Downtown Fredericksburg has got to be one of the best kept secrets in Virginia, with specialty boutiques, antique shops and chef-owned restaurants housed in the more than 350 historic buildings dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. While a day trip to Fredericksburg is easily accomplished, couples and guy/gal pals looking for a weekend getaway could easily spend two days exploring the offerings downtown and beyond the 40-block National Historic District.
You can check out some featured packages on Visit Fred’s tourism page at www.visitfred.com/packages, but if you want to set up base camp in the heart of the downtown area, Courtyard Fredericksburg is the place to be. Brand spanking clean (it’s only 3 years old), the Marriott property also is a popular venue for wedding parties and corporate events.
Located on the banks of the Rappahannock River, Fredericksburg was a popular port in colonial times and the site of two Civil War battles. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent a canoe from Clore Bros. Outfitters, which offers a variety of trips suitable for children and adults.
If you’d prefer to spend your time on land, you can tour the area’s historic landmarks including Mary Washington House, the home George Washington purchased for his mother; Rising Sun Tavern, built by George Washington’s younger brother Charles; Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop; Fredericksburg Area Museum; and more. If you’re planning to visit several of these attractions in a day, take advantage of the “Timeless Ticket,” which you can purchase for $32 for adults (one child ages 6-18 free with each adult ticket, free for 5 and younger) at the Visitors Center at 706 Caroline St.
Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg will save your soles by providing a 90-minute tour through the downtown area and along the river; tickets ($17 for adults, $8 for children) can be purchased online or at the Visitors Center.
If shopping is more your style, there is no end to the sights you’ll see in the storefronts, from mermaids lounging in bathtubs to Hello Kitty umbrellas. Besides the specialty boutiques that line the streets, antique and vintage shops predominate, and you can spend an entire afternoon browsing through their aisles.
When you’re ready for a break, you’ll find a wide range of culinary options along the downtown area ranging from Irish pubs to Thai restaurants. Among the culinary finds we came across was Foode, a farm-to-table restaurant owned by best friends Beth Black and Joy Crump, who is the chef and received her culinary degree from the Art Institute of Atlanta. “Definitely worth the 40 minute drive south from Alexandria,” according to the Examiner.com, Foode is a local favorite that ranks in the Top 3 restaurants on Urbanspoon, TripAdvisor and Yelp.
For the breakfast crowd, if you’re not willing to wait in line for Foode on a Sunday morning or having it at the Courtyard Fredericksburg (which we can recommend), take a walk down Caroline Street to Eileen’s Bakery & Cafe. Located in an old church built in 1833, the bakery offers fresh pastries and breads baked fresh every morning.
Riverside Center Dinner Theater
Dinner shows start with 6 p.m. dinner seating; Sunday matinees start at 1 p.m.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp and 5 stars on Yahoo Travel, the Riverside Center Dinner theater puts on Broadway shows.