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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Welcome to Gloucester


by Tom Chillemi

Gloucester’s Main Street still functions as it did over 350 years ago—as the village center. Today it is still a thriving business district with shops and diverse restaurants serving foods from around the world. Restaurants featuring Chinese, Mexican, Thai and Italian foods compliment the gourmet restaurants and “down home” cooking.

And after you’ve eaten, you can stroll to a farmers’ market or browse a wide variety of shops. Maybe you’d like to kick back at the library, or walk off the meal in the historic district at the Courthouse Circle and stop at the Gloucester Museum of History.

Vintage vehicles fit in well and gather here every Friday at 6 p.m. for the Classic Cruise-In at the Gloucester Library.

Gloucester’s Main Street (Route 17 Business) has an old-fashioned relaxed feeling that only a true Main Street can offer. No storefront facades here; history runs deep.

Incorporated in 1766, Botetourt Town became the hub of the county government. Its colonial courthouse is one of the oldest in the United States.

Gloucester has embraced its history and dubbed itself “An Original Virginia Village.” The now popular “mixed use” style of development that showcases retail, restaurants and professional business within walking distance of residential living has been here for decades.

At the same time, Main Street is a vibrant place that can be imitated, but not duplicated.

Historic Gloucester Main Street is an authentic town center . . .  one that urban areas are trying to recreate, said Jenny Crittenden, executive director of the Gloucester Main Street Association.

“It’s not just a quaint Main Street. Visitors can immerse themselves into its history and still enjoy the amenities of today,” said Crittenden.

Coming soon

This summer the association kicks off its newest event, “Market Nights on Main,” which will run every Wednesday through the end of September in the cool of the evening. 

Beginning Wednesday, July 7, these midweek events will feature extended retail hours, promotions, live music, dining specials, and artist exhibitions from 5 to 8 p.m. In addition, Kelsick Market will have beer and wine tastings.

Market Nights on Main will feature an authentic producer-based farmers’ market showcasing fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, meats, seafood, fresh flowers, herbs, soaps and baked goods from local farms and businesses.

For a genuine experience that only a true Main Street can boast, visit historic Gloucester Main Street. “It’s the best of both worlds,” said Crittenden. “It has the quaint feel of history mixed with the energy of today that is captured in our many events throughout the year.”

To keep up on what’s happening on Gloucester Main Street, call Jen Christman at (804) 695-0700 or visit

Become a fan of Gloucester Main Street Association on Facebook.

2010 Events

  • Market Nights on Main (July-Sept.), Wednesdays, 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Puller Center and Main Street’s free Family Lot Party, September 10, live music, food, door prizes, children’s activities.
  • Chalk Fest, September 18, chalk drawing festival, Carriage Court, Main Street, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Brews & Blues on Main, October 9, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Taste over 20 specialty microbrews and local Main Street fare, and live music all day featuring local and regional Blues acts (a ticketed event).
  • Main Street Christmas Open House & Community Tree Lighting, December 5. Horse-drawn wagon rides with Santa, business open houses, children’s activities, community tree lighting, children’s performances and musical performances.

    posted 07.01.2010

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