I wanted an easy roadtrip to breathe some country air. I randomly picked Shenandoah Valley, a drivable national park, and based a trip around it. On Air B and B, I found a Spring Haven, a serene farm surrounding a small lake. Our hosts gifted us fresh eggs, watermelon pickles, and burlap flowers.
A few miles away is Cibola Bison Farm. We were able to tour the farm, checking out the goats, chickens, and all the way in the distance- delicious bison. We took home over $100 in products, including a new bison leather wallet for me, summer sausage, and jerky. We've already dug into the salami (awesome) and made the bison tenderloin filets. The filets were amazing, I seasoned with salt, pepper, and shitake powder, seared on each side for 2 minutes and then put them in the oven for 5 minutes. Completely perfect.
For the nature part of the trip we traveled an hour away to Luray Caverns and then in to Shenandoah Valley park to do the Stoney Man hike, the summit was 4,000 feet up, where we enjoyed local farmstand apple and honey we picked up on the way to the Caverns.
Back to food though right? Calhoun's Ham House and Country Deli may not have the friendliest ladies working behind the counter but their country ham converted me. Not being a fan of what I thought was "ham" I learned that country ham is a salty dream, the Southern cousin of prosciutto. Order it here sliced by the pound, its only $14/lb. To take home, go for the shrink wrapped uncooked slices, it makes a great present. Biscuits are served cold and aren't great, skip them and get your ham on a roll.
Two breweries are nearby, the folks at Beer Hound Brewery are much nice than their ham slinging neighbors and they encourage bringing outside food, so BYOHam?
Shawn’s Smokehouse BBQ Company's relaxed fast food type vibe was just what we needed after a day of hiking. I was so glad they had burnt ends left, they were the best things we tried. The pulled pork, rolls, slaw were also good. The rest of the sides and the brisket just get an "ok" rating from me.
On our way home we stopped at Ole Country Store and Bakery, just outside of town. The shop sits on a lake and kayaks/paddle boards are available to rent. I was there to stock up. Our shopping cart included sour dough bread, banana bread, jam, okra chips (!), and pickled baby corn. Plus one last country ham sandwich for the car ride back to Philly. Had to.
Spring Haven Farm, Boston, VA
Cibola Farm, 10075 Stone Bridge Rd., Culpeper, VA
Luray Caverns, 101 Cave Hill Rd, Luray, VA
Stoney Man Summit, Skyline Drive, Shenandoah National Park, VA
Calhoun's Country Hams, 219 South East StreetCulpeper, VA
Beer Hound Brewery, 201 Waters Pl #102, Culpeper, VA
Shawn's Smokehouse, 602 Sperryville Pike, Culpeper, VA
Ole Country Store and Bakery, 18019 Country Store Dr, Culpeper, VA