The community of Washington is joining my growing list of “new favorite towns.” Here in North Carolina so far it’s Wake Forest, Black Mountain, Ashville, West Jefferson, Manteo, New Bern, and now Washington.
There’s an accessible riverfront, a well-preserved downtown, great period architecture, not too much damage from the architectural blight of the 60’s and 70’s, and a couple of great coffee locations. I especially like Rachel’s Bakery because of – duh – the bakery thing, and also the interior brick wall post-industrial warehouse vibe.
Having our son, Andrew, living in Italy so many years makes it hard to enjoy cappuccino that’s not at least somewhat evocative of a Florence sidewalk café, or the perfecto work of a busy train station barista. So, hat’s off to a backwater North Carolina espresso bar that makes the effort and doesn’t disappoint.
Looking at the new townhomes going up on the riverfront, just a short walk from downtown, reminds me of why I love the accessibility built in to our Wake Forest experience. Maybe retirement one day will involve a downtown loft with a container garden on the roof?
I understand expensive to maintain old buildings, but the character of these late 19th century early 20th century storefronts and warehouses is part of the appeal that’s key to the economic revival of places like this.
So support your local downtown! And, when you’re travelling, go out of your way to make other towns glad they stayed open and motivated to keep reinvesting. Economics, it turns out, is as much about tomorrow – and yesterday – as it is the bottom line for today.