The General Store. Colvin Run Mill Park, off Route 7, five miles west of Tysons Corner. 759-2771.
Like any general store, the one at Fairfax County's Colvin Run Mill Park is full of surprises. Along with a still-operating 19th-century gristmill, a barn and a stone miller's house, the general store stands as a relic of times past. In the true variety-store tradition, it specializes in a little bit of everything. The main theme, though, is Americana. Not only is the store furnished with original wooden counters and cases, a vintage cash register, a circa-1920 display for Clark's ONT thread, and a potbellied stove, it also boasts a working post office that hand-cancels mail with its own stamp. The general store's reputation as a headquarters for miscellany is well-founded. Here, the shelves, counters and bins are crowded with the inspiration and handiwork of American craftspeople -- baskets, craft books, wooden kitchen tools, fir-stuffed calico cats, brooms, posters, tea towels, quilted pillows, and dolls. In a prominent spot stands the mainstay of any authentic general store -- glass jugs brimming with now-inflated "penny" candy, including licorice twists, jawbreakers and fruit slices. The gristmill supplies the store with sacks of stone-ground grits, corn meal, buckwheat and whole wheat flour.