Saturday, February 19, 2011

Fredericksburg's Version of a National Holiday

Every year, residents of Fredericksburg and the surrounding region anxiously await the Friday before Presidents' Day, knowing that this is the day that Carl's, a landmark nationally-known ice cream shop, opens for the season. 

Cash only, please, and there is often a sign in the window asking patrons for small bills.  Carl's has been a Fredericksburg landmark since 1947.  The menu is simple ... cones, shakes, and sundaes, with vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry ice cream ... still made using the original machines!!  

Sorry for the glare.  This is the best I could do through the window.

Yesterday's weather was unseasonably warm (we topped out at 77 degrees, on a day when the average high temperature is 47.), so it was a perfect afternoon to stand in line and get ice cream after lunch. 

Look at this beautiful blue sky!!

A few other folks had the same idea.  The line was half-way around the block.  I couldn't get a photo to show just how long the line was ... so I drew you a diagram.

You have to imagine the line stretching down the sidewalk and around, from point A to point B.  The X marks the approximate spot where we were standing when I took this photo.

The folks who work at Carl's are incredibly efficient, so it only took about 20 minutes for us to get to the front of the line.  While we were waiting, we saw one of our daughter's best friends (a former Brownie Girl Scout of mine) and we squealed and hugged.

Carl's really IS a landmark ... they're on the National Register and everything!

Carl's is only open 9 months a year.  They open on the Friday before Presidents' Day and close on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  One year, I was on a trip to San Diego with my sister the week before Thanksgiving.  We were at the zoo when each of us realized that it was Carl's last weekend ... so I phoned my husband and asked him to go there to get some pint containers and put them in the freezer for when we got home.

What did I have, you ask?  My favorite ... a maple nut sundae made with chocolate ice cream.


  1. How nice to be able to get ice cream like that in February! I'm a little jealous.

  2. OMG, I clicked on your post in my sidebar and said "YES"!!! I've been going to Carl's for years! And when I was in college we used to walk there, sometimes in our PJs!!! Next time I'm in town, it's a small strawberry in a sugar cone for me...YUM!

    Kat :)

  3. I would do maple nut too, but with vanilla ice cream.

    This reminds me of my hometown in Iowa. Small town so everyone hung out at the Dairy Queen. If you were looking for someone, that's the first place you looked.

    Enjoy your Saturday!

  4. It looks so good. I would have happily stood in that line.

  5. What a great place!!! I love Maple Walnut ice cream -

  6. Hi back to you neighbor!
    Here I am, feeling like a fool, having never heard of Carls.
    Maybe we can meet there one day.
    Thanks for your visit.

  7. So much fun! What a way to spend a sunny lunch time, meeting people and eating ice cream!

  8. Hi Connie, Wasn't the weather wonderful yesterday? It was a perfect day for ice cream.

  9. Hard to believe it's already ice cream season! But that sounds so good! Hope you thoroughly enjoyed what I believe is one of life's most wonderful pleasures.


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