From museums and trolley tours to distilleries and art galleries, there’s always something to do in Fredericksburg, Va., and all of it lies less than a tank of gas away. Head just an hour south to discover everything historical Fredericksburg has to offer, including an old-fashioned plantation and historic battlefield.
Make your way out of the city and toward I-395 south and stay on it until you see the exit for I-95 south. Take the exit and stay on I-95 south for about 38 miles until exit 133A where you’ll merge onto US-17 south toward Falmouth. Turn right to stay on US-17 south and travel for another 2.5 miles or so. The entire trip is about 50 miles and should take a little more than an hour, depending on the flow of traffic. Be sure to visit Locust Shade Park, shop at the Stafford Marketplace or learn something new at the Stonewall Jackson Shrine along the way.
Historic Kenmore Plantation
1201 Washington Ave.
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Price: $10 adults/$5 students/free children younger than 6
Visit the home built by George Washington’s sister Betty and her husband Fielding Lewis. The beautiful, Georgian-style mansion features 18th-century furniture, architecture and artwork. Sign up for the 45-minute tour and learn about the restoration process of the home. Highlights of the tour include the dining and drawing rooms, and the chamber. Afterward, enjoy a leisurly stroll around the historic plantation and gardens.
Route 3 West
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
The battle of Chancellorsville, the deadliest fought in Virginia, left a history behind that’s not to be missed. To learn more about this epic battle, the park offers visitor centers, a museum and self-guided walking and driving tours. Tour the historic plantation home that once was the headquarters, communication center and hospital during the battle. Stay at the park until sunset and catch the history at sunset program, which features specialized tours in and around the battlefields.
A. Smith Bowman Distillery
1 Bowman Drive
Fredericksburg, VA 22408
Sign up for a guided tour at the A. Smith Bowman Distillery and see how master distiller Truman Cox produces delicious hand-crafted spirits. The distillery also features a gift shop where you can pick up a bottle of Virginian vodka, gin, bourbon or whiskey. The distillery produces Colonial-era dark Caribbean rum as well, which features the delicious, subtle scents of coconut and vanilla and taste of honey, brown sugar and molasse
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Riverside Center Theater
95 Riverside Pkwy.
Fredericksburg, VA 22406
Click here for prices
Forget dinner and a movie and head out for dinner and a live show instead. Riverside Center Theater offers evening dinner theater Thursdays through Saturdays of each week. Enjoy delicious entrees, such as margarita grilled pork chops or baked vegetable lasagna, as well as adult beverages and tasty treats. The theater offers a children’s theater and dining as well. Upcoming shows include “Anything Goes,” “Phantom,” “The Sound of Music,” “Schoolhouse Rock Live!,” “Pocahontas” and “Disney’s High School Musical Jr.”
103 W. Cambridge St.
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
Located in a 200-year-old building that’s just a few feet from the Rappahannock River, Amy’s Cafe features home-style meals, a family friendly atmosphere and super-friendly staff. Summer specials include live acoustic music on Saturday afternoons and Crabby Saturdays, which feature delicious drinks and crabs by the dozen. Amy’s Cafe also offers happy hour food and drink specials and a full-service bar, outdoor dining area, covered porch and a play area full of toys and games for children.
Susan Diranian is a freelance writer living in Ashburn, VA. She is covering Travel & Outdoors. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.