Anyone who stops by the new Warrenton-Fauquier County Visitor’s Center in Warrenton Town Hall (21 Main St.) will be able to peruse brochures and employ an interactive computer to find out about local sites of interest – historical buildings, special events and walking tours, for instance.
If they stop by between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Tuesday to Friday or 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, they’ll also get a chance to chat with 17-year-visitor’s center veteran Becky Crouch. (Crouch is quick to point out that if she is not on the job, Warrenton Town staff are happy to answer questions at the front desk.)
A 40-year resident of Warrenton, Crouch said she has been a part of several iterations of the Visitors Center – on Keith Street, on Beckham Street and most recently a building at 41 Calhoun Street. The new version is scaled down in size and digitized for today’s visitors.
Crouch said that visitors who stop by the center often want to know where they can take a hike or find a bike trail. “I try to find out what kind of a hike,” said Crouch. The Greenway is great for an easy walk, she said, but for a really rugged adventure, they may have to leave the town.
A couple of out-of-towners stopped by Friday afternoon. Crouch recommended the bakeries in town, but the visitors held up their bags, laughing, and said they’d already found them. She pointed them to the Old Jail Museum next to the Old Courthouse for information about the area’s history.
Crouch thinks Warrenton is a great place for day trippers or “ladies from Charlottesville who want to meet their friends from Fairfax for lunch.” Warrenton is a wonderful location, she enthused, a natural stop between Interstate 81 and I-95.
She said she is neutral when recommending eateries, “All our restaurants are great. I tell them most places have a menu board out front.” But, she said, if visitors have a specific need – like a hankering for pizza, or a kid-friendly place – she can narrow down the options.
Crouch also points out parks in the area when parents are looking for a playground. “I sent a family with children to Eva Walker Park the other day. They were looking for somewhere to have a picnic.”
Not everyone is just stopping by to shop or to have a meal. Some folks are checking out the area for a future home. When that is the case, Crouch is sure to point them to the WARF, so they can see the recreational options available in the town.
Some want to know if the town has any electric vehicle charging stations (There are two in a parking lot at the corner of Horner Street and 3rd Street).
Crouch said the visitors center still needs some last finishing touches. Her computer, for instance, is still in another room, and she’d like to decorate her “office” – which has a window open to the main town hall space -- with pictures of Warrenton.
She did point out a new “site” in town. It’s inside the former bank vault in same room as the visitor’s center. Walk through the gilded doors of the vault to find displays of Warrenton’s roots. The displays will change, said Crouch. She grinned, “Isn’t it great?”
Reach Robin Earl at rearl@Fauquier.com