Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Time with girlfriends is a precious escape, and just in case you’re gathering to fête a newly engaged bride, most of the stops on this itinerary double as some of the Fredericksburg, VA, area’s best wedding or rehearsal dinner venues. Who said wedding planning had to be all work and no play?
Meet for an afternoon visit to Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont. Tour the beautiful Georgian home and gardens, view Melchers’ work and shop for inspired home furnishings and other goods in the gift shop. The garden and studio pavilion are both popular wedding venues.
Take a short drive into downtown Fredericksburg for dinner at Bistro Bethem, one of downtown’s many chef-owned restaurants. Cross William Street for after-dinner drinks on the rooftop bar at Vivify, which is so much more than a burger place.
Start the next morning by changing up your fitness routine with a group class at Fly Fitness Inspiration, Dragonfly Yoga or Pitaiyo. These three downtown fitness boutiques all offer their own unique blend of classes. They can also be a creative option for bridal parties in need of a wedding-weekend energy boost.
After working up a sweat, reward yourself with brunch at Sunken Well Tavern, a local favorite tucked in a charming Fredericksburg neighborhood. Back down on Caroline Street, indulge in a manicure or spa treatment at Studio D’Esthetique or a massage at Skin+Touch Therapy (both places to keep in mind for wedding prep or a pre-wedding massage on the big day).
Next, schedule a ride for your group with Olde Towne Carriages to get a private tour of downtown’s most historic and beautiful sites in a relaxed setting that will allow the conversation to keep flowing. These carriages are also a popular transportation option for Fredericksburg weddings.
Step off the carriage and fuel up with coffee and a treat from Agora Downtown Coffee Shop, which carries delicious house-baked goodies.
Then, give yourselves some time to browse downtown’s independent clothing boutiques. Monkee’s, Peacaloo Boutique, Forage and Hooked all approach women’s clothing from unique perspectives. Along the way you’ll spot many more shops and galleries to peek in that will have just the right accessory, piece of art of gift you’ve been trying to find.
If you’d rather stroll through downtown’s neighborhoods, don’t miss Kenmore Plantation, the historic Georgian mansion that was home to George Washington’s sister and her husband, Fielding Lewis. The property’s charming gardens have been known to be a popular setting for small weddings.
Take a seat at a sidewalk table at Kybecca and share a bottle of wine as you sample small plates off the menu here. Kybecca’s downstairs wine cellar, as well as its main dining rooms, make great locations for group events and receptions. Move on to entrees at Kybecca, or stroll to any number of other gourmet options along William Street, including La Petite Auberge, Ristorante Renato and Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen.
The next day, enjoy a hearty bed and breakfast meal before heading to the Spotsylvania Towne Centre for Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg’s Wine Trolley Tour. Great wine and great wedding-planning ideas both abound on this tour. The trolleys themselves can be booked for weddings, and the four wineries you’ll stop at—Eden Try, Wilderness Run, Lake Anna Winery and Mattaponi Winery—all welcome wedding parties and can serve as venues.
Back at the Spotsylvania Towne Centre, sit down for a meal at Bravo! Cucina Italiana. If you happen to be in the market for a gown, you’re right across the traffic circle from That’s My Dress. If you’re doing more dress shopping, add downtown’s Ava Laurènne Bride to your list.
Did you know? Braehead Manor is another great lodging option for a girls’ weekend or wedding party. This 1859 manor house is where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee took breakfast on the morning of the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862. This elegant bed and breakfast is surrounded by the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, making it a quiet place where your group can enjoy peaceful walks and conversation on the terrace, all within a minutes’ drive of some of the region’s best shopping and dining.
Have an extra day? Book a Rappahannock River trip with your girlfriends through the Virginia Outdoor Center (They also offer guided kayak trips on the Potomac in partnership with Potomac Point Winery), or take a stand-up paddle fitness class through River Rock Outfitter. If you’re looking for outdoors-themed wedding venues, be sure to check out Riverside Weddings by Clore for a secluded natural venue like no other.