Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Walk in Fredericksburg

The Toll House on Sophia Street

Circuit Court House on Princess Anne Street.

After a stressful week at work, I decided to devote today to relaxing activities. I went for a walk in Fredericksburg, which I always enjoy. In spite of the horrors of war which took place on the streets of this charming little town during the American Civil War, there is a sense of peace here which I would not expect, given the sense of unease I have always experienced in Manassas, another area which also experienced two horrendous Civil War battles.

The second photo above shows the Circuit Court building on Princess Anne Street. It was built in the 1850s and was designed by the same architect who designed the Smithsonian Castle in Washington, DC, and St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York.

I went into Riverby Books on Caroline Street where I bought Barren Ground by Ellen Glasgow and another copy of In This Our Life by the same author. I then took a picnic to the City Dock at the end of Sophia Street where I ate, started reading In This Our Life, and reveled in the peace of the Rappahannock River. George Washington's boyhood home, Ferry Farm, is across the river not far from City Dock; and there is a house across Sophia Street from the dock which was the toll keepers house in centuries past.
Re-reading the beginning of In This Our Life reminded me of how important trees seem to have been to Virginians of the 19th century. There is a wonderful movie version of this novel starring Bette Davis and Olivia de Havilland. It is shown on Turner Classic Movies from time to time, and it is well worth watching.

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