Monday, June 4, 2012

Southern Towns – Fredericksburg, VA

I recently had occasion to spend some time wandering around some southern towns I was unfamiliar with, and saw some positive – and some not so positive – signs of smart growth.
Fredericksburg, VA, is a welcome oasis in the horrendous I-95 corridor between Washington and Richmond.  It’s a charming town with an historic district reflecting both Revolutionary and Civil War events, although still a little rundown and gritty in spots.
Some of the positives:
·      Excellent street grid and good architecture.
·      Lots of antique shops – bins and bins of Civil War prints!
·      Boutiques, craft beer, locally owned bookstore, Victorian B&Bs, etc.
·      College town (Mary Washington)
·      Good north and south train service (Amtrak, last VRE station on the line to Washington) from a restored train station.
·      The city is right on the Rappahannock River but doesn’t seem to have made the connection.
·      Not much downtown housing.  A few streets of townhouses around the train station and riverfront could make a big difference.
The town has real charm and offers real promise for the future.

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