South of Washington, D.C. and north of Richmond, VA is the town of Fredericksburg, VA. Fredericksburg was a prominent port in Virginia during colonial times and during the Civil War, site of the Battle of Fredericksburg and Second Battle of Fredericksburg. Today the historic part of the town is a great place to walk around and explore boutique shops and artist studios. No trip would be complete without a stroll along the Rappahannock Canal Path. This paved pathway extends 1.8 miles and winds along the canal from Fall Hill Avenue to Princess Anne Street. And if your furbaby needs some off-leash time, stop by the Fredericksburg Dog Park, located on Kenmore Avenue near Mary Ball Street.
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Day Trip Itinerary
If you are visiting Fredericksburg, VA, a lovely historic area, and want to grab some fresh air out in a nearby northern Virginia vineyard, we recommend a trip out to Hartwood Winery and/or Potomac Point Winery & Vineyard:
345 Hartwood Road
Fredericksburg VA 22406
Photo of the tasting room bar at Hartwood Winery. Photo by Peggy Mihelich, All Rights Reserved
Hidden amongst new subdivision developments in rural Fredericksburg, is the small family run Hartwood Winery. It’s not much to look at from the outside — the tasting room is a rather simple old country house, however, inside is a pleasant space with a large wooden tasting bar and plenty of cloth covered tables for sipping and enjoying some meats and cheeses. Cork Hounds co-founder Jeremy and my dog Greta were along for this afternoon visit. Our pourer, Kyle, was very knowledgeable about the winery and the grapes. We learned that Hartwood has been making wine nice 1989 and that they grow some of their own grapes and get others from Virginia growers. We got to taste 12 wines for $7.00 and enjoyed many of them — going home with 4 bottles.
As we sat and enjoyed a bottle of the Deweese White, we took notice of the assortment of charming paintings for sale hanging on the tasting room walls. The lady at the table next to us turned out to be the artist!
Hartwood is dog-friendly in the tasting room, on the patio/porch and outside.
Award winning wines: Hartwood Station White, Rappahannock Red
Our favorites: Rappahannock White, Deweese White, Blushing Hart, Cabernet Sauvignon
Potomac Point Winery & Vineyard
275 Decatur Rd
Stafford, VA 22554
Photo of the vineyard and tasting room at Potomac Point Winery. Photo by Peggy Mihelich, All Rights Reserved
This Tuscan-themed winery has an elegant feel to it, with manicured grounds, topiaries, and fountains. The main house with tasting room is large and offers a restaurant with terrace seating. Dogs are welcome everywhere but the indoor lounge area. Potomac Point offers a wide selection of wines to taste. You can choose from the "Classic tasting" which features roughly 7 wines or their "Premier tasting," with up to 14 wines. If you plan to picnic with your own food, you’ll be relegated to their outlining picnic area or pavilion, located down the hill from the main house. The pavilion offers covered seating and restrooms, a nice respite on a hot summer VA day. The winery is one of the closest to Washington, DC, located a short drive off of I-95/Rt. 1 -- but check the traffic on 95 before you head out as this corridor can be very congested which could easily double the time it takes get you there and back home. Dogs are welcome inside the tasting room, outside, and on the patio where food is not served.
Award winning wines: Richland Reserve Heritage, Vino Camino
Our favorites: La Belle Vie
Dog-friendly hotels, inns and B&Bs:
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If you have a few extra days to explore Northern Virginia, there is much to see not only by land but by river.
Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park
The park encompasses four major Civil War battlefields: Battle of Fredericksburg, Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of the Wilderness, and Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. There are quite a few historic buildings within the park to explore: Chatham Manor, Salem Church, Ellwood Manor, and the house where Confederate general Stonewall Jackson died.
Photo of a Conferderate cannon from the Civil War at the Fredericksburg VA National Battlefield. Photo by Doug Francis / CC BY 2.0
Located off the Potomac River, Colonial Beach was a popular resort town in the early to mid-20th century, before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge made ocean beaches on the Eastern Shore of Maryland more accessible to visitors from Washington, D.C. If you can, arrive by boat, as visitors of the past once did at the "Playground on the Potomac."
Photo of Colonial Beach. Photo by Tom Saunders / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
An additional winery to visit
Wilderness Run Vineyards
11109 Plank Road
Spotsylvania, VA 22553
This farm-based vineyard prides itself for its relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery, featuring sprawling hills of vines and a pond you can fish at -- bring your own pole. A wine tasting consists of 6 different wines, including Tool Shed Red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. And they just opened a brewery, 1781 Brewing Company, which focuses on French, Belgian, and German farmhouse ales. Be sure to sample those too. Dogs are welcome inside the tasting room, outside and on the deck/patio.
Cover Photo is of the train bridge on the Rappahannock River. Photo by Rob Shenk / CC BY-SA 2.0