Why We Chose to Forgo Fredericksburg VA
Fredericksburg has an undeniably small town charm and an all around appeal that is hard to beat, in the context of its proximity to the larger DC Metro area. The downtown proper of this historic community has an easy going and decidedly un-stuffy personality. Unlike Old Town, Alexandria (which has it’s own signature style) Fredericksburg has not yet been entirely overrun by trendy boutiques and pricey restaurants- while there are a variety of establishments to choose from, the cafes and whimsical shops are still present.
Unfortunately, traffic surrounding the DC area is now amongst the worst in the country. Outlying areas are sprawling, and gone are the days of a quick and easy commute to the our nations capitol. True, there is a commuter train, but by the time catching a metro at the other end is figured in- well, it’s probably going to be at least 3 hours out of your day. Minimum.
There are not a lot of employment opportunities in Fredericksburg proper, but if you either work remotely or only have to take the train in once a week or so, it could be a great option. Because it’s not a port city (like Annapolis or Old Town Alexandria) prices are considerably less for ‘in town’ historic homes.
We (couple in our 30’s and 40’s) have both travelled nationally and internationally, with one of us working remotely out of NYC. Fredericksburg was on our short list, but we ended up choosing Wilmington, NC- and have since discovered several other prior Fredericksburgians who made the same choice.
By contrast, houses in Wilmington were just as historic (almost 300 square blocks of historic homes make up the downtown), significantly cheaper, often larger lots and gardens, lots of dog parks an people parks, as a port city we have a beautiful boardwalk, great eats, a 20 minute drive to the beaches, reefs and kayaking nearby... and with a significant film industry, there’s an abundant creative and diverse community. Open air summer concerts, better weather... and an airport that is never impossible to get to, with flights straight to the city.
Bottom line: If you need to be in the DC metro area for work and commute in once a week or so, Fredericksburg will be tough to beat. But if you genuinely work remotely, Wimington offers more culture, a fun and funky downtown, and far more impressive homes for the dollar. It’s still a relatively unknown town and prices likely won’t stay low forever- luxury condos are already going up, along the riverfront.
Samira | Wilmington, NC