Fourth Estate/Alexis McCaffrey

Clifton, Va.


A drove down a quiet road directed by my Waze app, that lead to a little town called Clifton, Va. It was littered with gorgeous homes and even a few farms. It left me pondering my future home as I stared out the window for most of the drive. 

My best friend, Phu, had been talking about this place for quite some time and it seemed like it was a hidden gem and indeed it was. Upon driving into the town I noted it was a very little and quaint place. But it made up for it in its rustic and historic appeal.

I parked in the gravel lot and crossed pair of railroad tracks to enter the realm of Clifton. There were various signs that marked important historic memories. It reminded me of a place back home in Texas called Gruene. Small, full of life, and a unique town that not a lot of people knew about it. 

We glanced at restaurant menus and planned a second trip back for a fun dinner date. Phu guided me to an ice cream parlor named Peterson’s Ice Cream Depot which was hidden in the back of floral covered walkway. We ordered a large cup of sorbet and shared it. It was delicious the lemon and pineapple sorbet held a strong flavor in the mouth similar to a piece of gum.

We walked around the small vicinity of the town and discussed things going on in our lives while also admiring the beauty of the town. We walked near the park across from the old historic church. We watched families and people walking their dogs. It was a nice moment of reflection. 

Life in Clifton felt slower and calmer. Even people who lived in the small town seemed not rushed. It was a different atmosphere and harvested very relaxing energy among the folks there.

It’s best to go to this town in the afternoon and not later in the day because most of the stores will be closed up by then. The town’s antique store, Belle Jar Design, was located right before the train tracks. 

The antique store was an old house and had various antique items all over the porch. Although it was closed the items still remained outside as if they were open. That hinted at a sense of trust with the people who visited and even lived in Clifton. 

I popped my head into what I thought was an actual general store and to my surprise, it was a restaurant, The Main Street Pub. The menu was American style and offered comfort food options but was limited to those with allergies.

Overall, the town of Clifton is worth a trip to explore and grab a bite. Maybe even read up on the history or just reflect on life. Whatever it may be Clifton it is a great hidden gem in Virginia.