When the crisp air of autumn arrives, there’s nothing better than a fall getaway to make the most of the season. Just a short drive from D.C., Fredericksburg proves you don’t have to travel far to take a major departure from the daily grind, with fall festivals, scenic destinations and heart-warming good times at every turn. Grab a sweater and go – the season that inspired pumpkin spice everything is best enjoyed in the Fredericksburg Area!
1 - Parks and Trails
Whether you take an urban hike along the historic Rappahannock Canal Walk in downtown Fredericksburg, venture out to Aquia Landing Park for stunning views of the Potomac River and fall wildlife, or follow one of beautiful Belmont’s Nature Trails, now’s the time to head outdoors for full fall color immersion therapy.
2 - Fall Festivals
To relive your childhood – or watch your kids do it for you – you have plenty of fall festival fun to choose from in Fredericksburg, with pumpkin patches in every direction. Pick your own future jack-o-lanterns, master a corn maze and go on a hayride at ongoing Harvest Festivals at Belvedere Plantation and Braehead Farm. Pay a visit to Miller Farms Market for local foods, garden goods and free hayrides. Head to the Stafford County Agricultural & Homemaking Fair for homemade food, craft exhibits, animal competitions and more – carnival rides, the tractor pull and demolition derby promise classic fall thrills!
3 - Ghosts of the Fredericksburg Area
The countdown to Halloween is on, making fall’s deliciously spooky appeal undeniable. Where so much history fills the air, the Fredericksburg Area is said to have more ghosts than any other area in America. Locals tell tales of whispers heard in historic halls, tavern objects moving on their own, ghostly girls and apparitions of soldiers. Visit Kenmore Plantation, Chatham Manor, join a Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour or Olde Town Carriage Ghost Tour to decide for yourself – it might be more than the brisk fall weather giving you that chill.
4 - Craft Breweries
Raise a pint to fall with the complex flavors of a fine craft beer at a Fredericksburg brewery. Start your tap tour in Downtown Fredericksburg, where a new dining experience awaits at Spencer Devon Brewing. Nearby Adventure Brewing South is famous for classic lagers, seasonal stouts and ales. Maltese Brewing honors the heritage of firefighting with handcrafted brews, live music and food truck events. Head out to Stafford County to sample a flight at Adventure Brewing North and find out what’s on tap at Wild Run Brewing Co. No matter where you stop, you’ll find high quality and a friendly atmosphere – it’s no wonder the Fredericksburg Area’s beer scene is growing every year!
5 - Riverside Dinner Theater
Dinner and a show is the perfect way to be part of Fredericksburg’s thriving cultural arts scene. The fall schedule of Broadway at the Riverside Center Dinner Theater was designed to entertain all season long, staging professional musical productions Thursday through Saturday evenings, along with matinees on Wednesday and Sunday. Whether you catch Sister Act before it closes in early November, or the opening of Mame that follows, you’re in for a gourmet theater experience at a top-notch venue.
6 - A. Smith Bowman
From its earliest Colonial days, the Fredericksburg Area has been home to talented makers of fine spirits. The tradition continues at A. Smith Bowman Distillery, where premium whiskey, rum, vodka and gin are handcrafted in small batches from the finest ingredients. Take a tour and try a tasting for a new appreciation of complex flavors and a rich heritage. Make your visit part of a journey through Stafford and Spotsylvania to discover four wineries and a brewery along the Grapes and Grains Trail.
7 - Historic Museums
Few places in America rival Fredericksburg’s history experience, having played host to the significant people and events of so many eras. Explore the past this fall at area museums to learn more about familiar themes (we’re talking about you, George Washington) – and be surprised at what you don’t know. For early American history, visit the James Monroe Museum and Historic Kenmore Plantation. Explore Civil War life at the White Oak Museum. Span the centuries in the halls and gardens of Belmont. Learn about the struggle for African American education at the John J. Wright Educational & Cultural Center Museum. Your brush with authentic American history definitely begins in Fredericksburg.
8 - Downtown Finds
Fall color rules in Downtown Fredericksburg this time of year, as harvest gold, brilliant orange and crimson red show up on everything from Main Street maple trees to gift shop windows. On a walking tour filled with interesting shops, classic Americana and tasty fare, you may wonder if you’ve crossed into another dimension – a timeless one. Order your favorite 20th century treat at the oldest continuously operating soda fountain in America, Goolrick’s Modern Pharmacy. Raise a mug to 1792 at the Rising Sun Tavern. Duck into Hugh Mercer’s Apothecary Shop to learn about the herbal remedies that kept colonial moms on top of their game.
9 - Artisan Shopping
A creative renaissance is underway in the Fredericksburg area, bringing an indie vibe to local galleries and shops. Artisan creations range from handmade ceramics, jewelry, woodcrafts and clothing to contemporary fine art and sculpture at Ponshop Studio and Gallery. You’ll find all things gourmet at Whittingham. Brilliant mosaics and unique jewelry make Bluebird Glass Studio a must. Recycled wood adds rustic beauty to the handcrafted home wares of Fraser Wood Elements. There’s always something new, so let us know what you find!
10 - Culinary Delights
Dining in the Fredericksburg area is always a foodie’s delight, but there’s something about the flavors of fall that make the experience even more satisfying. Breakfast at Mercantile is a local favorite, featuring doughnuts from Paul’s Bakery and pour-over coffees. Expertly made confections make breakfast, lunch and dinner irresistible at Butternut & Blue Bistro & Bakery. Careful crafting and farm-sourced ingredients make Kybecca a stellar choice. Visit Stafford for light appetizers at Zibibbo 73 – you’ll soon know why it’s earned accolades as one of Northern Virginia’s best restaurants.