Fall 2011 Travel: Fredericksburg, Virginia

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A sunset hike in Virginia. (See more photos below.)Drive time: Less than 4 hours.

Four of the Civil War’s bloodiest battlefields: Chancellorsville, Spotsylvania Courthouse, The Wilderness, Fredericksburg. Very few places in the nation offer a more in-depth and dramatic historical perspective of the war, or a more appropriate place to commemorate its sesquicentennial.

But there’s a happier side to Fredericksburg history. George Washington slept here—for 16 years between the ages of 6 and 22—and his family left a rich legacy that the city and surrounding counties are happy to share. (All attractions are located in Fredericksburg, unless otherwise noted.)

Stay Here

Co-owner Dan Spear relocated and restored the seven private 18th- and 19th-century cottages and homes (including one owned by George Washington’s grandfather) that make up the Inn at Stevenson Ridge. Its 87 wooded acres feature a fishing pond. $135-$150 weekdays, $165-$175 weekends; mansion suite $285. 6901 Meeting St., Spotsylvania; (540) 538-3777, stevensonridge.com.

Eat Here

At Bistro Bethem, chef Blake Bethem offers a Southern American menu (think monkfish with crispy grits) that changes daily. Don’t miss the coconut cake. Entrées from the low $20s. 309 William St.; (540) 371-9999, bistrobethem.com.

Join the locals at Amy’s Café for “grandma’s” potato soup and “stuffed” eggs. Entrées from $9.95. 103 W. Cambridge St., Falmouth; (540) 373-3663, amyscafefalmouth.com.

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