Richmond to Culpeper (Route 3 to Route 1)
Richmonders welcome: When was the last time you took a road trip? Weekend road trips can be soothing to the soul, and the route from Richmond to Culpeper offers experiences that sum up Virginia’s cultural impact—both its history and natural beauty and its modern role as a place of delicious wine, great food and high art.
Drive to Culpeper
Start your trip with a visit to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. No matter the season, the garden always offers something beautiful in bloom. Take a leisurely walk around the shady paths and ponds and admire the seasonal flora. Explore the tropical landscape of the Conservatory where you’ll see live butterflies, a vast orchid display and more. The Garden Café and Tea House are currently closed but offer online ordering for pickup. Be sure to get your tickets to the gardens online ahead of time, as walk-ups are currently prohibited.
Make your way up to Mattaponi Winery in Spotsylvania County. This Native American, family owned vineyard specializes in fruit wines with a variety of Virginia berries. The winery also offers seasonal activities, such as strawberry picking and spruce and pine Christmas trees for sale. Events are hosted periodically, so check the winery’s Facebook page for the latest updates.
Stop by historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg for a tour. The Georgian-style mansion was built by George Washington’s sister and is the farm where young Washington spent his formative years. Limited occupancy tours are available and run an hour long. Reservations ahead of time are recommended.
Loop around to Wilderness Run Vineyards, located on a historic, family-owned farm in Spotsylvania County. Even the beer lover in your group will enjoy a visit here with 1781 Brewing Company right next door.
Stay in Culpeper
Finally, arrive in Culpeper at Old House Vineyards,Virginia’s first triple threat winery-brewery-distillery. The trifecta Old House offers makes it a must-see destination, with the unique bonus of a small but impressively curated WWII museum in the distillery’s tasting room.
Enjoy a farm-to-table meal at Grass Rootes, housed in the oldest commercial building in Culpeper dating back to the mid 1700’s. The location is said to be home to spirits of its past, repurposed as a tobacco warehouse and Civil War jail amongst others uses. Call it a night at the Loft on Davis, a beautifully renovated space featuring two Mid-Century styled master bedroom suites and a shared living room.
Rise and shine for a step back in time to the 1800’s through the tree-lined East Street Historic District, Culpeper’s first residential neighborhood to be labeled in the National Register of Historic Places. Pop into Raven’s Nest Coffee House at the end of your walk for cup of joe before setting out on your trip home.
Drive home from Culpeper
While on the drive in Fredericksburg, take a walk on the Rappahannock River Heritage Trail, a 1.5-mile paved walkway bordering the Rappahannock River. Along the route, various markers and virtual exploration opportunities can be found at each historical site you come across—and don’t forget to stop by Carl’s Ice Cream on the way.
When you return to Richmond, end your journey in the heart of Richmond’s Museum District at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. A true jewel, this fine art destination holds its own against museums at cities twice Richmond’s size. You’ll find a variety of classic and modern pieces in the permanent collection and beautifully designed rotating special exhibits. Grab a snack at the Best Café to enjoy in the outdoor sculpture garden or sit down at the VMFA’s upscale Amuse Restaurant for a gourmet meal before heading back home.