My hometown was probably a lot like yours. When you were a kid, it was often a source of frustration and boredom. That sleepy downtown never seemed to have the cool clothes that the big cities had. Too quiet. But as you grew older, those creaky old businesses with the Victorian store fronts found a place in your heart.
I painted these quite a few years ago but, thankfully, all of these places are pretty much like they were. I hope you enjoy my hometown. The next time you are in the Virginia Hunt Country, you might just run across it! Say hello to John at It's about Thyme. -One of the best restaurants you'll find, I promise.
Mr. Gayheart, who's family ran Gayheart's Pharmacy for many years, passed away this Summer. So it's a little bitter-sweet to show off the old place. It actually has been made into a proper diner-type place now but the flavor is still vividly there. -You just can't get Gold Bond foot powder or whatever anymore. Guess a great chocolate 'malt' and juicy burger will have to do!
Knakal's Bakery is a Mid-Century time capsule that just happens to do a really great job of baking lots of tasty treats. Everyone gets their Easter and Thanksgiving dinner rolls there (be prepared to stand in line). The women are no-nonsense but polite and they use a huge gas porcelain oven that was, undoubtedly, an antique when the bakery opened in the 1950s. -My Great Uncle Sam (Verduce) was baker there for many years (-hadn't thought of that classy, funny gentleman in years....).
It's About Thyme is a french provincial restaurant in town. It is jam-packed almost all of the time and deservedly so. The quality is superb and the prices are fair. Most of the crowd on weekends are diners from Washington, DC traveling to the country to see what the fuss is about. When I showed John, the owner, this picture he gratefully accepted a copy but said "I don't sell lobsters, you know." -Always with the details, this guy.
Like a lot of guys, my Dad started making money as early as he could. He started working at Baby Jim's in the early 1950's, helping out and delivering hotdogs and sandwiches on his bicycle. Pull into the busy little parking lot and grab an excellent chili dog and fries (don't expect 'super sized' fries. -They still offer the teeny 1950's serving size!).