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Old 09-24-2009, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
26,217 posts, read 45,870,912 times
Reputation: 11049
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tone509 View Post
Long-time locals can chime in to correct me... but I have the sense that back in the day, much of Northern Virginia was rather rural outside of Arlington and Alexandria. Towns that contained walkable Main Streets may have been few and far between. Once the job explosion hit, real estate developers' main priority may have been just to fill in all of that open space with houses and offices. Fredericksburg - which some might argue was "absorbed" into NOVA by circumstance - is a city in its own right with a lot of history attached to it.

It's unfortunate that more jobs have not sprouted up further south in Prince William/Stafford/Spotsylvania Counties so that daily commutes wouldn't be so bad. Then again, I do understand the desire some business owners have a "$exy" Tysons Corner address... and it's likely that home prices would have risen rapidly "down south" just like most everywhere else in NOVA.
This is an excellent point and one I was making last month or so in regards to another debate about how Leesburg was once a quiet country hamlet and has now (whether it likes it or not) been fully absorbed as a satellite city of DC. At what point do we stop the sprawl and leave these small towns undisturbed and untouched by the "hungry, hungry hippo" we call Metro DC? Granted I'm one of many apparently that yearns to live in a place like Fredericksburg to get a slice of nostalgia that is unparalleled in NoVA, but if we all start flocking to places like that then real estate prices will soar and new businesses will follow, leading to more commercialization and suburbanization. The day when places like Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Warrenton, Hamilton, Purcellville, etc. sell their souls to developers and eschew their innocence and charm (a la Tyson's Hellhole) will be the day I decide there's just no hope here and move to a different part of VA (hence why I'm also planning soon to scope out Richmond and Roanoke to see if they're more to my liking than Reston).
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Old 09-24-2009, 08:32 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
7,721 posts, read 11,599,933 times
Reputation: 2205
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
This is an excellent point and one I was making last month or so in regards to another debate about how Leesburg was once a quiet country hamlet and has now (whether it likes it or not) been fully absorbed as a satellite city of DC. At what point do we stop the sprawl and leave these small towns undisturbed and untouched by the "hungry, hungry hippo" we call Metro DC? Granted I'm one of many apparently that yearns to live in a place like Fredericksburg to get a slice of nostalgia that is unparalleled in NoVA, but if we all start flocking to places like that then real estate prices will soar and new businesses will follow, leading to more commercialization and suburbanization. The day when places like Fredericksburg, Culpeper, Warrenton, Hamilton, Purcellville, etc. sell their souls to developers and eschew their innocence and charm (a la Tyson's Hellhole) will be the day I decide there's just no hope here and move to a different part of VA (hence why I'm also planning soon to scope out Richmond and Roanoke to see if they're more to my liking than Reston).
We stop the sprawl when 1) the Federal Government spreads the concentration of jobs here more evenly around the country, or perhaps 2) we turn into Hong Kong or Lower Manhattan and embrace the idea of living in a chasm of skyscrapers.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:18 AM
 
Location: DC
3,212 posts, read 7,532,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
I was hoping to stop back in Fredericksburg on the way back to try out one of the ice cream parlors on the main drag and to check out the town's college campus (I missed it). Judging by all of the pretty people I saw running amok the other day I think I might like Fredericksburg for other reasons than just its affordable real estate and great "Americana" atmosphere.
Check out Lee's or Carl's (though Carl's is over closer to rt. 1). Goolrick's is pretty cute, too. As for the college, go after the leaves start turning in fall or when the trees flower in spring (April-ish). That was always my favorite time to give tours.

By the way, UMW's grad school supposedly has a decent master's program that focuses in contracting, if you'd be interested. There are some companies down there, but it seems like a lot have moved further north (including the one where I used to work). If you did live down there another option are the slug-lines. If you were working in Rosslyn that would be an easier way for you to get there than the VRE. I rode the VRE for my internship across the street from the WHS/DCAA office and it was ok, but everyone raved about slugging.
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Old 09-25-2009, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
737 posts, read 2,725,039 times
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ScranBarre, here's a few places in downtown Fredericksburg which have gift cards on Restaurant.com

Caroline Street Cafe-Catering - Eat. Drink. Save Money.
Colonial Tavern - Eat. Drink. Save Money.
Bistro Bethem - Eat. Drink. Save Money.
Eileen's Bakery & Cafe - Eat. Drink. Save Money.

The last one is north of downtown, around the corner from Carl's, but the rest are actually IN downtown Fredericksburg.

The most recent coupon code (TREAT) takes an additional 70% off of the gift cards.

Some of their minimum purchases are a little high ($20-25), but the best bet (and good food for lunch) would be the first one I linked, Caroline Street Cafe, where you can get a $10 gift card for $1.20 after coupon code and a minimum order of $15. (So $6.20 total for a $15 lunch)
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Old 09-25-2009, 12:34 PM
 
Location: DC
3,212 posts, read 7,532,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricD View Post
Some of their minimum purchases are a little high ($20-25), but the best bet (and good food for lunch) would be the first one I linked, Caroline Street Cafe, where you can get a $10 gift card for $1.20 after coupon code and a minimum order of $15. (So $6.20 total for a $15 lunch)
Mmm....Caroline Street Cafe...my parents and I used to go there all the time, it was pretty good (at least, 2 years ago it was).

The best restaurant there sadly left several years ago, but the Irish pub that replaced it isn't bad (Blarney Stone). We didn't even realize that Merriman's was the "gay" place until the time we went and all the waiters were in drag. Castiglia's and Basil's are also both pretty good, and supposedly Kybecca opened a cafe that got good reviews in the Post.
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Old 09-25-2009, 02:03 PM
 
Location: South South Jersey
1,652 posts, read 2,167,519 times
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I've brought this up so many times before, but does anyone know why the retail profile of Fairfax Co. doesn't bear a greater resemblance to, say, Fredericksburg's? For instance, why aren't there more bistro-/cafe-type places in Fairfax Co.? You know, places where you can get a quick, gourmet-ish salad and sandwich and possibly even a loaf of fresh bread, cookies, etc.? Heck, as much as I hate strip malls, I don't even care if the bistro-cafe-bakeries are in strip malls, as long as there are sidewalks leading to the strip malls they're in. For the enormous population of NoVA, there's so little that reminds me of upper-middle class suburbs where I've lived elsewhere in the country... My parents are convinced there's some local-governmental situation which discourages entrepreneurial retail, and they may be right. I know you guys are able to point out, for instance, one teeny, tiny natural foods co-op, or one bakery, in an area spanning about ten Fairfax Co. census-designated places, but there should be oodles of them, given the population (absolute as well as density) and income levels here. (And I don't think the economy has that much to do with it, either - I have no reason to believe there was a Fairfax Co. of yore with dozens of indie shops and cute cafes. But that's not to say I couldn't have dealt with a Fairfax Co. of yore without those amenities but with about 1/4 the people. )
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Expatriate Philadelphian in Northern Virginia
7,721 posts, read 11,599,933 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alicia Bradley View Post
I've brought this up so many times before, but does anyone know why the retail profile of Fairfax Co. doesn't bear a greater resemblance to, say, Fredericksburg's? For instance, why aren't there more bistro-/cafe-type places in Fairfax Co.? You know, places where you can get a quick, gourmet-ish salad and sandwich and possibly even a loaf of fresh bread, cookies, etc.? Heck, as much as I hate strip malls, I don't even care if the bistro-cafe-bakeries are in strip malls, as long as there are sidewalks leading to the strip malls they're in. For the enormous population of NoVA, there's so little that reminds me of upper-middle class suburbs where I've lived elsewhere in the country... My parents are convinced there's some local-governmental situation which discourages entrepreneurial retail, and they may be right. I know you guys are able to point out, for instance, one teeny, tiny natural foods co-op, or one bakery, in an area spanning about ten Fairfax Co. census-designated places, but there should be oodles of them, given the population (absolute as well as density) and income levels here. (And I don't think the economy has that much to do with it, either - I have no reason to believe there was a Fairfax Co. of yore with dozens of indie shops and cute cafes. But that's not to say I couldn't have dealt with a Fairfax Co. of yore without those amenities but with about 1/4 the people. )
I haven't been around nearly long enough to answer your main question. It does seem like the most consistent option is either Panera Bread or the prepared foods section of the supermarket. At least from my own experience both Alexandria's Old Town and Del Ray have the type of shops you're looking for... but yes, that's not Fairfax County.

As I said earlier, my theory is that the 'burbs here that weren't already established cities just developed differently.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:22 AM
 
722 posts, read 786,304 times
Reputation: 601
Wow, nice pics of Fredericksburg, Scran. I love how you captured the downtown area. It's definitely cheaper than other parts of NoVa and maybe worth considering long term if you want to buy in the area. It's just so far out and feels somewhat disconnected from the rest of NoVa and DC, although you also aren't that far from Richmond. While the area is nice, it's not perfect. I don't know if you had a chance to check out Central Park area off of Rt. 3? Talk about sprawl on steroids, lol.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:42 AM
 
Location: DC
3,212 posts, read 7,532,349 times
Reputation: 1126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alicia Bradley View Post
I've brought this up so many times before, but does anyone know why the retail profile of Fairfax Co. doesn't bear a greater resemblance to, say, Fredericksburg's? For instance, why aren't there more bistro-/cafe-type places in Fairfax Co.? You know, places where you can get a quick, gourmet-ish salad and sandwich and possibly even a loaf of fresh bread, cookies, etc.?
Downtown Fredericksburg is a historic area, so not only does it take a lot of hoop-jumping to open a place down there, but they are very much against having big chains in downtown. I don't think any are allowed, actually, which let smaller businesses in. The hotel they just built was a big to-do when I was in college. The chains are mostly all segregated out to Central Park, which is about 3 times the size it was 6 years ago (and even then I thought it was huge).

As it is the Historic Preservation department at Mary Wash is all mad that the president of the school won't give his (now "her") house to the National Park Service. It was also a huge issue when they built the tennis center, since it butts right up against the battlefield.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Macao
12,676 posts, read 18,861,966 times
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Nice photos of Fredericksburg!
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