The town of Culpeper, Virginia is known as much for its Civil War history as its gracious Virginia charm. Almost equidistant from the US capital and Thomas Jefferson's home, it makes an excellent day trip from Washington DC and Charlottesville, Virginia. Surrounded by agricultural farmland and rolling hills, yet so close in proximity to DC, the landscape between northern and central Virginia includes many must-see and must-hike locations in the Old Dominion, from Skyline Drive and Shenandoah National Park, Monticello in Charlottesville, and oodles of Virginia distillery tours, wineries, and Virginia brewery tours and trails in between. Culpeper has such an endearing small town atmosphere, it's easy to lose yourself and linger over the fresh produce and flowers at the weekly farmers market, join the fun at a community festival, or quietly stroll a local park or preserved Civil War battlefield. It's that kind of idyllic.
Choosing Where to Stay in Culpeper, Virginia
If you're planning a trip here, you'll find several moderate-range hotel chains in town, quaint B&Bs on the lovely side streets near the historic downtown and some outside of town. You'll even find accommodations where you can bring your horse and ride in a bucolic setting for the weekend. But if you're looking for a more upscale and pampered stay, you'll find a luxury gem hidden in plain sight in the middle of Davis Street, the main bustling hub of activity in Culpeper -- the Thyme Inn.
You may have heard of Its About Thyme restaurant that's been in Culpeper over 20 years, which draws patrons near and far. It's the first place everyone dines at in town, and just one of the Culpeper restaurants in the Thyme restaurant group owned and operated by restaurant entrepeneur John Yarnall and his family. Within walking distance of each other and all within the historic downtown, there's also The Copper Fish with fresh seafood specialties, and Thyme Market, a cozy European-style market that's popular with locals. In between it all is the small outdoor brick alley affectionately known as Thyme Alley, one of the most popular places in town to gather for wine and light bites any day of the week.
You might not think an overnight stay in the midst of all this bustle would be a particularly good idea, but you'd be missing out on something really special. We had the chance to visit Culpeper recently over the Christmas holidays and were so glad we stayed at Thyme Inn. The few days we spent were relaxing and rejuvenating going into the hectic Christmas holidays.
Accommodations at Thyme Inn
There are five European-inspired suites at Thyme Inn - the Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, French, and Italian - all luxuriously appointed with warm color tones, sumptuous fabrics, antique furniture, and luxe accessories like thick wool area rugs, fine crisp linens and bedding, and exquisite bathrooms. If you must, there are large-screen TVs with satellite programming, though the views outside are so much prettier.
Thyme Inn is a traditional overnight Inn, not a bed & breakfast, therefore no breakfast is included in your stay. But the offerings right downstairs at Thyme Market make for an authentic European-style breakfast. Grab a pastry or baguette and a cup of coffee or tea and set off exploring for the day. A heartier breakfast-all-day can always be found along Davis or Main Streets.
What We Loved About Our Stay
- Elegant and tastefully appointed rooms
- Fireplace - the gas fireplace was a perfect touch for the ambiance as well as the cold winter's night
- Bath - the generously sized soaking tub and waterfall shower were sublime
- Antique wardrobe - there was more than adequate closet space for hanging clothes
- Plush towels and robes - Not all guest robes are created equal...these are the ones you want with the soft plush fabric to keep you warm!
- Thyme suite - Ask for this room for an amazing balcony view of Davis Street
- Location - Thyme Inn is ideally situated in the heart of the historic downtown
- Bed - The Thyme suite had a super comfortable Murphy bed (that's right, a plush and comfy Murphy bed!) with crisp linens and a down duvet
- We appreciated having the Keurig coffee maker and pods in the hallway (though the setting cried out for a pot of French-pressed for that European touch), although we felt having an in-room coffee maker would be more personal and convenient.
- We found information on things to do in Culpeper, VA in a binder tucked away in a drawer, however the info was terribly outdated and of no use to someone who wants to explore the town and countryside, especially the historic downtown.
Staying at the Thyme Inn in Culpeper is a perfect choice for the independent, luxury traveler who enjoys exploring historic towns and cities. It's easy to imagine you're just steps from the narrow streets of Florence, Italy, overlooking the Ponte Vecchio instead of Davis Street, which is precisely why the experience here is so charming. During the day, neighbors greet each other with hugs and reminiscences, and the smell of the wood-fire oven is comforting and gently coaxes you downstairs to be a part of it all. It's more than just the sumptuous suite and European feel. The added charm of the small town setting outside, and your choice of creative cuisine within steps of your room is unexpected luxury indeed, and we highly recommend a stay.
If You Go
Thyme Inn, 128 East Davis Street, Culpeper, Virginia, 22701
Rates: Five unique suites range from $150-550 per night. Their popular Winter special January through March offers an overnight stay and dinner for two for $225!
Check In: When you arrive at Thyme Inn, visit the Thyme Market between normal working hours to pick-up your room key and check in. If you know you'll be arriving after hours, be sure and let the owners know. They'll give you the code to an after hours key drop box so you can pick up your key and check yourselves in.
Parking in Culpeper: For those who want to explore the extended town and countryside by car, the parking lots around the Inn offer 3-hour parking, and free parking after 5:00pm.
Where to Eat in Culpeper, Virginia: Recommended Restaurants (in Historic Downtown)
Breakfast: Frost Diner and 4C's Restaurant, both offer breakfast-all-day-long
Lunch & Dinner: It's About Thyme, Thyme Market, Foti's Restaurant, Piedmont Steakhouse, Lucio, and The Copper Fish
Have you been to Culpeper, Virginia yet?