Recently-established business venture Tour Warrenton will kick off a series of Historic Warrenton Food Tours on Saturday, Oct. 24, to highlight the history, architecture and cuisine that characterizes the county seat.
Warren County native and Cary resident Eva Welsh developed the idea for the tours in May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She saw her home community with a new perspective while she spent several months at her family farm in Embro in the spring and summer.
“I got rooted again,” Welsh said.
She wanted to do something to give back to the county she loved and to share its history. Welsh also considered how the pandemic has affected people’s travel plans. Those who might normally think about traveling to another part of the country or the world may be a little hesitant during this time of COVID-19.
Welsh also took into consideration that local residents and those from surrounding communities may have been to downtown Warrenton many times, but may not have had the opportunity to meet the chefs at local restaurants or talk with business proprietors.
“Even though you are local, you could look at the (community) through new eyes,” she said.
As the months went on, Welsh believed that people were ready to go exploring again, but would still feel more comfortable in small groups. She established Tour Warrenton in September, and plans for Historic Warrenton Food Tour events began to take shape.
Welsh thought of how she could share Warren County’s history and value with not only local residents, but also with people from as far away as Wake County and Virginia. She thought that the area’s architecture and cuisine would be of interest to locals and visitors alike.
After much planning, Welsh began the Historic Warrenton Food Tour experience with an exclusive tour for a group of 10 people on Saturday, Oct. 17. Participants hailed from Warrenton, the Arcola area, Lake Gaston and Wake County.
The group visited restaurants and eateries Hardware Café, On Main Southern Eatery & Venue, and Robinson Ferry, as well as Friends Two, which offers everything from yarns to fountain drinks. Participants had the opportunity to meet business owners and chefs, and to taste a sampling of local cuisine.
Because the tour was three hours, they had plenty of time to learn about the process of restoring local businesses, to see art pieces and to discover a world of history as they explored downtown Warrenton. They also developed friendships, and that’s exactly what Welsh had in mind.
“When you sign up for a tour as a guest, you become part of a smaller group and share experiences,” she said.
Welsh now opens Historic Warrenton Food Tour events to the general public beginning with a downtown tour on Saturday, Oct. 24. Participants will meet at Hardware Café at 106 S. Main St., Warrenton at 10:15 a.m. and begin the tour at 10:30 a.m. They will visit the same places that were featured last Saturday and will receive tour plates from the participating restaurants.
Tour Warrenton will also offer a two-hour walking tour Saturday afternoon at Brown Family Farm at 6819 Vicksboro Rd., Henderson, in the Afton-Elberon community. Participants will meet at the farm at 2:45 p.m., and the tour will begin at 3 p.m. Farm owner Patrick Brown will showcase the agricultural science of Non-GMO vegetable and hemp farming. A tasting table will be available.
The deadline to register for one or both of Saturday’s tours is Thursday, Oct. 22. Tickets for each tour are $35 per person.
Welsh plans to offer Historic Warrenton Food Tours twice a month. To register, contact Tour Warrenton on Instagram @tourwarrenton or Facebook through the Historic Warrenton Food Tour page.