On February 17, 2012 and 11:00 am, I had the opportunity to visit Downtown Fredericksburg for the first time. The weather was unexpectedly beautiful; it was sunny and warm enough to take off my sweatshirt. I drove to Downtown in my little Nissan Versa and as small as my car is, I was still nervous about finding a parking spot as I do not know how to parallel park. When I arrived with my friend, Alexandra, I noticed many cars lined up the sidewalk but I lucked out and found a space that I could roll right into.
First and foremost, I noticed that Downtown had character and it felt familiar with its historical aspect. With the exception of the many cars, it felt like stepping into a bubble of the past and I had an instant connection with Downtown.
I noticed that the people roaming the streets were quite diverse in age, though most were white; I was surprised at the amount of people who looked homeless. They didn’t seem to be bothering anyone and no one seemed to notice them in return, almost as if they were part of the architecture.
Unfortunately, I had to get back to a class at noon so I didn’t have much time to explore many of the stores. One store I did not have the opportunity to go into was the toy store. The moving displays and the bright colors of the toy store even drew in my friend and me (both of us over 20 years old). If I had had my little sister who is 11, we would have had a good excuse to spend the entire hour in there, but we resisted the toy store in order to observe the rest of downtown in time. I did go into a few of the many antique stores which were run by elderly men and women. I appreciated the fact that there were many antique stores as I am a fan and love looking through all the old artifacts. There was one antique store in particular that had many old postcards which reminded me of last weeks reading in Downtown America. I also went into an adorable pet boutique; this store had many interesting things for dog owners such as dog clothes of many sizes as well as leashes and snacks. What I loved the most about this cute little store was the bakery counter full of dog treats that looked like delicious pastries. I window shopped at few of the jewelry stores which had beautiful and irresistible displays of sparkling diamonds and though I am not a huge fan of diamonds, I couldn’t help stopping to look.
The retail goods, I imagine, are shipped in many different ways. I saw some smaller retail trucks were driving around. I imagine than many of the employees would drive to work, unless they live in downtown, in which case they would walk or ride a bike. As far as public transportation, I assume that buses go to and from the downtown area, though I did not observe any myself while I was there. My friend and I, both from smaller towns, had a hard time figuring out the ‘Walk/Don’t Walk’ lights. We didn’t know what it meant when it flashed ‘Don’t Walk’ so we remained on the curb as people with children quickly crossed the street. We felt especially ridiculous when a retail truck slowed to let us cross and we were visibly unsure about whether to cross or not. Needless to say the truck finally passed while laughing at us.
Other than the difficulty of crossing the streets, I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Downtown Fredericksburg and hope to go again soon. I would love to go into a few more of the Antique stores as well as the Toy Store. One thing in particular that stood out was a beautiful mural. I admired it from afar, however, as I couldn’t tell if the man sitting on the ground in front of it was the artist or a hobo.