Trying to find that perfect balance between big city life and quaint, country charm isn’t easy—well, unless you’re in Northern Virginia. Conveniently close to Washington, D.C., yet with a personality all its own, Northern Virginia offers a delightful mix of history, culture and charm.
Spend a day exploring some of the treasured museums, with focuses on air and space, performing and fine arts or military service. Discover the enchantment of Old Town Alexandria, dotted with exceptional restaurants, superb shopping and fascinating architecture, all near the Potomac River waterfront. Horse around a little in the region’s well-known “horse country,” popularized by steeplechase races, ranches and polo matches. And while you’re in the area, you might as well sample the local sips. Wineries, distilleries and breweries—including the recently named “Best Small Brewery in America”—all abound here.
Find Colonial Charm, Civil War History, Art, Specialty Shopping And Plenty Of Places To Eat And Imbibe In The Historic City Of Fredericksburg
When folks think of Virginia colonial charm, thoughts of Williamsburg and Alexandria come to mind but not always Fredericksburg. That needs to change; this city, located about halfway between Richmond and Washington, has been hustling and bustling since the 18th century.
But it’s not just fans of the colonial era who will feel at home here; Civil War buffs find plenty to see and do, as well as folks who are into good eats and drinks in this day and age.
In town there are walking and trolley tours in the historic district and places to venture in the rolling, bucolic countryside. And across the region there are wineries, breweries, distilleries, chef-driven restaurants, art galleries, specialty shops and year-round events to enjoy.
Fredericksburg offers an assortment of restaurants, from quick serve to casual to fine dining. There is also a restaurant week each summer to give folks a chance to explore a number of venues with nicely-priced, prix-fixe menus. Extraordinary food and wine abound at Kybecca, offering contemporary American cuisine with a global twist. Their New South Paella is creative and delicious enough to make your taste buds rise again: sherry-mushroom Carolina gold rice with saffron, sautéed summer squash, sautéed okra, roasted red pepper, tomatoes and parmesan. Kybecca.com
There are plenty of places to stay in and around Fredericksburg, from bed and breakfasts to campgrounds/campsites to hotels and motels. If it is you and your sweetie, consider the 1890 Caroline House, a charming bed and breakfast just a block from Amtrak and rail and located in the heart of the historic district near many in-town destinations. Featured in Romantic Homes Magazine, the house is in all its Victorian grandeur throughout. The Richard Johnston Inn is a sister property. TheCarolineHouse.com
There are battlefields and boutiques, eateries and galleries, and outdoor events from festivals to sports. We recommend: visiting a Civil War site like the Fredericksburg Battlefield, shopping the quaint boutiques in Old Town, taking George Washington’s Fredericksburg Tour, paddling Lake Anna with Lake Anna Outfitters, getting artsy at The University of Mary Washington Galleries and enjoying the annual Fredericksburg Area Wine Festival, held Oct. 8–9. Learn more at VisitFred.com
We adore Lake Anna Winery for its personable atmosphere—the winery itself is housed in an elegantly renovated barn that was originally built for dairy cows. We also love them for their diverse wines, especially their newly-released Totally White, a beautiful, smooth, drinkable blend of seyval, viognier and rkatsitelli grapes; it’s balanced and refreshing. LAWinery.net
One of the best ways to visit area wineries is the Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg, which offer a leisurely ride across the countryside to some of the area’s top wineries. FredericksburgTrolley.com
Take a sip of a premium spirit at A. Smith Bowman Distillery, and you’ll quickly understand what makes this distillery stand out. In each and every batch, they use the finest ingredients and time-honored traditions—combined with innovation and creativity to keep today’s palate’s excited.
P.S. There’s no rule that says you have to stick to one type of beverage. Hop on the Grapes and Grains Trail, presented by Stafford County Virginia Tourism, to make your way to five wineries, four breweries and a distillery. Buy a ticket (just $15) for VIP tours at all trail stops, a commemorative tasting glass and discounts in gift shops and trail stops. Tickets are valid for a full year, so you can visit them as you choose. TourStaffordVa.com
Life presents us with many roads to travel on, and it’s not always easy determining the right road to choose. Take, for instance, the North or South locations for Adventure Brewing. Which one should you visit? It’s a tough decision to make, but rest assured that either path will put you in the right place for quality brews in fun-loving atmospheres. Adventure Brewing North is their original Stafford location, home to their pilot brewing system and their tasting room with nine beers on tap. Their new location is Adventure Brewing South, formerly known as Blue & Bray Brewing. So whether you go North or South—or give both a try—you’ll have made the right choice. AdventureBrewing.com