Couple’s Retreat

Whether it’s a date night or a weekend away the time you spend with your special someone is precious, and it should be an opportunity to relax and revisit the joy of discovering new things together.

To set the stage, book a night or two at either the Richard Johnston Inn or the 1890 Caroline House in downtown Fredericksburg. The Richard Johnston Inn has been praised on WUSA TV as “one of the most romantic Inns in Virginia,” and the 1890 Caroline House has been featured in Romantic Homes Magazine.

To put you in the right frame of mind, start the day early with a couples massage at Skin+Touch Therapy on Caroline Street. When you walk out refreshed, head across the street to Sugar + Spruce, where you can have fun at the mixing bar creating his and hers customized bath products to help you take your relaxing experience home.

When lunchtime rolls around, snag one of the cozy outdoor tables for two at La Petite Auberge or J. Brian’s Tap Room . You’ll enjoy gourmet food and drink in a setting that isn’t too loud for a private chat, but still affords fun people-watching. An after-lunch coffee at Hyperion Espresso or Agora Downtown (Be sure to try the macarons.) will set the stage for a great afternoon.

Just in case you are in the market for a particular piece of jewelry, downtown has some great places to find the perfect ring. Ulman’s, Crown Jewelers, the Jewel Box and Gemstone Creations have all put the sparkle on many a happy bride’s finger.

Planning a wedding? See our Wedding Planner Toolkit.

After lunch, meander across the Rappahannock River to Belmont. The Georgian mansion and surrounding gardens and trails are a romantic venue, but don’t leave without learning a little about the former occupants, 20th-century painter Gari Melchers and his wife, Corinne. The story of how this artistic couple met and married, and how they went on to leave the state of Virginia with such a beautiful estate open to the public, is filled with romance. Belmont is also home to the Stafford County Visitor Center, which has a wealth of information on other places to visit and ways to explore the region.

Tired of the same old movie night? Buy tickets to a show in the Premier Theater at the Paragon Village 12 at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre. You can share a plush loveseat and order your favorite food and drinks to enjoy right in your chair as you watch the show. Or opt for dinner before the movie starts at the attached Chatterbox Lounge, a relaxed and luxurious place to grab food and drinks among grownups.

The next morning, after a hearty and luxurious bed and breakfast meal, head out to stretch your legs and explore a little.

Heading north of Fredericksburg?

Stop at Government Island for a 1.5-mile hike through preserved wetlands that tells the story of this Colonial-era quarry that supplied the sandstone used in the White House and U.S. Capitol building.  From here, it’s well worth the 24-minute drive to Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery, which is a great backdrop for the obligatory couples’ weekend selfie. Sample the wines and sit down for a relaxing meal at Le Grand Cru Bistro, or bring your own picnic to enjoy on the grounds.

If you’d rather head south, you’ll want to check out Lake Anna State Park, where you can lounge on the beach and take your pick from among several hiking trails. Head out for lunch at the lakeside Anna Cabana Restaurant, a 15-minute drive away.  From here you’re only 3.5 miles from Lake Anna Winery, where an afternoon tasting of their award-winning wines will be the perfect way to cap off your time together.

Did you know?

Here’s one of the region’s spookier love stories: Legend has it that every seven years at Chatham Manor in Stafford County, a ghostly “Lady in White” can be seen walking the grounds. The apparition is said to be the ghost of a woman who, in the 1700s, fell in love with a man her family did not approve of. While staying at Chatham, the young woman tried to elope with the man, but was caught while trying to escape her room by climbing down a rope ladder. The man is said to have been caught by regular Chatham visitor George Washington, and the girl was taken back to England to marry a more suitable man. On her deathbed, the woman is said to have announced that she would walk the Chatham terrace every seventh anniversary of her death, on June 21, 1790, to search for her lost love. Whether you believe the legend or not, the grounds of Chatham are a worthy destination for a romantic stroll. Be sure to pause to take in the sweeping view of Fredericksburg from the bluff overlooking the Rappahannock. And if ghosts are your thing, plan a trip in the fall and sign up for a ghost tour offered in downtown Fredericksburg.

Have an extra day?

Start it with breakfast at Mercantile, the new breakfast-themed restaurant owned by former Top Chef contestant Joy Crump. Walk off your meal with an antiques and art expedition through the galleries and antique shops of downtown Fredericksburg. Finish up with light bites and a carafe of wine at Castiglia’s, a favorite local date destination on William Street.

Last Updated:
August 16, 2020