An Insider's Guide to Fredericksburg, VA

By , January 15th, 2015

Get ready to explore “timeless” Fredericksburg, VA. Wind back the clock and walk the woods where George Washington played as a boy and jump forward to Civil War battlefields. Finish the day in the present strolling one of the biggest shopping malls on the East Coast. The modern influences blend with the region’s rich history and culture, giving a unique vibe to this city.

Tales of Wood Teeth & Cherry Trees

George Washington's home - how cozy!

The first President of the United States was raised in Stafford County, VA. Archaeologists excavated sites and artifacts from his boyhood home, telling some of the best-known stories related to his youth, including tales of the cherry tree and throwing a stone across the Rappahannock River. Most of the woods surrounding the house are long gone, but you can still explore four original cellars from the house and thousands of artifacts at the Ferry Farm.

Feel Presidential at the Chatham Manor

Feel Presidential at the Chatham House Photo by Todd Martin 

Fredericksburg, VA’s strategic location made it a major center in the American Civil War and it’s the site of one of the bloodiest battles and perhaps General Robert E. Lee’s greatest victory. One of America’s most beautiful and historic houses, Chatham, was built nearby in the 18th century and served as a headquarters and hospital for the Union army during the Battle of Fredericksburg. Chatham is the only home in America visited by George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson.

Going East: Wine Country

Wine Tasting in Virginia
Photo by Michael Braisher

Virginia was recently named in the top five up-and-coming wine regions by Travel and Leisure Magazine. But Virginians have been making wine for the past four centuries and Virginia Viognier is already on its way to being one of the most notable wines of the state. Virginia Cabernet Franc and Virginia’s native Norton are also getting national recognition. Some local favorites are Potomac Point Winery, Hartwood Winery, and Lake Anna Winery. One of the best ways to discover wineries near Fredericksburg is to participate in the Grapes & Grains Trail. Located in Stafford and Spotsylvania, the trail includes four wineries, a brewery and a distillery.

Fresh Air and Wild Nature

Motts Run Canoes
Photo by Sharon Ramsey, Fredericksburg.

Year round, Fredericksburg is a great place for wilderness exploration, boating, swimming, hiking at Lake Anna State Park, fishing at the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers, or rock climbing at Virginia Outdoor Center. Nature walks and horseback riding, kayaking and biking are also popular at Virginia Outdoor Center. Leesylvania State Park in Woodbridge is a great place to take a stroll by the historic Potomac River … look out for Bald Eagles! For golfers there are top-rated courses including: the challenging Gauntlet Golf Club, Lee’s Hill Golfer’s Club, Meadows Farm Golf Course and Cameron Hills Golf Links.

Options, Options, Options!

Greens galore at the Farmers Market
Photo by Ep Jhu

Shop till you drop! With everything from charming boutiques to the Central Park, the largest shopping center on the East Coast with more than 200 retailers, Fredericksburg has plenty of options. Browse  boutiques, antiques, museum shops and art galleries in Old Town. Visit the farmer’s market at Hurkamp Park Monday through Saturday and the Mayfield Neighborhood Market on Thursdays.

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*Cover Photo by: Justin Critzer