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Winter hanging on

RELATED: Treacherous roads remain after storm

The snow and brisk wind left streets in the Fredericksburg area mostly deserted Monday, except for the snowplows that periodically passed through.

Rather than sledding or making snowmen, many chose to stay warm inside.

Some who ventured out in the city found their way to the Sunken Well Tavern on Littlepage Street, which owner Steve Cameli said always stays open despite the weather “to provide a service to the neighborhood here.”

Josh Cameli, who also works at the Sunken Well Tavern, called the restaurant “a pillar of this neighborhood where people can come out and have a good time.”

He said it has taken a long time to build a reputation as a perennially open spot, but word has gotten around that they’ll always be open.

Around noon, patrons began piling into the restaurant.

Steve Cameli said he wasn’t surprised.

“Around noon, 1 p.m., they all start to get cabin fever,” he said.

Scott Hertel was their first customer of the day. Monday was the first time he’d ever been to the restaurant.

“I was hungry and heard they had good food and would be open so I walked down here,” he said.

He had a crabcake sandwich at the bar and talked with Josh about the weather.

“I ain’t been seeing a whole lot outside,” he said. “I haven’t seen the first kid out, which I thought I would.”

Jessica Limerick, Gary Walters and Steve Murphy are old friends and Sunken Well regulars who met there Monday.

“It’s not often we all get a Monday off,” Walters said. “We get to come down here, have a drink and catch up.”

Normally on a Monday, Walters would be in Washington D.C., for work, Murphy would be working in Woodbridge and Limerick at her Fredericksburg job.

“I’m done with the snow, though,” Murphy said. “I want Old Man Winter to let us go.”

Down the bar from them were Jackie Phillips and Lee Dayus, also Sunken Well regulars.

Their day had so far just been “the fireplace and blankets,” Dayus said. But the couple stopped in for drinks and food after striking out at other restaurants and the butcher shop downtown.

“And plus, this is our neighborhood spot and we knew it would be open,” Phillips said.

Debbie Lanum and Ralph Austin had the same idea. The friends, who bowl together regularly, sat near the window of the restaurant to watch the snow fall and ordered lunch.

“This is the only place in Fredericksburg to eat today, unless you want to eat at McDonalds,” Austin said.

Lanum drove to have lunch with Austin and said the roads in Fredericksburg were significantly better than during the last snowfall.

Mike Dougherty got to take a snow day with his children, Maggie, 7, and Aiden, 10, since work and school were cancelled.

The family stopped at Sunken Well for a snack during a walk in the snow.

“We live just a few blocks away and we come here regularly,” he said. “Today was nice we slept in and this is the first time we’ve been out of the house.”

One intrepid Fredericksburg resident who braved the snow Monday was Levi Hoffman, a 13-year-old student at Walker–Grant Middle School.

Levi skied from his house on George Street, up Hanover Street to a friend’s house. He said they might go sledding in the afternoon.

“We had the skis in the basement and it’s easier than walking,” he said.

The trip to see his friend was uphill the whole way, which he said was not as hard as it looked. But skiing home, an entirely downhill trip, was going to be easier.

Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976