We spent the next two nights in Fredericksburg. After how hot and intense our day in D.C. was, Chris woke up way too warm in the night despite a fully functioning air conditioning unit and had trouble getting much more sleep. I think it was the heat exposure, so because so far motels had been much, much, much cheaper in the South (on average it was about 90-100 a night in New England vs. 53 dollars a night here in Virginia), we decided to stay a second night and just take a day to veg out in the air conditioning. So far everyone we’ve met in Virginia has been very nice and after several weeks in the North East, things have felt wonderfully inexpensive. Virginia also makes a really excellent cider we just discovered:
After resting for a day, we finally had a look at it beyond the commercial district we’d been staying in. Fredericksberg has a lot of history related to both the start of the country and to the civil war. Given our mission is not tourism, we didn’t learn much of this history, but we did pop into a church (that was actually open even though it was a weekday! This is much rarer with American churches than it is with British ones). A very lovely local there told us both about the history of the church and the community. It was one that both George Washington and James Monroe had attended and had some stained glass devoted to Washington’s mother. Apparently Fredericksberg is where the Washingtons had lived when he was a child.
The church had a few Tiffany windows, who were apparently one of the first major makers of American stained glass. It’s very lovely. We have seen it in a few other towns as well, including Annapolis, MD and Topeka, KS.
There were a few other references to the founding fathers in the city, a mini Washington monument type thing dedicated again to Washington’s mother:
In addition to being where Washington grew up, Fredericksberg is where Jefferson wrote the Statute of Religious Freedom. It’s mainly commemorated with this:
We also saw this:
Next we set off toward the state capital and largest city in Virginia, Richmond. There was yet another open church, which gave us another chance to chat to a few people. We learned that the downtown of Richmond had actually moved 14 miles away to a suburb that was thriving in a much bigger way than the traditional city center, so after looking around the church and the capitol building, we carried on to Short Pump, the ‘new’ downtown of Richmond:
Short Pump was indeed a very nice area:
It was very modern, clearly recently developed. We spoke to someone from the area who said he loved living there and there was virtually no crime in the immediate area.
Check out the video:
After Richmond, we checked out Petersburg, but it was hard to speak to anyone:
We ended the day by driving to the edge of the state. We spent the night in a very small town called Bracey. We had been planning on stopping in South Hill, which had many more options for accommodation, but due to road construction and missing a single turn, it would have been a 17 mile detour to go back. The hotel was pretty awful honestly. It was absolutely filthy and the a/c had been left off, so it took 4 hours to get the room to a reasonable indoor temperature. The fridge had also been off, so Chris had to clean it to make it usable as in that extreme heat, things had started growing in it. Bleh.