Minutemen’s most famous members was John Marshall, who served as the fourth Chief Justice.

During the Civil War, America’s prettiest town was quite a sight of action. Because of its location in Northern Virginia, Union and Confederate forces often met here to take control of the town. In fact, Culpeper changed hands 72 times throughout the war.

Culpeper’s rich history and heritage are widely preserved. Historic homes and sites, including battlefields, are scattered in and around town. But more than that, Culpeper is a community that constantly looks forward. Today, it’s one of the most vibrant towns in Virginia.

Town in Culpeper ,VA. The prettiest town in Virginia.

Country Living in Culpeper, VA

Living in Culpeper puts you near everything Virginia’s horse and wine country have to offer. The town is located in the Piedmont River Valley and the Shenandoah Mountains loom beyond. If you are in need of a change of scenery or perhaps city conveniences, all you need to do is to take the car or hop on a train. You will be in Washington, D.C. in no time. 

Here are a couple of other quick facts about living in Culpeper, VA:

  • Population: Culpeper is home to approximately 18,619 residents as of July 2018, according to the U.S. Census. On a larger scale, Culpeper County has over 51,800 residents. Over the years, Culpeper County’s population has grown by 30 percent.
  • Nearby communities: Culpeper is surrounded by the following towns and communities: West Lakes and Catalpa to the north, Winfrey to the southeast, Winston to the south, and Reva to the west. Charlottesville is approximately 46 miles southwest of Culpeper, while Richmond is southeast, roughly 90 miles away.
  • Size: Culpeper is a small town, only covering a total area of a little over 7.30 square miles. Only a tiny part of Culpeper (about 0.4 square miles) is covered in water: Lake Pelham, the only reservoir in the immediate area.
  • Weather and climate: The local weather in Culpeper is characteristic of Virginia’s hot summers and crisp winters. In between, it can get cloudy and overcast, with Culpeper receiving an average of 3.5 inches of rainfall each year.

    Temperatures can soar up to 80 degrees between May and September. Meanwhile, the cold season, on average, lasts from November to March, with temperatures ranging from 26 to 46 degrees.

  • Schools: Children thrive in Culpeper, thanks in part to the excellent educational opportunities found in town. There are several private and public schools in Culpeper, with the latter managed by Culpeper County Public Schools.

    Public schools in Culpeper include the following:

    There are two private schools in Culpeper: Culpeper Christian School and Epiphany Catholic School.

  • Working in Culpeper, VA: While Culpeper is slowly emerging as an economic center in the region, a significant portion of the town and county’s population travel to other counties such as Fauqier, Prince William, and Fairfax. For now, Culpeper remains a thriving bedroom community, with a wealth of job opportunities located less than an hour away from town. 

Town in Culpeper VA. The prettiest town in Virginia.

Getting around Culpeper, VA

Transportation

Traveling in and around Culpeper is easy. If you’re not driving, you can take the Virginia Regional Transit’s Culpeper Orange Connector. It is operational every weekday, from 7:15 am to 4:15 pm. One traverses the northern loop, while the other runs on the southern loop. On weekends, an alternative service is provided.

If you are traveling out of Culpeper, head to the Culpeper Train Station, where you can board the Amtrak. The Cardinal (Chicago to New York City) and Crescent (New York City to New Orleans) routes stop by Culpeper. You can also get to Lynchburg via the Northeast Regional, with two trains stopping by Culpeper Train Station everyday.

Several highways pass through Culpeper, which makes the town the perfect starting point for road trips in and out of Virginia. These thoroughfares include:

  • Virginia State Route 3
  • Virginia State Route 229
  • U.S. Route 15 Business
  • U.S. Route 522
  • U.S. Route 29 Business

These roads then connect to other highways, such as I-64, I-81, and I-95. 

Parks in Culpeper VA. The prettiest town in Virginia.

Sights to See in Culpeper, VA

Living in Culpeper, you will never run out of sights to see. The following offer a taste of what awaits in Virginia horse and wine country.

  • Lake Pelham Adventures Park
    Lake Pelham is a popular destination in Culpeper for a variety of water activities, being the only water reservoir in the area. Guests can go kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, and swimming to cool off, especially during the hot Culpeper summers.

    For anglers, Lake Pelham offers decent fishing opportunities with the lake well-stocked with yellow perch, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish, crappie, channel catfish, and bluegill. Boats are must-haves for fishing trips, with bank fishing prohibited.

  • Yowell Meadow Park
    Closer to Downtown Culpeper, Yowell Meadow Park is a favorite among local hikers. There is a one-mile hiking trail for beginners who just want to amble about, lined with markers that detail Culpeper’s history. Meanwhile, the nature trail is for the adventurous.

    Yowell Meadow Park also has dedicated fields and spaces for sports such as basketball, volleyball, and tennis. Located within the area is the Skate Park Facility, which comes complete with modular ramps, rails, banks, and a pyramid with ledges.

  • Mountain Run Winery
    Mountain Run Winery provides a teaser for what wine country has in store. Located in Culpeper, the grounds include a hundred-year-old horse barn and an old corn crib, where visitors will find the rustic tasting room.

    The best time to go to Mountain Run Winery is late during the day, before the sun sets, so you can enjoy the sun setting over the landscape as you sip a glass of one of Mountain Run’s reds, rosé, or perhaps, hard apple cider. 

Things to Do in Culpeper, VA

Culpeper and the rest of Virginia horse and wine country are filled to the brim with exciting activities and festivities that are perfect for the whole family.

  • Visit the Museum of Culpeper History
    Museum of Culpeper History
    113 Commerce St, Culpeper, VA

    Housed in a historic train depot, the Museum of Culpeper History has five exhibits dedicated to  Culpeper, right from when dinosaurs roamed the Virginia Piedmont to Culpeper in more contemporary times. Self-guided tours are encouraged, but should you wish to explore the museum with an expert, that can be arranged as well.
  • Go hiking in the Shenandoah National Park
    Shenandoah National Park
    Blue Ridge Mountains, VA

    Every Culpeper resident has Shenandoah National Park as their backyard and playground.

    Located less than an hour’s drive away from Culpeper, Shenandoah National Park is a prime destination in the region for outdoor recreation. There are over 500 miles of trails that ribbon around the national park, making this a hiker’s paradise.

    Other activities you can do in Shenandoah National Park include backcountry camping, picnicking, stargazing, wildlife viewing and photography, fishing, rock climbing, horseback riding, and geocaching/EarthCaching.

    Alternatively, if you don’t wish to hike through undergrowth, you can go on a scenic road trip along Skyline Drive instead. Along the way are 70 overlooks where you can admire the beauty of Shenandoah and the Blue Ridge Mountains. On a good day, you can travel the entire length of Skyline Drive in three hours.

Shopping District in Culpeper VA. The prettiest town in Virginia.

Shopping and Dining in Culpeper, VA

For a small town, Culpeper has it all. Here are some of your local shopping and dining options.

    • Main Street The best place in Culpeper for retail therapy is Main Street, which is lined with an incredible array of local shops and boutiques selling anything from clothing and home decor to gifts and specialty products. Some of the shops you’ll find along Main Street include The Cameleer, Green Roost, and La Bee da Loca.
    • Foti’s Restaurant110 E Davis St, Culpeper, VA
      Foti’s delivers farm-to-table New American cuisine in a classy joint, served with wine and beer of your choice. Menu highlights include slow smoked pork loin sandwich, sweet potato and chickpea burger, and house dry-aged grilled beef tenderloin with cowboy caviar.

    • Flavor on Main137 S Main St, Culpeper, VA
      Step inside this art deco-themed restaurant on Main Street to enjoy a sophisticated and grown-up take on New American fare, served on small plates so you have room for more. Complementing the food is an extensive list of drinks, featuring reds, whites, beer, and a wide variety of specialty and Prohibition-era cocktails.

    • It’s About Thyme
      128 E Davis St, Culpeper, VA
      It’s About Thyme brings a slice of Europe to Virginia horse and wine country. This casual diner features daily specials, such as bruschetta, palazzo pot roast, veal medallions topped with mozzarella and potato gratin, ravioli with four cheeses, and fettuccini alfredo served with sun-dried tomatoes.

    Moving to Culpeper, VA

    Culpeper, VA Real Estate

    Culpeper, VA real estate offer some of the best offerings in Virginia’s horse and wine country. Homes and properties for sale in Culpeper range from small farmhouses and cabins to large estates and luxury antebellum homes with sweeping views of horse and wine country and the Shenandoah Mountains.

    Large swathes of land are also available in the Culpeper countryside, perfect for your dream country home, equestrian property, or even your own winery. Explore your options in Culpeper, VA real estate with us today.

    Buying a Home in Culpeper, VA

    To buy a home in Culpeper, follow our simple six-step process:

    • Determine your motivations behind buying a home
    • Prepare your finances and build your green file
    • Find the right Culpeper VA realtor to work with
    • Start shopping for a home
    • Make an offer and fulfill your to-do list
    • Move in to your country home in Culpeper, VA

    Take a closer look at our home buying guide here so you won’t miss anything.

    Enjoy the Country Life in Culpeper, VA

    Culpeper takes you right in the heart of Virginia horse and wine country. There is no better place to enjoy that country lifestyle you’ve always wanted, with the Piedmont River Valley and the Shenandoah Mountains just right around the corner. 

    Whether you’re just looking around or ready to make your dreams of country living in Culpeper, VA come true, The Lohr Team would love to hear from you. Get in touch with us today!