10 Reasons to Visit Fredericksburg this Fall
The air has just the faintest chill and the foliage along the Rappahannock River is beginning to turn. It’s Fall in Fredericksburg, and all season-long, there’s natural beauty to take in and things to do, even in our new socially distant world. At 292 years-old, Fredericksburg is looking pretty good: it’s as historic as it is vibrant. Here are the top 10 reasons to visit Fredericksburg this Fall:
1. The great outdoors: Fredericksburg has a robust trail system through and around the city. The Rappahannock River Heritage Trail connects with the city’s Canal Path to make a 3-mile loop, from Fall Hill Avenue to Princess Anne Street. Walkers, runners and bikers and can take in views of the river and stop over at Old Mill Park. Particularly beautiful this time of year is the river overlook along Riverside Drive.Also a fun hike this time of the year is the Virginia Central Railway Trail, which has views of Hazel Run and the historic Virginia Central Railway bed from the path. This wooded walk has plenty of potential for foliage freaks along the 2.7-mile trail. Along the VCR Trail is Alum Springs Park, one of Fredericksburg’s best kept secrets. This wooded park is equipped with a picnic shelter, picnic tables, restrooms, grills, play equipment and walking paths. This wooded park has gorgeous stream views and plenty of room to explore.
2. The craft breweries: If you get thirsty on your walk, Red Dragon Brewery is a quick jaunt from the Heritage Trail. The brewery offers weekly beer launches and canned beer made in-house to-go. They also curbside pickup for those wary of going inside. It’s also a hub for food trucks on weekends.
In the heart of downtown is Spencer Devon Brewing. The brewery has an outdoor seating area and used fresh, local ingredients to make seasonal beer. They have the same philosophy with their food and likewise are offering curbside pickup.
Strangeways Brewing is a little further out, but well worth the trip. The brewery has a constantly revolving set of beer made in-house, and an outside bar that offers additional safety.
Oktoberfest might not happen with throngs of crowds this year, but Capital Ale House is offering Oktoberfest specials in the restaurant. Limited edition steins are available for purchase to fill up with the beer of your choice.
3. The pets: Downtown is dog friendly, as is the trail system. You’ll see lots of canines in every neighborhood. After your pets have exhausted the walking paths and sniffed out all there is to find along the historic streets, check out Dog Krazy on William Street. The store features nutrition experts, adorable toys and accessories of all kinds. Find your dog’s costume for Halloween or pick up a personalized birthday treat for your pet. It’s a perfect place to pamper your pooch.
Looking to enjoy a meal while you are hanging out your pup? Downtown Fredericksburg has sidewalk cafes where you can dine and your dog can relax. You can view a list of Dog-friendly Restaurants here. Don’t forget to head over to the LOVE sign at Hurkamp Park and take a self with your best friend!
4. The farm life: Located within the city limits is a sprawling farm that is full of Fall fun. Braehead Farm’s Fall Festival Weekends start Sept. 26 and run through Oct. 25. To control crowds, the festival requires pre-purchased timed tickets. The festival weekend includes hayrides, a corn maze, a sunflower maze, farm animals, games and 28 pumpkin patches for plenty of social distancing. Pick your own pumpkins is available anytime, even without a ticket, as is Braehead’s farm market, lunches and picnic space.
Looking for a variety of fall produce? The Fredericksburg Farmer’s Market is centrally located in Hurkamp Park each Saturday morning. This time of year, vendors have mums, pumpkins, an assortment of squash and many other local veggies and products to discover. Find Clyde Howard’s Farm preserves, Roberto’s Produce with every vegetable imaginable, Walnut Hollow Naturals with seasons cut flowers and handmade soaps, pies from Mandala Pies and much, much more by local makers
5. The ghosts: Olde Town Carriage Tours is hosting its “Witches, Ghost, Thieves, Murder and Mayhem Tour” through the end of October. These 75-minute ghost tours include the folklore of the city including the ghosts of Chatham, Fielding Lewis, and purported demons. Advance ticket purchases are recommended, and the tours meet at the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, 706 Caroline St.
Fredericksburg Hauntings Candlelit Walking Ghost Tour starts their Friday and Saturday tours on Friday, September 26 and runs through Saturday, October 31. Tours are at 6:30pm and 8:30pm and leave from the Fredericksburg Visitor Center, 706 Caroline St. You can make your reservation by calling 540-760-5450.
Downtown has more than its fair share of cemeteries and old homes. If you want to walk around downtown and take in the local haunts for yourself, check out this guide.
6. The Halloween fun: A little less scary, but still fun are the other Halloween events in town. Downtown businesses compete in an annual scarecrow contest in October for bragging rights. Each business creates their own scarecrow and visitors vote on the winning creation. We’ve seen straw mermaids at seafood restaurants, scarecrows filled with coffee beans and other on-brand burlap creations.
One of the newest additions to Fredericksburg is the Fred Nats ballpark. Throughout the Fall, the stadium is hosting movie nights. Fans can sit socially distanced in the outfield and enjoy a family friendly movie on the biggest screen in town. Admission is free but is limited to the first 1,000 movie-goers.
7. The history: Our museums are opening back up to the public, and downtown has plenty of history to share. The James Monroe Museum, dedicated to the life and work of the fifth president, is ready for visitors. Tucked into a pocket along Charles Street right next to the scenic Masonic Cemetery, it’s a must-visit in the Autumn.
The Fredericksburg Area Museum, located at the very center of downtown, is also open. To ensure safety, the museum is offering timed tickets for purchase online. And throughout the Fall, FAM has its “Evening with and Expert” lecture series, all about this historic city.
The Washington Heritage Museums, a collection of museums including the Mary Washington House and the Rising Sun Tavern, are open again, as well. The garden at the Mary Washington House on Charles Street is an oasis in that neighborhood and has new plants to see at every turn of the season. The museum group’s Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop also has a delightful garden at its Caroline Street location.
Kenmore, the home of George Washington’s sister Betty and her husband Fielding Lewis, is also open for tours. The house itself is a marvel, with hand-shaped plaster ceilings. And its park, which takes up a whole block on Washington Avenue is a peaceful place to spend an afternoon.
8. The artisan shopping: Fredericksburg’s merchant row is located on Caroline St. and it is a haven for artists. Now is a great time to find one-of-a-kind items before the holiday shopping season hits its full stride. Ponshop, a gallery with handmade pottery, jewelry, art and other works, has a notable strategy to keep customers safe. Simply point to the object and they’ll help out!
If your shopping bent tends more toward clothing, check out Phosphene Studio, which offers women’s clothing and household items that are ethically made and independently designed. The store is thoughtfully curated.
On the same black is a triple-threat for foodies. Local wine proprietor City Vino is two doors down while artisanal olive oil seller Taste Oil Vinegar Spice and chocolatier FAVOR Chocolates are just across the street.
On the other side of downtown, LibertyTown Arts Workshop has also reopened with enhanced safety measures. They offer an assortment of artists booths from pottery to painting and everything in between, take-and-make kits for families and classes.
9. The culinary delights: Fredericksburg has a restaurant for every taste. Local favorite Foode is seasonal and Southern, and is located in a historic building at 900 Princess Anne St. They offer outdoor seating as well as easy-to-order to-go food for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Italian restaurant Orofino has a courtyard perfect for distanced dining. They feature a new region of Italy every month with specials distinct to that locale.
Pimenta has authentic Jamaican food and delightful cocktails. Like many local eateries, they source food locally. So, it’s likely that jerk chicken grew up right down the road.
10. Even more hidden gems: This city is full of nooks and crannies that go unnoticed to the average day tripper. Market Square, at the corner of Princess Anne and Willian streets behind the Fredericksburg Area Museum, is a great place to eat lunch al fresco, with its cobblestones and platform steps. Vendors used to sell their wares to locals there, but now it’s a good place to meet and spend time.
We have an antique shop on nearly every block downtown, but Beck’s Antiques is great fun in the Fall. The store has rare, unique finds and when the weather turns cold, their roaring hearth is cozy and inviting.
Fredericksburgers are spoiled for coffee. Between Hyperion Espresso, Curitiba Café, 25-30 Espresso, Agora Downtown and Xquizit Coffee Roasters—just to name a few—we’re well caffeinated in the ‘Burg. But one of our best kept secrets for fans of coffee and pastries alike is Here and Abroad Café. Tucked into an alley off Princess Anne Street., they serve up hot coffee, flaky pastries and delectable sandwiches for those in the know every day but Monday.
It’s easy to fall in love with Fredericksburg this autumn.
Don’t forget to share your fall fun photos with us on social media with #visitfred #fxbgva #loveva