“Travels with Darley” ventured to Culpeper for season six of the PBS show that coordinates with locals to experience the sights, sounds, history and food of Europe, the Caribbean, Asia and the United States.
Featuring downtown strolls, a moonshine encounter, cheers at a winery, trekking on a Civil War battlefield, biking rural roads and sightseeing in the Blue Ridge Mountains as well as several familiar faces, the Culpeper episode airs Friday at 7:30 p.m. on Virginia’s various PBS stations.
“We’re basing ourselves in the small town of Culpeper, Virginia to explore history, culture and adventure in Shenandoah National Park, Brandy Station battlefield, local wineries and beyond,” says Emmy Award-winning host Darley Newman in an online sneak peek of the local episode, as she walks along East Davis Street.
“We’ll get active, cycling country roads and paddling quiet lakes. Head to the movies at the Library of Congress Packard Campus, meet real-life moonshiners, and enjoy the best of local cuisine and culture.”
Mike Mashon, head of the Moving Image Section on the Packard Campus, is featured along with Chuck Miller, the real-life moonshiner from Belmont Farms Distillery, as well as downtown restaurateur John Yarnall, who runs the It’s About Thyme hospitality enterprise downtown.
“We have 1.4 million individual reels of film and video tapes, and 3.5 million sound recordings,” says Mashon in the video clip, to which the host responds, “That’s a lot of media to binge watch.”
In the event of a zombie apocalypse, Newman added, Packard—formerly a huge, underground bunker for the Federal Reserve—is where she’d want to be hunkered down.
Yarnall, walking with Darley on Davis Street, comments, “There are so many things that have been restored. It’s a wonderful little town for architecture.”
And atop an outlook in Shenandoah National Park, close to Culpeper, the travel-show host remarks, “I love just looking out and seeing all this undeveloped, preserved land.”
Interviewed during production by the American Battlefield Trust, based in Washington, D.C., Newman commented on how visiting a battlefield is different than anywhere else.
“Traveling to destinations where history took place and being there firsthand gives you a deeper connection to the past,” she said.
At the antebellum Graffiti House in the village of Brandy Station, she got a special tour inside the former dwelling and a close-up look at the signatures, witticisms and artwork that Civil War soldiers from both armies left behind on the walls during lulls in the fighting here.
Newman and her crew spent a week in Culpeper last May filming the episode in partnership with the Town of Culpeper Tourism and Economic Development office.
“We are excited for Friday, when the world gets to see what Culpeper and our surrounding region has to offer. The show is an excellent reflection of our community, our hospitality, and quality of life,” said Paige Read, the town's director of tourism and economic development.
In 2017, the Culpeper Tourism Department received a $50,000 state grant to bring the PBS show here, and the town matched it for a total of $100,000 to help produce the episode. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the state funding as part of $967,000 in matching grants awarded statewide for tourism programs. He called the grant awards a strategic investment in tourism, Virginia’s fifth-largest industry.
See https://vimeo.com/302734844 for a sneak peek of the Culpeper episode. Other episodes of the new season of “Travels with Darley” were filmed in the Brittany region of France, California’s Central Coast, North Dakota’s Badlands, Alabama and Arkansas.