Southern Towns – Fredericksburg, VA

Post date: Jun 5, 2012 2:37:55 AM

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.

Missing?

· 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.