The Plains, Virginia

On Monday morning we decided we needed some coffee and a gluten-free meal.  And, we knew just the place.  A few years ago, we stopped in the small town of Front Royal at the northern end of the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.  We walked the historic district, of course, and found a new coffee shop a block off the main road.  It was called Happy Creek Coffee & Tea company (  Like our own Caffe Amouri in Vienna, they roast their own beans and produce some very good coffee.  The best part is, they serve gluten-free food and treats.  Not only that… they only serve gluten-free food.  Everything in the shop is safe for celiacs.  After a few visits to this coffee shop, we found out they have two other locations.  One is in Shepherdstown, WV (a nice town on its own, but a bit far for an afternoon drive).  The other is in The Plains, VA–a short drive west on I-66 or a bit longer, but pleasant drive through the backroads of Virginia.

So we loaded ourselves into the old Subaru (it’s actually still new to me) and headed west on Route 50.  A left at Route 15 and a right turn down 601 had us traveling through Antioch and passed Bust Head Road.  Now, 601, though clearly labeled on the map, was not marked as such when driving on Route 15.  So, we drove on by and almost reached the interstate, before realizing we were lost and turning around to try again.   We could have finished our drive on the interstate, but where’s the fun in that?  So we found Route 601 and headed into The Plains.  It looks much more picturesque than the picture above.  We didn’t walk around to the train tracks on this trip.

We did stop in the Happy Creek Coffee & Tea company–right in the middle of town.  You might notice the bicycle motif inhabiting the place.  The room is shared between the coffee shop and the Haymarket Bicycle shop. So you can have your bike tuned up while waiting for your hand pour to brew.  We haven’t had any interaction with the bicycle guy, but he looked friendly enough and several coffee drinkers were wearing bike shorts.  The staff was extremely friendly and even made us a couple of cookies after the day’s allotment was gone.  Perhaps the sad look on our faces when we said we had driven all the way from Vienna for a cup of coffee and a cookie, only to find no cookies, did the trick.  In any case, they earned their tip.

Rumor has it that Robert Duvall used to own a restaurant in The Plains and that he still lives on a 300 acre farm outside of town.  Locals claim Sissy Spacek lives near here also.