On our way down to Hilton Head, SC after driving 7 ½ hours we made a quick stop in the Historic District of Occoquan, VA. We have stayed here a couple of time before as my older brother owns a house in Occoquan and has also rented an apartment here. It was a convenient stop on our way down to Hilton Head, but the big draw was to see my brother and the two free standing town homes that he was building in town.
He gave us a tour of each of the two homes, one which was fully framed with the exterior complete and the second which was close to complete but still needed some finishing touches like appliances, some paint etc. My brother carefully chose each element of the homes and thoughtfully considered the impact of each decision in terms of utility, durability, design, and symbolism. This included everything from sourcing the brick and stone for the exterior, the color and location of the windows selected, the copper roof, and the framing of the doorways.
For example, he chose pineapple lanterns for the exterior patios because in the 17th century pineapples became a symbol of hospitality. Sea captains returning from trade routes in the Caribbean would bring home pineapples which were difficult to procure. They would leave a pineapple out front and neighbors would know that they were home and would welcome in guests to share the stories of their voyage.
As we walked around each corner and through each of the rooms I was continually impressed with the degree of thought and craftsmanship invested in the homes. The homes are built to last, and I am proud to see the work that my brother put into them and grateful for the opportunity to tour them prior to being sold.
After touring the homes, we took our two boys just down the street to River Mill Park that overlooks the Occoquan River. They had a blast running around and climbing all over the “LOVE” sign in the park. Afterwards we met up for lunch at Madigan’s Waterfront where we ate out on the deck that also overlooks the Occoquan River.
The Historic District is a very small beautiful village on the edge of the Occoquan River. It’s a total of 0.2 square miles and has a population of less than 1,000. It has a number of restaurants and shops and continues to be added to with new town homes and spaces like the River Mill Park being built over time.
It’s a really sweet spot to walk around and grab a cup of coffee. In past visits we have eaten at the Grind and Crepe, which had the most wonderful crepes and a sweet little patio to sit out and relax on. For this trip it was just the right size place for a stop with plenty of space to walk around, a park for the kids to play, easy parking, and lots of kid friendly places to eat. We’ll likely keep this in mind as a good pit stop for any future drives down south.
What to Do:
- Walk along the waterfront
- Visit River Mill Park
- Stroll the streets
Where to Eat:
- Madigan’s Waterfront
- Grind and Crepe