"A unique town by the river" Occoquan by b1bob

Occoquan Travel Guide: 39 reviews and 94 photos

Like Fredericksburg 30 miles (48 km.) down the road, the riverside location of Occoquan was the reason it was settled by the Indians before European settlement. Occoquan is derived from an Indian word meaning "at the end of the water". Because of its location, was a natural site for water-borne commerce. In the early days, it thrived as an industrial settlement with grist mills and tobacco warehouses. During the War Between the States, the post office passed letters and packages between North and South. A fire devastated much of the town in 1919. Route 1 opened soon thereafter, carrying traffic away from the town. The Occoquan River silted up, and the new railroad bypassed the town, causing local industries to decline. Adding insult to injury Hurricane Agnes struck in 1972 destroying buildings, sidewalks, streets and the remaining Occoquan Iron-Truss Bridge. Any of these tragedies might have been enough to wipe out a small riverfront town, but Occoquan stubbornly slogged on. Residents, merchants and people interested in history restored the town to its old form, creating a unique place which offers water sport, fishing, fine shopping and antiquing (they use it as a verb here too), pleasant dining, and a chance to experience a great little town unspoilt by Northern Virginia sprawl.

On 5 June 2005, my friend Lee and I set out for here to attend the Crafts Fair. We went as much to see the uniqueness of historic Occoquan- an island of history surrounded by exurban sprawl. Going to and from George Mason University from 1987-1991, I passed by here 100 times, but it never occurred to me until now to give it a closer look. It was as hot as a tar road in Tennessee, but we walked through the neatly laid out streets examining all the booths. Many sold crafts, but some sold food, and a few offered free samples. The most notable thing I learned from this trip is that not all northern Virginians are in too big a hurry to be nice. All the folks we encountered were great to a couple of outsiders with obvious Southern accents.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Occoquan has overcome much adversity to be what it is today.
  • Cons:Too much of a crowd for the Craft Fair.
  • In a nutshell:A friendly and historical island in a sea of hurried progress.
  • Last visit to Occoquan: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (14)

  • CurtisN's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    Lived here since 1989 and love it

  • MikeAtSea's Profile Photo
    Jul 22, 2009 at 2:48 AM

    A stunning page!! Virginia seems to have a lot of treasures!! Michael

  • May 21, 2009 at 8:04 PM

    We stopped for breakfast. No eggs unless you ordered meat. Out of ham, sausage, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, and also Eggbeaters when they opened. The manager didn't charge us for our eggs, but why the heck were they open?

  • sue&gene's Profile Photo
    May 19, 2007 at 7:48 AM

    This looks like a beautiful slice of Americana.

  • brazilnut30's Profile Photo
    Jun 17, 2006 at 2:11 PM

    Nat, Occoquan is one of those off the beaten paths towns one must visit..

  • Bushman23's Profile Photo
    Nov 1, 2005 at 12:19 AM

    Touristy or not, the fair sounds good! thanks for the honesty about the restaurant, thats helpful to know! another great page! @nton

  • richiecdisc's Profile Photo
    Jun 21, 2005 at 5:28 PM

    Sounds like we are both having our fair share of A/C problems, eh? Some fine photos of a slice of Americana, Nat.

  • ATXtraveler's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2005 at 4:09 AM

    Hooray for American Made!

  • matcrazy1's Profile Photo
    Jun 19, 2005 at 2:52 AM

    Craft Fair itself would be probably interesting for me... I tried apple cider sold somewhere in the Appalachian mountains and liked it... a bit haha.

  • ExGuyParis's Profile Photo
    Jun 12, 2005 at 8:26 AM

    Looks like a charming town, and your description of the fair made my mouth water. Your rebiew of Belgique Gourmande cracked me up!


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