Jeani's Top 5 ~ "Other" Things to do in Fredericksburg, VA
As school came to an end and summer grew closer, my family and I started looking for possible trip ideas for our annual vacation. Several suggestions were made and after exploring the options, and available timeshare units, we came upon a small town located between Washington, DC and Richmond, VA. Fredericksburg, VA is a nice size town that holds a wealth of historical information and secrets. While technically located in the "south" during the Civil War, it exchanged hands 7 times being occupied by both the Confederate and Union Armies. Just minutes from the Chancellorsville Battlefield where the second bloodiest battle of the war was fought, and where General Stonewall Jackson lost his arm Fredericksburg is a must for any Civil War buff.
Traveling with three or four generations like we often do, we have learned to be mindful of everyone's interests. While my father could spend the entire week exploring and learning about the Civil War, the rest of us (my mother, sister, and 10 year old daughter) were hoping for a little more variety, and thanks to the Fredericksburg Visitor Center... did we ever find it here!
Here are my top 5 "other" things to do in Fredericksburg, VA.
Fredericksburg Visitor Center
- Welcome to ghostsoffredericksburg.com
My sister's favorite way to "learn" about a city is by doing a ghost tour. This tradition started when she was in England on an exchange program in college and has carried thru into her adulthood. She introduced my parents to this experience when she returned to England with them three years ago, and was very excited to introduce my daughter and I to ghost tours during this trip.
I was nervous at first, my daughter is a sensitive soul and I didn't want her scared. After calling and talking with the group that lead the tour we decided this was definitely a family-friendly tour. The 90 minute tour took us thru the streets of Fredericksburg, pointing out several local historical attractions and sharing the paranormal experiences each held. A future hub, Jeani's Top 5 ~ Ghost Stories of Fredericksburg, will go into detail of these stories
As a newbie to the ghost tour experience, I have to admit I LOVED it! We did our tour the first night we were in town which I would highly recommend. It was a great way to meet other people visiting the area, a fun way to learn of local attractions and a unique way for the town to share its history with us!
Pinkadilly Tea at Smythe's Cottage
For Christmas this year my family exchanged "gift certificates" for future activities we wanted to do with each other, again a future hub will further explain. My sister's gift certificate was for High Tea so imagine her delight in being able to join two of her favorite things, High Tea and ghosts into a single event.
Mary Smythe is said to haunt this quaint cottage that she hanged herself in after being accused of being both a Union sympathizer and madame by her husband when he returned from war. It is said that if you mention her in this way while visiting you may have a candle mysteriously blown out or a sugar container thrown against a wall. This, along with the bright pink sign had my daughter begging for more.
We were not disappointed! Upon entering the cottage you are engulfed in pink walls, lace table clothes, tea cup decor, and more. They had hats that we could try on and use during our stay and staff that went out of their way to make the experience fun and exciting. While we didn't get to experience tea with a ghost like my daughter hoped, we did come away with a great memory and a unique idea for a end of the summer party for my daughter and her friends.
Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center
- Home - Fredericksburg Area Museum - Fredericksburg Area Museum Fredericksburg Area Museum &
Fredericksburg Area Museum & Cultural Center
Museums are nothing new for our family, in fact they are a favorite attraction on most of our trips. What made this museum interesting and somewhat unique for me, especially in a Civil War town, was that the displays were done from the point of view of the citizens of the town. It was explained when we entered that there was a lot of information and museums dedicated to the "military" aspect of the Civil War, but very little from the side of the common citizen of the day.
The displays throughout the museum told of experiences from the voices of slaves, women and children of the time. While the Civil War was included, there were also displays for World War I, World War II, Civil Rights Movement and much more. There were many interactive displays that provided audio descriptions, huts you could crawl into, a bank vault you could explore and a "theater" section that allowed you to experience first hand the dress of the era.
Sammy T's Self Serve Frozen Yogurt
- Sammy T's Light Food & Ale in Fredericksburg, Virginia
Located in downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia, Sammy T's offers a wide selection of delicious, interesting food items with many vegetarian/vegan options.
Found completely by accident, but visited the next two time on purpose Sammy T's was a family favorite. With heat indexes over 105 during our visit we were excited to find this cool way to end our days. Providing 10 flavors and over 40 toppings to chose from this self-serve yogurt stop is a must! Ample seating both inside in the air conditioning, or outside under the shade of the yawning to sit and enjoy your creation.
We never did make it to the restaurant side of things as we were doing picnic lunches to save money, yep another future hub, we had no reservations about splurging for a treat. Not available anywhere else, so a must have while your in town!
Horse Drawn Carriage Ride Tour
- Olde Towne Carriage Tours of Fredericksburg - Home
Historical Tours, Old Town Fredericksburg Historical Sites, Carriage Tours.
Again noticed by my daughter on our first day while visiting the Visitor's Center, the horse drawn carriage ride thru town was an immediate want. We almost missed this great opportunity though because when we returned a few days later, we found the temperatures too high for the horses. We were lucky though and on our last day we were able to go on this fascinating tour.
Joined by two guides, one driving and the other riding along in the carriage you are driven thru the streets of Fredericksburg. They do a nice job of pointing out local attractions, but also taking your lead on what your interests might be. Quickly realizing my family were geeks for "little known facts" our guide shared things such as George Washington and his mother not always seeing eye to eye on things and a love story gone bad for a visiting plantation owners daughter and her less than ideal suitor.
While this was how we finished our trip, it would have been an ideal activity to do at the beginning to get a sampling of attractions and decide what you want to go back to and learn more about.
While definitely known for its Civil War history, Fredericksburg has so much more to offer. Hopefully I have given the non-Civil War enthusiast a few ideas of things you can enjoy while visiting the beautiful town of Fredericksburg, VA.