Visit Fredericksburg, Va., one of three ways: on a budget, spending a bit more, or when the getaway calls for a splurge.
Getting there: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is a little more than an hour’s drive to Fredericksburg. Washington’s Dulles Airport and Richmond’s airport are a 75-minute drive. One-way rates during frequent sale periods start from $59 to Richmond and $145 to Washington.
Stay: WyteStone Suites of Fredericksburg offers suites with a parlor sofa bed, a work area and easy chair. The galley area includes a wet bar, refrigerator, microwave and coffeemaker. The hotel is less than a 45-minute drive from Paramount’s Kings Dominion, a popular amusement park in Doswell featuring Intimidator 305, one of the world’s tallest coasters. Rates from $100. 4615 Southpoint Parkway. 540-891-1112, www.wytestonesuitesfredericksburg.com.
Eat: Order an egg cream, a malted milkshake or an ice cream soda at Goolrick’s Pharmacy, the oldest continuously running soda fountain in the U.S. (since 1869). Open for breakfast and lunch with classic BLT’s, grilled cheese, chicken and tuna salad sandwiches. $4-$7. 901 Caroline St. 540-373-3411. Indulge the sweet tooth further with a stop at Carl’s Frozen Custard, a 1940s roadside ice cream stand where three flavors (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) are churned in 120-gallon Electro-Freeze ice cream machines. $3. 2200 Princess Anne St. 540-372-4457.
Experience: Retrace the footsteps of Civil War soldiers in the Fredericksburg/Spotsylvania National Military Park, the second largest military park in the world. Spanning more than 8,000 acres, the park consists of four battlefields: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House. Each of the four battlefields has numerous walking trails and a driving tour connects the four battlefields (the entire driving tour encompasses nearly 60 miles). Guided walking tours with park historians are offered in certain locations. Visitor centers at Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg interpret the four battlefields with audio-visual presentations and museum exhibits. The park also has three historic buildings open to the public: Chatham Manor, Ellwood and the “Stonewall” Jackson Shrine. 120 Chatham Lane. 540-373-6122, www.nps.gov/frsp/index.htm. From its Colonial heritage to the horror of being the focal point of four major Civil War battles, Fredericksburg is said to have more ghosts than any other city in America. Costumed guides conduct a 90-minute candlelight walking tour of folklore, mysterious tales and surprises. Fridays, Saturdays. $11 adults, under age 7 free. 540-710-3002, www.ghostsoffredericksburg.com.
Stay: Book at least two weeks in advance for weekend rates from $129 at the Courtyard Fredericksburg, the only hotel in the historic area. On site are a bistro, 24-hour gym and an indoor pool. The hotel is located a short stroll from shops and the waterfront and minutes from Civil War battlefields. 620 Caroline St. 540-373-8300, www.marriott.com.
Eat: Renovated in 2008, Kybecca Wine Bar is situated at the center of Fredericksburg’s historic district with craft beers, fine wine and a farm-to-table tapas menu. Small plates $5-8; entrees $14-$18. Save room for a unique dessert of s’mores made with housemade eiswein marshmallows, $7. Sunday brunch $6-$14. 402 William St. 540-373-3338, http://kybecca.com.
Experience: Take a trolley tour through downtown Fredericksburg’s 40-block historic district. The 75-minute tour includes monuments, historic homes and the famous Sunken Road — site of the Battle of Fredericksburg — along with the Confederate and Union cemeteries. Adult, $17; children age 5-12, $8. 706 Caroline St. 540-898-0737, www.fredericksburgtrolley.com. Browse through more than 100 specialty shops, art galleries and boutiques in the historic district, which is filled with more than 350 original 18th and early 19th century buildings. The town’s antique shops hold keepsakes from rural and urban estates throughout the Southeast at exceptionally reasonable prices.
Stay: A two-night package (from $260) at the Lavender Heights B&B includes an afternoon on the Grapes & Grains Trail, a behind-the-scenes, self-guided tour of four Fredericksburg area award-winning wineries, the Blue & Grey Micro-Brewery and the historic A. Smith Bowman Distillery. Included is a VIP tour of each facility, a logo tasting glass and gift shop discounts. The inn is five minutes from Old Town Fredericksburg. 419 Forbes St. 540-361-4593, www.fredericksburgvabedandbreakfast.com.
Eat: Chefs at Foode source 85 percent to 90 percent of the food served from local farms and merchants. Browse the ever-changing menu and order at the counter. Small plates, $5-$10; entrees, $13-$24; Saturday and Sunday brunch, $4-$10. 1006 C-D Caroline St. 540-479-1370, http://foodeonline.com.
Experience: Spend a summer day on the picturesque and pristine Rappahannock River. Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available for rental, along with shuttle service to various points along the river. A tandem canoe or kayak, including paddles, life jacket and shuttle, from $55. 3219 Fall Hill Ave. 540-371-5085; http://playva.com. Finish the day at the Riverside Dinner Theater with a private, candlelit table for dinner and a live Broadway-style musical. Show-only tickets, $40; dinner and show, $55-$60. 95 Riverside Parkway. 1-888-999-8527, www.riversidedt.com.
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Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.