Occoquan, Step Back in Time

Occaquan BirdhouseOccoquan, Virginia, is a step back in time. A little village of over 900 folk with one aim in mind—the visitor will be at home, find a steal-of-a-deal, and glory in a fine meal.

The town was established in 1804 and incorporated in 1874. Although impacted by major fires in 1916 and 1924, the town has reemerged with vigor.

Feeling At Home

OccoquanOccoquan has an interesting motto: “Often duplicated. Never replicated.”

My friend drove me to Occoquan where we met her daughter-in-law and grandchildren. So right away you know it’s family and visitor-friendly.

There’s the feel of “old” with lampposts, quaint streets, and antiques galore.

The “new” walks the streets in the form of the police chief and head of the fire department. These men make time to befriend the three-year-old with us and smile at the baby in the stroller.

IMG_1918I’m a history buff, so reading the fine print on historic markers makes the visit more valuable to me.

On the other hand, if you glaze over thinking about the historic aspects of Occoquan, never fear. In addition to antiquities, one can enjoy plenty of present-day attractions—the river, Mill House Museum, and Spinaweb (home of specialty weaving).

Occoquan Deals

Celebrating fall, the merchants fill the doorways with seasonal flowers. Porches hold treasures indicative of what lies within 1804each storefront.

My friends bargained for vintage snack plates, books, tea cups, but the conversations began outside.

No haggling. Simple, old-fashioned banter at its best.

Antiques? I’ll share my visit to Peony Lane later this week.

Fine Meals

Occaquan boasts many restaurants, but we settled on The Secret Garden Cafe. Seafood to salads and sandwiches, The Secret Garden excels in service and cuisine.

Occaquan shrimpNothing was too much to ask.

They tailored their menu for a finicky three-year-old but served up an artful presentation for women looking for a culinary treat.

Mouth-watering salmon and shrimp for us!salmon





So if you are in the Virginia area, a side trek to

Occaquan is worth it.

Planning the visit to coincide with an Arts and Crafts Fair or a river event provides extra fun.

Tune in later this week for my tour of Peony Lane!

Until next time, what is your favorite side trip?



  • Beverly K. Wilson
    October 25, 2015

    Lovely!!! Your description makes me want to go! Sounds like a restorative destination to be enjoyed with close friends . . . ahhhhh . . . .

    • Diane Huff Pitts
      October 25, 2015

      You are quite right! The restaurant just “appears” in the middle of the town, sheltered by quaint brick edifices. And the storefront with “papers”— and all things for writing. We visited too late to go to many of the stores . . .

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