Emily here! I fall into the middle of the Venn diagram of both UMW alum and townie, and I wanted to put together a list of some tips that may be helpful in Fred Vegas. Keep an eye out for more lists like this, and please use the submit feedback box on the right hand side of this page if you have any insider tips I should cover!
The FRED Bus: This free and convenient service has numerous routes around Fredericksburg. The FRED Bus has always been free to UMW students with their student IDs, but as of early 2022, the transit method has been subsidized and is now free for all riders—perfect for when friends from other schools come to visit. The FRED Bus routes that most often serve our student population are the Fredericksburg Downtown Loop (including three campus stops: near Double Drive, on the corner of Rowe and College Ave and a stop at Eagle Village) and the Fred Central to Spotsy Mall which starts at the bus station—a short walk from campus. The Downtown Loop also includes a stop near the downtown train station—perfect for heading home for the holidays with a heavy bag. All FRED buses are equipped with wheelchair lifts.
Reusable Bags: We will cover some more fun things, but I want to start with a practical need-to-know. If you’re a native of one of the five Virginia localities that implemented the disposable plastic bag tax in January of 2022, this isn’t news. It is thrilling to see us taking steps towards a greener future, but I know I have kicked myself more than once when I get to the check out line and realize I forgot my reusable bags! Come prepared with sturdy, washable bags for your groceries to avoid an extra fee (and do some good for the planet 😊)
First Fridays: FXBG First Friday takes place on the—you guessed it—first Friday of every month. We are a town that celebrates the arts and small businesses and First Fridays are a chance to do so as a community. The First Fridays take place in historic downtown Fredericksburg. The website describes the event as “a collaboration between galleries and art events, retailers, restaurants, and nonprofits in the downtown district that works to showcase the art in all we do.”
If you are of legal age to imbibe, from 5-9PM, First Fridays are sanctioned to allow “Sip and Stroll,” where alcoholic beverages can be purchased from downtown restaurants and be carried around within the event boundaries. The trolley is available, the art galleries are open, restaurants and shops stay open a little later. If you are new to Fredericksburg and want a crash course on all our downtown has to offer, this is a really fun time to scope out your new favorite eateries and downtown culture.
Ghost Tours: Yeah, I said it. Ghosts. Boo! If you are new to Fredericksburg, I will tell you it is only a matter of time before you see people in full 1800s attire walking around, ordering coffee at Hyperion, reenacting historic events– and it will not be the last. (I am pretty positive that these are not ghosts.) FXBG was the site of a major landmark Civil War battle and has a long history as a town with deep colonial roots. Your costumed guides will lead you on candlelit tours on foot and fill you in about the Woman in White and her other undead compatriots… and that’s all I’ll say about that.
GrubHub on Campus: Listen, I get it. You have a lot of access to food at the UC. You have a meal plan. You might even have a mini fridge. But sometimes on a rainy night when homework or laundry is piled up, you have to follow your heart and order in. If you are a UMW student, grad student, employee or even guest on campus you can use the GrubHub app. If you are in close proximity to campus when you log on it will prompt you with a pop up about opting in as a UMW community member. From there, you enter your NetID and password and the world is your oyster. (This blogger does not endorse ordering delivery raw oysters.)
The Fredericksburg Food CoOp: The Fredericksburg Food Co-Op is a community owned grocery store on Emancipation Highway. The focus of the co-op is on locally grown and locally sourced products, providing organic and natural foods as well as non-toxic household products. Not only does the co-op serve as a place to shop, but it also serves as a community space to gather. The co-op hosts a book club, a walking group, an annual 5K to support providing fresh food to our communities—it is truly a cool thing. Folks around town can buy into ownership roles, guaranteeing that the profits return to the people and community being served by the co-op. Anyone is welcome to shop there, but bring your reusable grocery bags, remember?
The co-op is located at 320 Emancipation Hwy, Fredericksburg, VA, 22401.