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Monday, February 22, 2016

A WEEKEND IN FREDERICKSBURG, VA


In case you don't know: Fredericksburg, VA is 49 miles south of Washington, DC and 58 miles north of Richmond, VA and is graced by the Rappahannock River. This beautiful city is steeped in colonial and Civil War history.  Its location put it halfway between the Union and Confederacy capitals during that "most recent unpleasantness".  George Washington would have slept there, of course, but he really did!  because his mother, Mary, lived there. Other residents included Civil War Generals and future president James Monroe. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom in Fredericksburg, something of which he was most proud.

Fredericksburg is a beautiful city full of lots to explore.  I traveled there on a cold and rainy Friday night in January so that I could get a fresh start for exploring on Saturday.  I had worked all day and was tired from the 3 hour drive.  I was hungry and needed a relaxing place to sit. The Tavern, a local favorite, was very close to the hotel and was perfect for what I needed.  I can usually tell you what I had to eat, but have now forgotten.  I can tell you it was quite good.  The service was great and our server had some great life stories, which I coaxed out of her.  I had planned to go back the next afternoon to interview her more, but I did not make it back in time.

Looking out of the hotel window Saturday morning assured me it was going to be a dreary day, but I did not mind.  You simply adjust.
How much can you learn in a day in Fredericksburg, VA?  A lot. I always take a trolley car tour when I first arrive for a great overview.  After purchasing a ticket,  a stroll through the streets of the historic district, which contains more than 350 buildings built in the 18th and 19th centuries, and staying in the downtown area was a perfect way to start the day.  Even the rain could not dull my enthusiasm as I passed by so many store fronts of interest.  Reminds me of Old Town Alexandria.


The 75 minute Trolley tour did not disappoint.  Really, a perfect way to get a feel of the city...especially in the rain.


Afterward, I toured Mary Washington House.  Very interesting.

How long can you pose in George Washington's bedroom at his mother's house before you are chastised.  Not very long!

Tavern talk at the Rising Sun Tavern.
Rising Sun Tavern
The building was constructed by George Washington's brother, Charles, around 1760 and became a tavern in 1792. This is a fun tour.  I learned so much!  Did you know back in the day if you stayed at a tavern you could expect to sleep alongside 4 strangers?  If your husband wanted to sleep with you, he would pay for 5 people. Bath water was typically changed after the 3rd or 4th bather; children always bathed last. Thus, "don't throw the baby out with the water".  If you wanted to chew tobacco, there would be a log of tobacco that would be passed around. You would be told "don't bite off more than you can chew". 

At the end of a fox hunt, you would be served beer while still on your horse. Only it came in one large vessell with a fish design pressed into the  bottom and two handles so that it could easily be passed from one rider to the next. Thus, the "two fisted drinker". The person to take the last drink would call out "this fish can't swim", the vessel would be filled and that person got the first drink and had to pay for the round.

I am always in search of fresh crabmeat when on the coast. We went to a restaurant that was recommended.  Several locals were at the bar , but the kitchen was closed for renovations. We were also told they do not serve crabmeat anymore. Bummer. They recommended the Happy Clam, another local favorite.   It was a bit of a walk to this hole in the wall, but worth the walk.  I had a great crab cake with baked sweet potato casserole and a nice coleslaw.  And I love the painting on the bathroom wall.



















The Sunday drive back was much more pleasant. I prefer driving in the daylight and no rain.  











A stop was made at Lake Anna to enjoy the sun at a marina on Lake Anna.














A Redo? Absolutely. Fredericksburg has much to offer.  I have always wanted to go during the Christmas holidays and maybe I will do that in 2016.  Spring should also be on the list.

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