This weekend was the big holiday open house for the downtown merchants, and we made the rounds this afternoon. The weather was particularly warm, which was perfect for walking around town, but made all the Christmas decorations seem more premature than usual. We hit up all the best prospects for snacks, and I even did something I rarely do this early—bought a couple of Christmas gifts. For the most part, though, I don’t do any shopping at this annual event. So many of the stores are so overstuffed with gifty items that you can hardly move, and after awhile, everything starts to look the same, blending together into one big indistinguishable mass. Gift store overload, I’d say. I think it takes a more advanced shopper to confront the downtown scene efficiently on Open House Day. I’m more of an online Christmas shopper these days anyway, which is much more sanity-preserving for me. Still, I love the downtown atmosphere: the people-watching, the colonial carolers, the Yamaha kids out in front of the studio playing their recital pieces, and everyone strolling along enjoying the beautiful day.
At top, Pete Mealy and Laurie Rose Griffith perform in front of the Richard Johnston Inn.
Below, the funky reindeer candelabra from the whimsical window at Whittinghams.
This antique calliope played off and on during the afternoon.
The calliope was in front of an antique shop whose name I can't remember (near the corner of Caroline and Amelia). I was surfing around the net, trying to come up with the shop name when I ran across this fun blog, Fredericksburg As I See It, which had basically the same photo.