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NOTE: The descriptions of the places in this guide were accurate at the time the articles were posted. Please be advised that you should call ahead before traveling to any of them.

Fredericksburg VA - George Washington Slept here, and here and here.

By: Michelle Harper

CoolricksFredericksburg, VA is one of Virginia's most historic towns. Its location, almost equal distance between Richmond and Washington DC, has been both a blessing and a curse. This prime route between the nation's capital and the state capital have made it a major thoroughfare for many an important visitor. Fredericksburg has been blessed by visits from the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, Lafayette, as well as many other famous historical figures. In fact, George Washington not only grew up here, he loved the town so much, he had a home built there for his mother to spend her final years. Unfortunately, Fredericksburg also experienced tragedy as both the Union and Confederate soldiers fought bloody battles for rights to this strategic location. Even in modern times this route is still well traveled and its location is still convenient - just take Exit 130 off of I-95. Judging from the rumble of motorcycles we heard during our visit, many of you already know about this quaint town that is deceptively large, yet offers old time charm in a bustling atmosphere.

Start your tour of Old Town at the Visitor Center at Caroline St. To enhance your visit, a viewing of the film is recommended on the history of Fredericksburg. While in old town be sure to visit the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop to develop an appreciation of how far modern medicine has come since Colonial days. The Rising Sun Tavern offers you an opportunity to experience 18th century tavern life. You may also choose to visit the Mary Washington House, the home George Washington had built for his mother or historic Kenmore, the home of George Washington's sister Betty. The Visitor Center can provide additional information regarding rates and operating times for these attractions.

FredericksburgIn Old Town Fredericksburg you can find almost anything you never knew you needed ranging from kilts to kimonos. There are specialty store stores that appeal to everyone from Grateful Dead fans seeking one more glimpse of the "long strange trip," to new age punk/grungers seeking one more body piercing or that just perfect tattoo. Of course Fredericksburg also offers the staple course of offerings you find in northern Virginia - antique furniture, jewelry and Civil War memorabilia. It is also worth noting that some of the buildings themselves are at least as interesting as some of the merchandise you will find with their old wood floors, stairs leading all over the place, unusual twists and turns, and shops tucked in every conceivable nook and cranny.

When hunger strikes you, Fredericksburg offers a large array of choices of places to eat. However, if you are on a budget and have a taste for "the good old days", you might try a bite Goolricks on Caroline St., the oldest continuously operating soda fountain in America. Here they make fresh squeezed lemonade by the glass and it is one of the few places that actually offers peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as one if its menu selections. Carl's, located on Princess Anne St., is somewhat of a local icon famous for its soft frozen custard. As it isn't much to look at, it could easily be overlooked but one of our reader's assures that "a trip to Fredericksburg without going to Carl's is like Harley without Davidson."

In addition to Old Town, Fredericksburg offers many other attractions. If you are a Civil War buff, there are several nearby battlefields: Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, The Wilderness, and Spotsylvania Court House. To make the most of your visit, be sure and stop by the Visitors Center at both Chancellorsville Battlefield and Fredericksburg Battlefield. Belmont Plantation, the former home of artist Gari Melchers, and other historically significant sites such as Ferry Farm, George Washington's childhood home, are all within a few miles. Also, only a short drive away is Lake Anna. The perfect place to end your day of exploring by enjoying the great outdoors.

FredericksburgFredericksburg is both accessible and enjoyable by almost every mode of transportation known to man. In addition to our favorite mode of transportation - the motorcycle, this town can be enjoyed by trolley, horse and carriage, train, riverboat, automobile or by using your own two feet. If you prefer nostalgia and novelty, you might choose to ride the trolley or enjoy the romantic old-fashioned horse and carriage ride. Both of these depart from the Visitors Center on Caroline St. If you would like to experience Fredericksburg from a more nautical perspective, you may choose to cruise along the Rappahannock River while enjoying lunch or dinner on the "City of Fredericksburg". For a more up close and personal touch, you can also enjoy the tree lined old town by foot, as many of the shops and historic sites are within walking distance. In addition to all these options, you may also travel to Fredericksburg via the Virginia Railway Express. The train station is located in the heart of old town. Whether it is history, shopping, dining, or natural beauty that takes you on your journey, Fredericksburg will provide the ultimate destination. For additional information on Fredericksburg visit www.fredericksburgva.com, Fredericksburgguide.com/, or www.Spotsylvania.va.us.

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