Sunday, March 17, 2013

Progress....Oh, Wait

March 16 - We took a trip back down to the old homestead to see if anything further was happening.  Well, that was not really our intention for the trip.  We were more concerned with another event that was happening that we had planned for months.  The Fredericksburg St. Patrick's Day Parade was our number one priority.  Visiting the site would be the icing on a wonderful cake, or so we assumed.

We woke up in the morning and readied our children.  The weather called for rain and thunderstorms, but we were determined that Mother Nature would not be making decisions for us.  So, we got on the road bright and early in hopes of getting a good spot for the glorious Fredericksburg St. Patrick's Day parade.  We were all very excited and we really built the parade up in our kids' minds because we knew it might be cold and damp, but it could really be worth it.

Perhaps it wouldn't be as awesome as the rain felt for Andy Dufresne.
Let's give you some reasons for why the St. Patrick's Day Parade was going to be so exciting.  First, Fredericksburg has a large Irish community.  There are Irish pubs, restaurants, churches, and many Celtic symbols all over the city.  There is even one of our favorite stores called Irish Eyes in historic downtown where you can buy authentic Irish merchandise and clothing.

Irish Eyes - a very cool shop for all of your Irish needs and desires
Second, Fredericksburg has some great town celebrations including Oktoberfest, Christmas Parades, Scottish Block Party, Market Square Fair, and the Fork It Over Festival to name a few.  They really go all out for some of these.  They close down the historic downtown streets for some of these festivals giving you the opportunity to eat, drink, and be merry while going in and out of all of the shops.  So, it stands to reason that the St. Patrick's Day Parade should be a "not-to-miss" activity for newcomers to the area.  This was a way to get local quickly!

So, we show up in historic downtown to find the streets are virtually empty.  There are no people waiting patiently on the sidewalks.  There are no streets blocked off for the parade.  It appeared that we may have gotten the date wrong!  Luckily, Angela went into the tourist center to get more information.  She was then informed that the parade was not taking place downtown.  This was strange because this seemed like the ideal spot for a parade.  It was being held on Main Street.  We know what you are thinking; Main Street should be downtown, right?  Nope.

We ventured away from the quaint downtown area to find Main Street.  It was not located in a central location like the name would imply.   It was in an industrial area surrounded by train tracks, factories, and distilleries.  "Main Street" was the main thoroughfare for this industrial complex not the city.  We drove very slowly through the area debating whether we should turn back or not.  We chose to keep going because we were told that children's activities were beginning at 11.  At the very least, our children could get some fun in with that.

This is Main Street - to your right, train tracks, left and forward - industrial buildings.  Be sure to visit the gift shop!
Alas, there were very few children in the children's area which was actually better.  The children's activities included a bean bag toss and small putt putt golf green.  Well, shiver me timbers!

We stood around very awkwardly and then decided to go and wait for the parade. We did get a chance to visit the Railway Workers Museum and this was the highlight of our trip.  We had a chance to walk on some old train cars and take a real look around in some cabooses and other cars.  There were some really nice volunteers there that talked to us about all of the inner workings of the train cars.  The kids had a ton of fun and it was really interesting.  If you are in the area and you have some time we recommend stopping by and checking it out.  They have a small train that takes you up and down the tracks that runs on Saturday for some extra fun.  Here are some pictures from the day:

After looking at the train cars the time for the parade had finally arrived.  We waited with such excitement because we knew that our four year old son could barely contain himself.  Then, we see the first sign of the parade with a man on a horse followed by a bagpipe band donning traditional Celtic dress.  A few fire trucks and ambulances followed along with some dancers and a motorcycle club.  A vintage Delorean carried the 2008 Miss Virginia International, Joy Pfister.  There was only one float which represented one of the breweries along the parade route.  Then, the parade was over.  Well, perhaps we are overselling it.  The parade only took 10 minutes.  That is not an exaggeration.  10 minutes.  We give the people who participated praise because they did put their hearts into it.  We also were grateful for all of the people who showed up because they seemed to really enjoy themselves.  However, we were taken aback by the small nature of the event given the perceived large Irish community in the area.  Bummer!

2008 Mrs. Virginia International and the Delorean were the highlight of the parade
We tried to get some grub at the event, but the food area was really small and there were just enough people to make it uncomfortable.  So, we left and headed back to downtown.  We were able to get our Irish lunch at J. Brian's Irish Pub and Restaurant  which had some excellent corned beef and cabbage.

After lunch, we stopped by Colonial Cupcakes for an after lunch dessert.  The kids had some really good sugar cookies and Bryan had two cupcakes: S'mores and Pancake and Bacon.  Weird, huh?  It was really good though!

Before heading back to the townhome, we stopped by the lot just to see if anything was happening.  Well, there was something happening, but we could only guess what it might be.  There was a small excavator that appeared to be digging around the pipes for the fire hydrant.  There was also a new blue wooden sign on the lot.  Both of these things caught our attention because it seemed like Drew was right.  Work was on its way!

Digging around the hydrant.  Notice the peculiar blue sign.

There's our sold sign and the excavator in the background.
March 17 - Then, March 17 came along and we decided to send Drew an e-mail because the start date for building was Monday.  We decided that we were going to make the trip to see the ground breaking and wanted to be sure there was not a rain delay.  That is when we received the news that our permits had yet to arrive from the county.  Our first delay in the building process.  We wondered why the other lots had papers hanging from their blue signs and we did not!

So, we await the word for when the ground breaking will actually begin.  Curse you, county permit people!

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