All Aboard: Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg offers a pleasant stroll through history—and you can get there the old-fashioned way

By: Mary Burnham

The drive to Fredericksburg, Virginia, on I-95 can be as much as three hours of stop-and-go on a Friday afternoon. But you can save gas and aggravation by taking the train. Amtrak will get you there in about 70 minutes.

Once the train pulls into Fredericksburg’s historic 1910 station, you won’t need to drive. You can even enjoy a low-country Southern dinner at Claiborne’s, right inside the station.

For those who’d like to stay the weekend, the Richard Johnston Inn is a three-block walk, or someone from there can pick you up with 24-hours’ notice. A train getaway package includes 10 percent off a two-night stay—just show your tickets. The cozy brick inn is across Caroline Street from the visitors center, where you can book a narrated trolley tour, horse-drawn carriage ride, or guided walk.

Or you can grab a map and walk on your own in the footsteps of patriots, presidents, and Civil War generals. You can tour the Colonial gardens and home George Washington bought for his mother, Mary. Down the street is Kenmore, an elegant plantation and former home of his sister, Mary.

“The Burg” isn’t touted as the most haunted city in America for nothing. A ghost walk sets the bloody scene of four Civil War battles fought on these streets that claimed more than 100,000 lives.

If You Go

Amtrak trains leave Union Station for Fredericksburg several times a day ($21 to $31 one way); amtrak.com or 800-usa-rail. Monday through Friday, you can catch a VRE commuter train for just $9.10 one way; vre.org or 800-ride-vre.

The Richard Johnston Inn is at 711 Caroline Street; 877-557-0770; therichardjohnstoninn.com. Rates from $98.

The Visitor Center is at 706 Caroline Street; 800-678-4748; visitfred.com.

Claiborne’s restaurant is at 200 Lafayette Blvd.; 540-371-7080; claibornesrestaurant.com.

This article first appeared in the September 2008 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here.  

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