If you’ve ever driven south from DC on I-95, you’ve probably sat in traffic outside of Fredericksburg. Maybe you’ve cut over at that point and gotten on Route 1, or maybe you’ve stopped to grab a quick bite. I’ve done all of the above, but, until last month, I had never actually stopped to explore what turned out to be one of the most bustling Virginia towns I’ve visited.
I first got the idea to do a weekend in Fredericksburg when Adam would bring it up each time we drove by. He’d always ask, “Have you ever been to Fredericksburg?” And, I’d answer, “Only for a couple of hours when I visited Mary Washington.” So, this summer, we decided to get a Fredericksburg trip on the books.
A WEEKEND IN FREDERICKSBURG, VA
We headed down to Fredericksburg for a two-night getaway full of food, history, and trading in the hustle and bustle of the city for the quaint vibes of a smaller (but not too small!) town.
HOW TO GET TO FREDERICKSBURG
It’s a quick hour from DC without traffic but, if you plan on staying downtown the whole weekend, you could even just hop on the VRE train. We knew we’d be going outside the city, so we chose to drive. Knowing that traffic on 95 can be a bear, we decided to wait until 7 PM, after rush hour had died down a bit, to leave.
WHERE TO STAY IN FREDERICKSBURG
We stayed right downtown at the Marriott Courtyard Fredericksburg Historic District, which was the perfect location to walk almost everywhere on our itinerary. Every time we pulled up a restaurant on Google Maps, it was no more than a 10-minute stroll.
If you’re looking for an intimate bed and breakfast stay, definitely check out the Kenmore Inn and splurge on one of their luxury rooms.
YOUR WEEKEND IN FREDERICKSBURG ITINERARY
We stayed for two nights in Fredericksburg, but it would also be a great stop on a road trip south from DC—we’re thinking we may make it a pit stop on the way to Richmond on occasion. But, if you’ve got two nights to get away, here’s your Friday evening to Sunday afternoon itinerary.
FRIDAY EVENING: CHECK IN TO THE HOTEL AND GRAB A LATE DINNER
Like I said earlier, we decided to drive, and we knew we didn’t want to deal with 95 rush hour, so we waited until a little after 7 PM to leave. It was a plan that worked out perfectly—we didn’t deal with absolutely horrendous traffic (I’m not saying it was great, but it wasn’t unbearable), we didn’t have to take an afternoon off work, and we still got into Fredericksburg by 8:30.
We arrived at the hotel, quickly checked in, and then headed out to catch the last few minutes of First Friday. So many of the shops were open until 9 PM, there was a band playing downtown—the atmosphere was lively and we lucked out with a perfect June evening.
The outdoor patio at kybecca was calling our name and we ordered a few small plates, including the trendy canned seafood, a couple of cocktails, and topped it all off with their fancy take on a classic s’mores.
SATURDAY MORNING: FUEL UP WITH BREAKFAST AT EILEEN’S
After a long overdue good night’s sleep (who else gets ridiculously excited about spending the night in a hotel?!), we woke up ready for a full day of exploring Fredericksburg. We kicked things off with breakfast at Eileen’s Bakery and Cafe, a charming spot housed in a renovated 1833 church. I snagged a bear claw, while Adam went for the biggest, meatiest quiche I’ve ever seen. It’s all about finding a partner that will balance the salty and sweet dishes, right?
SATURDAY MID-MORNING: GET A DOSE OF HISTORY
Eventually, we made our way back to the hotel, grabbed our car, and set off on a historical adventure. I swear Adam could spend days visiting historic homes (remember Charleston?), so he was determined to check off every single site on Visit Fredericksburg’s Timeless Ticket, which gets you into historic sites and attractions throughout the region.
First up, we drove just a few minutes outside of downtown to visit George Washington’s boyhood home, Ferry Farm, where we had a fabulous tour guide who did an amazing job of putting the context of the home and the land into perspective in terms of both the cultural norms of the day and the geography of the region. If you visit Ferry Farm, pop by A. Smith Bowman Distillery for a bourbon tasting afterwards—it’s a 3-minute drive from one to the other.
Next, we headed back downtown and stopped by Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, where I almost passed out as they described colonial medical procedures and then learned that hospitals still use leaches today (like WHAT?!?!). We also visited the Rising Sun Tavern, a former boarding house. Interestingly, the boarding house was run by a widow—while women weren’t often business owners, it wasn’t unusual to see women run boarding houses after their husbands died. The woman that ran Rising Sun Tavern turned it into a booming business.
SATURDAY AFTERNOON: FEAST ON A LATE BRUNCH AT FOODE
I thought we would be good for the whole day after the size of our breakfast, but, apparently, I worked up an appetite walking around those historic sites and listening to tales of colonial showering habits, or lack thereof. So, we found ourselves at farm-to-table Foode. Owned by Joy Crump, a former Top Chef contestant, and housed in the former Historic National Bank Building, Foode’s space is as gorgeous as its food is delicious.
After much deliberation, the idea of maple butter and rosemary syrup lured me in and I ordered the chicken and waffles, which boast their famous Rosie’s fried chicken. But, I swear I could have ordered half the menu—the pimento cheese toast, the biscuits and gravy, the brisket sandwich…so many dishes were tempting me.
SATURDAY LATE AFTERNOON: STOLL AROUND DOWNTOWN
We wrapped up lunch and decided to spend some time strolling around downtown checking out the shopping. There are antique and secondhand stores on every block, which you know I’m all about, particularly since we’re in full-on decorating mode, but we were distracted by signs for the Sophia Street Pottery Throwdown. Never one to turn down a Farmers Market or artisan festival, this was right up Adam’s alley, yet I was the one that walked away with a new addition—a sleek black shrimp cocktail dish, which I’ve already used several times for chips and hummus.
And, no Saturday afternoon would be complete without a sweet treat, so I insisted we stop by Goolrick’s Pharmacy, the oldest continuously running pharmacy and soda fountain the United States. This place has been open since 1867! Obviously, I had to get the root beer float—I mean, how often do you come across one of these fizzy treats?!
SATURDAY EVENING: MAKE THE TREK OUT TO THE COUNTRY
We decided to make a move on Saturday evening and drove 25 minutes out into Spotsylvania to Wilderness Run Vineyards and 1781 Brewing. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive—there were a few restaurants I still wanted to check out in downtown Fredericksburg—but there was a band playing out at the vineyard, so we figured we’d at least go for a bit.
No surprise, we were hungry again, so we grabbed sandwiches and snacks to-go from the gourmet Battlefield Country Store on the way out to the vineyard. I did a make-your-own sandwich with roast beef and horseradish and was seriously in heaven as I browsed their extensive candy and sweets sections. And, with a picnic fit for far more than two, we headed out on our trek to the country.
The evening was warm, but breezy, the band was solid, we were able to grab a picnic table to ourselves, and we quickly realized, “okay, we’re going to stay right here all night.” The fruity beers from 1781 were just my thing and I’d say this was hands down one of the best nights of summer so far.
SUNDAY MORNING: BRUNCH AT KENMORE INN
On Sunday morning, we packed up our things, checked out of the hotel, and went over to the Kenmore Inn for one last stop on our weekend in Fredericksburg before heading back up 95 to DC. The Kenmore Inn is a circa 1733 home which now operates as a bed and breakfast—it would be an absolutely stunning space for a wedding (weddings, always on my mind).
We decided to go all in on our last meal in Fredericksburg and ordered the pimento cheese bites, the crab dip, the French toast, and the biscuits and gravy. Our entrées were solid, but, oh, those appetizers—I’m still dreaming about the crab dip. Plus, the house is just darling and I’d love to hang out on that porch on a cool spring morning. Full and happy from brunch, we were ready to hit the road for the quick trip back up to Washington.
A FEW FINAL THOUGHTS ON OUR WEEKEND IN FREDERICKSBURG
If you’re looking for a quick getaway in the mid-Atlantic, Fredericksburg is a central spot, particularly if you’re coming from DC or Richmond. It’s perfect for history buffs, foodies, or anyone who loves the vibe of a small town downtown (but with plenty to do!). Definitely reach out if you’re thinking of planning a weekend in Fredericksburg, I’m happy to chat more about our weekend!
Thank you to Visit Fredericksburg for hosting us at the Marriott Courtyard and providing us with a Timeless Ticket to visit historic sites in the Fredericksburg area. As always, all opinions are my own and I am so grateful to be able to share my experiences with you!