Fredericksburg Virginia – more than just another stop for antiques along I-95.
Please turn your history books to the American Civil War. Now, flip back a few more pages through time. Fredericksburg Virginia, circa 1781 has seen its fair share (and then some) of our nation’s history. Located slightly over half-way between Richmond and Washington DC, Fredericksburg first came to be recorded as an important trading port along the Rappahannock River in 1671. Slightly over a century before the United States became the United States. Back then, it was considered a major shipping port for our British ancestors who understood supply and demand far better than their European cousins and trading partners. Virginia’s chief commodity at that time was tobacco, often used in lieu of hard currency due to its intrinsic value. Forty-five years later, it became the starting point for a hike to the west – as in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fredericksburg has among other accomplishments among many on its list of Who’s Who among Early American leaders, Thomas Jefferson, who wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Of course, George Washington slept here too – among the many places up and down the Colonies during his forays into the field, as it were. There must have been something special about Fredericksburg in the Washington household, as it holds one of the records for being the most visited places for George. Go figure.
A recent casual Saturday visit to Fredericksburg’s historical “old town” section on a fairly quiet and coolish January afternoon showed one common theme among all of the varied shop owners – a high interest in our fury canine friend’s quality of life. Yes Skippy, our best friend on four legs isn’t left out on family jaunts up and down Fredericksburg’s eclectic line-up of shops, eateries and the like. I counted no less than 20 dogs up and down Caroline Street. All were quite accustomed to the casual ‘hi – nice dog’ comments along with the constant petting, and other forms of spoiling – as all dogs and cats should be 24/7. One bulldog in particular was quite amusing in how he ensured his owner got maximum quality time in the on-going process of learning to heel. As in the two-legged side of this partnership would have to patiently wait while said bulldog in question – and a sizeable one at that – showed his preference for various sunning spots along the brick sidewalk – approximately every other foot or so.
Among the many antique shops found along Caroline Street, a shop of a different type altogether stood out. Irish Eyes of Virginia – a collection of quite a few things Irish found at 725 Caroline Street (540) 373-0703
is not your typical “Blarney Stone and more…” type shop. It has an interesting variety of the more popular items – Guinness easily stands out for the younger set, while having access to fine Irish China and other uniquely Irish gems appeals to a wide variety of browsers and those who have an affinity for things Irish. It’s been around for 20 years – well worth a stop, even if your name isn’t O’Malley or Shaughnessy.
Getting to Fredericksburg is quite easy off of I-95. Additionally, Amtrak does stop here with several daily trains each way. Virginia Railway Express (VRE) runs through town during the week. For more information concerning Fredericksburg, please spend some time with Google – you’ll be impressed by the variety of websites that provide information about Fredericksburg and the numerous opportunities in more than a wee bit o’ interests.
© John Cadell Photography
© John Cadell Photography