I’m told (by a downtown business owner) that the space vacated by the baby shop next to Benny’s pizza in Urban Exchange will be a … coffee shop.

A bit of Americana in downtown Harrisonburg — the venerable Glen’s Fair Price Store on North Main Street, just about where downtown turns delightfully seedy. (And if anyone knows who KRIEG is, message me, please.)

A bit of Americana in downtown Harrisonburg — the venerable Glen’s Fair Price Store on North Main Street, just about where downtown turns delightfully seedy. (And if anyone knows who KRIEG is, message me, please.)

Who would have thought? A downtown Harrisonburg bar/restaurant notorious for its nicotine-laced air is banning smoking for much of the day. I’m guessing that’ll boost the restaurant portion of the business.

Who would have thought? A downtown Harrisonburg bar/restaurant notorious for its nicotine-laced air is banning smoking for much of the day. I’m guessing that’ll boost the restaurant portion of the business.

How whimsical, and Edgar Allan Poe-esque — a rooftop in gritty downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

How whimsical, and Edgar Allan Poe-esque — a rooftop in gritty downtown Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Andre Shank, an Eastern Mennonite High School graduate, is displaying some of his art at the invaluable Larkin Arts on Court Square in Harrisonburg. To be honest, these aren’t my favorite pieces of his work. Check out this link to see more stuff — some of it that I think is just fantastic. And if you’re familiar with Benny Sorrentino’s pizza parlor on Mason Street in Harrisonburg, you’ll also be familiar with Andre’s excellent murals.

I can appreciate cute, charming towns (I’m a huge fan of Charlottesville’s downtown mall), but — in general — I like my cities a little gritty and unkempt, like downtown Harrisonburg.

I can appreciate cute, charming towns (I’m a huge fan of Charlottesville’s downtown mall), but — in general — I like my cities a little gritty and unkempt, like downtown Harrisonburg.

A 12-inch maxi single … never heard of it till I saw this vintage vinyl record on the free strip outside Downtown Books off of Water Street in Harrisonburg. Colors are fab.

A 12-inch maxi single … never heard of it till I saw this vintage vinyl record on the free strip outside Downtown Books off of Water Street in Harrisonburg. Colors are fab.

With the start of college football, this West Market Street store in Harrisonburg (right off of Court Square) was covering all its bases last weekend. That’s stuff from the area’s four most popular teams: James Madison, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

With the start of college football, this West Market Street store in Harrisonburg (right off of Court Square) was covering all its bases last weekend. That’s stuff from the area’s four most popular teams: James Madison, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

This photo was taken a few months ago while most of Harrisonburg was green, with this stubborn tree at James Madison University being one of the exceptions. 

This photo was taken a few months ago while most of Harrisonburg was green, with this stubborn tree at James Madison University being one of the exceptions. 

Bella Luna, the excellent pizza/Italian restaurant on Water Street in downtown Harrisonburg, stresses local ingredients, so — naturally — it chops its own wood for the pizza oven. Damian Deavers was doing the chopping Wednesday.

Bella Luna, the excellent pizza/Italian restaurant on Water Street in downtown Harrisonburg, stresses local ingredients, so — naturally — it chops its own wood for the pizza oven. Damian Deavers was doing the chopping Wednesday.

There’s a little tagging epidemic in downtown Harrisonburg, including this on North Main Street. No idea if this means something in TagWorld. In German, it means “war.” 

There’s a little tagging epidemic in downtown Harrisonburg, including this on North Main Street. No idea if this means something in TagWorld. In German, it means “war.” 

Man about town: Luis, a gay kid from Lynchburg who was a go-go boy in Miami and NYC, asked me to take some pictures earlier this summer — so here he is in gritty downtown Harrisonburg.

Man about town: Luis, a gay kid from Lynchburg who was a go-go boy in Miami and NYC, asked me to take some pictures earlier this summer — so here he is in gritty downtown Harrisonburg.

Downtown Books 1: Bob Schurtz’s three-decade-old bookstore off of Water Street in Harrisonburg (beside the parking deck) has morphed over the years into a captivating avalanche of … well, lots of things: used books, a few leftover new books, old vinyl records, used CDs, used DVDs, used VHRs, buttons, used comic books, trading cards and greeting cards. Outside on the sidewalk, there’s free books, cards, magazines, movies and music (the free stuff, generally, is in lesser condition that the pay stuff, but most is still in pretty good shape). Inside, it’s chaos — in a fun way. It’s a small shop, but it’s jam-packed, and you just have to browse … and browse … and browse if you’re looking for something specific. Don’t be scared off by the dusty mess; it’s well worth a visit, though you might want to wear a hardhat if you’re reaching for an especially well-hidden book.

Downtown Books 2: Bob Schurtz’s bookstore off of Water Street in Harrisonburg (more details in previous post)

Food art? A big mural on Liberty Street in downtown Harrisonburg of a dandelion plant (whose leaves are delicious in spring) and a sunny-side-up fried egg.

Food art? A big mural on Liberty Street in downtown Harrisonburg of a dandelion plant (whose leaves are delicious in spring) and a sunny-side-up fried egg.

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