Absorb the rich history and heritage of Virginia this fall while being surrounded by flashes of orange and yellow. Most assuredly, a walk along cobblestone streets brings a piece of Virginia’s patriotic past to your present. Huzzah! These 48-hour getaways are made for those who thrive in beautiful surroundings with a story to tell.
Architecture takes center stage in the capital city, and fall foliage makes it all the more breathtaking. Among your must-sees are Agecroft Hall, a 15th-century English Tudor-style home rebuilt in Richmond in 1925; Virginia House, a 12th-century house transported from England to Richmond in 1925, redesigned and rebuilt with gardens by Charles Gillette; and Maymont, a Victorian estate and mansion furnished with rare, shiny things, and surrounded by lush gardens and stately trees.
As you admire the town, dine around and enjoy the tastes, too. The Dairy Bar is a milkshake hot-spot while Can Can Brasserie is a fine place for dinner in bustling Carytown. Just on the outskirts of downtown proper and on the banks of the James is The Boathouse at Rocketts Landing. Sunsets from the deck are breathtaking.
The rest of your hours can be spent traversing beautiful places in greater Richmond, like Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Meadow Farm Museum. Or, take a trip down plantation lane, or Route 5, as it’s more commonly known. Along the James River are the James River Plantations – Belle Air, Berkeley, Edgewood, North Bend, Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation, Shirley, Sherwood Forest, and Westover. Some are open to the public and others are not. Please call ahead if you’d like to make a visit.
Loaded with Civil War history, as well as presidential history, the Fredericksburg area has fall fun in store with historic haunts. Touting several farm-to-table restaurants, you’ll have no trouble finding a great place to eat. It’s the decision that’s tough. Will it be Bistro Bethem, FoodE, or maybe Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen?
Get down to serious shenanigans of a historic kind with the Ghosts of Fredericksburg Tour. It’s a 90-minute, leisurely paced walking tour complete with a costumed guide wielding a lantern.
Hit the history hard, but in the daylight this time. In your midst is Fredericksburg Battlefield and National Cemetery, the Confederate Cemetery, St. George’s Church, and Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop. Sprinkle in stops along the way, like lunch at Virginia Barbeque and a sweet treat at Goolrick’s Pharmacy.
Looking to skirt around some history and add a dash of adrenaline-burning fun for the kids? Belvedere Plantation is your place. Pick your own pumpkins, enjoy a hayride, visit with the animals at the petting zoo, and even take a turn in the Maize Maze.
Heart of Appalachia Driving Tour
Get in touch with coal mining heritage, mountain music heritage, and the beautiful natural wonders of Southwest Virginia when you spend 48 hours driving through autumn’s color.
The Pocahontas Exhibition Mine and Museum in Tazewell County was an operational mine from 1882 to 1955 and is the only exhibition coal mine designated a National Historic Landmark. Swing through for photos or call to arrange a tour if you’re with 11 or more people.
Nearby, the Crab Orchard Museum & Pioneer Park shares their 14 log cabins to display life from the 1800s – when this area was considered the “wild, wild west.” Speaking of “the west” being here in Southwest Virginia, don’t miss Breaks Interstate Park, dubbed the “Grand Canyon of the South.” It’s right on the Virginia/Kentucky border and the overlooks will absolutely, unequivocally take. your. breath. away. In fact, settle in for the night in one of their luxury cabins, and enjoy dinner at the Rhododendron Restaurant on-site.
Tap into the music and arts heritage of the area with stops at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, the John Fox Jr. Museum (author of Trail of the Lonesome Pine and other novels), and the June Tolliver House & Folk Art Center in Big Stone Gap.
If you want to further extend your stay or add in some outdoor sites, consider Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, Gap Caverns, Wilderness Road State Park, or Natural Tunnel State Park. Each is an immensely beautiful and important stop.
If you’re looking for more suggestions on places to spend 48 hours of your time this fall in Virginia, see these previous posts from our series of eight:
Virginia is for Lovers.