SOMERSET - The views of the Blue Ridge Mountains go on forever from the vast patio at the Market at Grelen.
A natural retreat, shopping destination and picnic style cafe all in one, this Orange County establishment is worth the drive.
Situated about 30 miles from Culpeper on the 600-acre Grelen Nursery off of route 231 on Yager Road, the Market opened in April offering homegrown fare in the cafe, stylish and extensive outdoor seating and a garden shop peddling gifts, gadgets and goodies like birdhouses, copper firepits, sun hats and urns.
The market also offers various workshops including a holiday greens class (Dec. 3, 4 and 8), a fairy garden workshop Dec. 7 and wreath making sessions Dec. 5, 10 and 11.
Market at Grelen Creative Director Leslie Gregg, of Charlottesville, said the nursery's new endeavor at the cafe and garden shop has really taken off.
"We are a casual cafe where you can come and pick up dinner and we also have one or two food options every day, a chicken salad, green salad, dips every week - you can really make a whole meal," she said.
Her husband, Dan Gregg, founded Grelen Nursery in 1990 on the corner of a dairy farm in his family for three generations. Today, the nursery primarily exists as a landscape supplier.
"We added the market because we never had a walk-in place," said Mrs. Gregg.
Visitors have certainly found the place, and are going out of their way to do so.
"We are getting people from all over the state, and D.C. is becoming a big theater for us, as is Richmond," Gregg said. "It's a beautiful open space to enjoy and there is something for every age. The young people love it because they can run around in the open fields. We do have lots of holiday gifts and of course, the food - usually just picked before it's turned into something fabulous."
The cafe features myriad local products including meats from Croftburn Market in Culpeper. Honey produced on site is also available along with gift packs and Virginia-grown Christmas trees.
"There's a real focus on local products," Gregg said. "We have really focused on getting as much plant material from Virginia suppliers, too, to support other Virginia farms."