Take a break from sipping your own supply and swing by Fredericksburg, Virginia for the perfect weekend road trip for whiskey lovers, foodies, and outdoor enthusiasts.
First Stop: Explore Virginia’s Oldest and Most Award-Winning Distillery
Let your pioneer spirit flow at A. Smith Bowman Distillery for a complimentary tour and tasting. After all, getting to enjoy their pre-Prohibition traditions is the perfect start to a well-deserved getaway — especially if you’re in the spirit to try their Whisky Magazine “World’s Best Bourbon” winners, such as their John J. Bowman Single Barrel Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Quick history lesson: In 1927, before establishing the family’s Distillery, A. Smith Bowman purchased a 7,200-acre farm in Fairfax County called Sunset Hills. Shortly after bringing his dairy and granary idea to life, his fields became so abundant that he needed a use for the excess grain. In 1934, with his cows well-fed and his grain silos packed to the rafters, A. Smith Bowman Distillery was established and, up until the 1950s, the family farm became the sole producer of legal whiskey in the Commonwealth.
Although the Distillery has since relocated to Fredericksburg, it still continues to balance long-lived traditions, honoring Virginia’s great pioneers, with experimentation and innovation to create some of the finest spirits in the Commonwealth.
The Distinction Is in the Details
From fermentation of its mash to filling up the stills lovingly nicknamed “Mary” and “George” — which pay homage to the parents of the Bowman Brothers — A. Smith Bowman Distillery stays true to its time honored traditions and pays attention to the tiniest details in every step of the process.
During your complimentary tour, you’ll get to explore every corner of Virginia’s oldest Distillery, from Master Distiller Brian Prewitt’s “Playground” to its new state-of-the-art bottling line that can label, fill, cork, and laser sketch each bottle before it gets shipped to your local store. After your tour and tasting, check out the gift shop to pick up a bottle or two of your new favorite as well as some great Virginia-made, bourbon-infused sauces, home decor made from reclaimed bourbon barrels, and much more.
Eat Like a Local and Try Fredericksburg’s Favorite Spots
After your tour, head downtown let your taste buds continue the exploration. You’re in for a treat as Fredericksburg has a little bit of everything waiting for you on the menu! If you are in the mood for fresh, authentic Italian, Orofino is a must. If you’re long overdue for a romantic date night, enjoy an intimate farm-to-table dinner at Foode. Have an appetite for homemade German dishes? Your mouth watering bratwurst at The Alpine Chef is even brought to your socially-distanced table by a dirndl-dressed server. (Psst. The German word for delicious is Köstlich, by the way.)
Get Lost in History
The city of Fredericksburg is rich in history — from George Washington’s childhood home to Civil War battlefields and the James Monroe Museum. The best part? Fredericksburg is an extremely walkable town. You can either travel by foot or hop on a trolley from Trolley Tours of Fredericksburg to ensure you don’t miss a thing. Stroll through the city’s Historic District, visit more than 100 unique shops, or join a candlelit walking ghost tour.
Connect with the Great Outdoors
Autumn is the perfect time to bask in nature’s beauty, so why not take advantage? Rent a canoe from River Rock Outfitter and paddle down the Rappahannock River, cycle along 15 miles of scenic trails, or check out the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail, which connects with the city’s Canal Path to make a 3-mile loop. Bring your camping gear and call it a night at nearby Lake Anna State Park. For the angler, there are numerous great spots to cast your line into one of the park’s fishing ponds or try your luck for bass and giant blue catfish along the banks of the Rappahannock River.