Destination: Appomattox, VA
It’s no secret that our beautiful state of Virginia is rich with history, and nestled right in the “heart” of it—just a hop, skip, and jump away from us—lies the cozy and historically significant town of Appomattox. The quaint, little town full of Southern charm claims a total area of just 2.2 square miles, but is jam-packed with things to do. Complete with Civil War museums, multiple state parks, unique shops, and delicious places to eat, Appomattox is the perfect place to venture for the day with your family, best friends, or significant other.
What to See
Calling all history buffs! At the time of the Civil War, Appomattox was the site of a railroad depot on the line between Petersburg and Lynchburg and is perhaps most famously known as being the site of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865, which helped end the Civil War. All of this to say, the small town has its fair share of museums and other historical sites to offer.
Start with a tour of the Appomattox Court House, preserved as a National Historical Park, and where Lee surrendered. Just down the road, you’ll find the American Civil War Museum that contains an impressive collection of artifacts, documents, photographs, and more. The Appomattox County Historical Society Museum and Library is located in Courthouse Square and also houses many historic relics. The building actually served as the county jail beginning in 1897. Enjoy a glimpse into 19th-century life at Clover Hill Village, where you can browse through numerous historical buildings such as log cabins, a schoolhouse, working blacksmith shop, general store, and more. Other Civil War–related spots worth taking a peek at include the Carver-Price Legacy Museum and the Joel Sweeney Birthplace and Gravesite.
Nature lovers can spend time reveling in the great outdoors, whether it’s hiking or biking in one of the three state parks nearby (James River State Park, Holliday Lake State Park, and High Bridge Trail State Park), or unwinding on Falling River Country Club’s unique 18-hole golf course complete with snack bar and driving range, as well as a swimming pool.
“Falling River is a player-friendly country club that offers many amenities,” says Faber Jamerson, PGA member, who heads up the course. “The club has multiple sets of tee boxes that will suit any and all skill levels, whether it be a beginner just learning to play or a player with many years of experience.”
Jamerson is originally from Appomattox and grew up at Falling River Country Club, which opened in 1965.
“Falling River has some of the best playing surfaces in Central Virginia while also being very affordable,” he says.
Take a seat at Wolfbane Productions’ Wolf P.A.C., a Broadway-style outdoor venue featuring matinees, interactive dinner theater, and more. Check out their website (wolfbane.org) for a calendar of events as well as ticket information. If theater is your thing, the Appomattox Courthouse Players at Courthouse Square also offer varied dramatic productions including musicals, mysteries and comedies, as well as original productions relating to historical events.
Where to Shop
Take a break from sight-seeing and peruse downtown’s charming shops. That’s Too Cute Boutique, owned by Penny and George Welch, offers a variety of items available to be personalized, including shirts, jackets, towels, pillow cases, baby blankets, and baby clothing. Country Charm is a family-run and -owned business and carries a large mix of seasonal products ranging from home décor to gifts to wreaths.
“We offer everything from garden flags to delicious dips and soups to handcrafted jewelry to local lavender products,” says Beth Turner, who runs the shop with her mother. “Pop in and see always friendly faces, or possibly an old friend, and end your shopping day with a hand-dipped ice cream while sitting on our porch and watching the train roll through.”
Nina Bell’s Cottage also has cute gift items, unique jewelry, signs, and clothing. In addition, they will redo just about any type of furniture. The store recently received Lynchburg’s Best of Business Awards gold medal for best gifts. Antique lovers must check out It’s All Good, which has a wide variety of antiques and home furnishings and claims to have something for everyone, as well as Antiques and Treasures. Give your legs a breather and be sure to visit Baine’s Books and Coffee, an independent, locally-owned, community bookstore and coffee shop. This unique hangout spot offers so much more than its title suggests, including vinyl records, pottery, and live music.
Places to Dine
Looking for a quick bite to eat? Make a pit stop at The Taco Wagon, a food truck that serves authentic Mexican food including tacos (of course), burritos, quesadillas, and more. Or, grab a giant slice at Mamma Terezinha’s, a hidden gem that boasts excellent, New York-style pizza complete with homemade sauce and fresh fixings. For good ol’ Southern comfort food, look no further than Granny Bee’s, THE down-home diner on Main Street, serving food items like country ham, green beans, corn pudding, and chocolate meringue pies. And, last but definitely not least, if you want to truly indulge, be sure to check out The Babcock House, which features a changing, seasonal menu in an effort to work with only the freshest ingredients. Located in a cozy inn, this highly-rated farm-to-table restaurant offers lunch and supper Wednesday through Saturday as well as brunch on Sunday. They also offer homemade desserts, house-crafted specialty cocktails, and a variety of Virginia wines and beers.
“We strive for the highest quality food by making everything from scratch—from desserts to dressings and sauces,” says Talia Clusman, Owner/Innkeeper of The Babcock House.
Chef Charles has even been voted top local chef by “The Burg” two years in a row. The bed and breakfast also partners frequently with Wolfbane Productions.
“[We] have several special events planned for the year from holiday buffets to five-course wine and beer dinners,” Clusman says. Details can be found on their website (babcockhouse.com).
Also, be on the lookout for a brand new microbrewery coming to Appomattox in April. Krikelkay Brewing Company is set to open in the Triangle Plaza on Old Courthouse Road and will feature a variety of craft beers. Owners and founders Keith and Lori Vogt named the brewery after their three daughters, Kristen, Kelly, and Kayla.
So, whether you’re searching for a cozy spot to get your grub on, wanting to go antiquing in a quaint, Southern town, or anxious to dive into loads of history, Appomattox holds the perfect smorgasbord of activities with something for everyone to experience, making it an ideal day trip destination.