From farmer’s markets to farm wineries, the historical city of Fredericksburg is home to a variety of hidden gems for farm experiences
In a time where innovation and progress can overwhelm all else, Fredericksburg’s few remaining farms give visitors the chance to slow down and savor each moment. The deeply historical city is home to a selection of hidden gems for those looking to reconnect with nature in the homiest of settings.
Fredericksburg’s Belvedere Plantation has a history as bounteous as its breadth. The 645-acre farm was built in the 1760s on the Rappahannock River by Colonel William Dangerfield. The colonel’s colonial-style plantation home has been preserved on the property.
Today, it continues to operate as a functioning plantation, producing corn, wheat and other crops. Moreover, it doubles as a locale for fun farm experiences and education.
The plantation is well-known for its annual Fall Harvest Festival, with the Maize Maze and Pumpkin Patch as signature attractions. Additionally, there are more than 30 activities in total for guests to choose from. With this variety, even the pickiest visitors can find something to enjoy.
The plantation also hosts an annual Easter Eggstravaganza. There, guests can participate in an Easter egg hunt, enjoy a pancake breakfast, capture photos with farm animals and witness the firing of a candy cannon, among other activities.
Between these annual events, Belvedere is available for rent as a venue for group events and school field trips.
Belvedere Plantation’s variety of activity options is matched only by its variety of food options. Guests can grab lunch from either the Red Rooster Grill or Legs, Wings N Things. Additionally, the Bakery Café allows visitors to indulge in fudge, donuts, hot apple cider and other treats. They can fuel their sweet tooth further with freshly-fried funnel cakes and choices from Cogburn’s Treats.
A Fredericksburg staple for over 80 years, Braehead Farm is committed to providing the freshest of produce and the full farm experience. Braehead was established in 1937 by Emmett C. Snead, and his legacy has been preserved by generations of family ever since.
Braehead raises beef cows and grows seasonal crops, such as strawberries, kale, asparagus and arugula. Guests can purchase this produce at the Braehead Farm Market, along with fresh milk, cheese, ice cream, eggs and honey. Select crops are even available for Braehead’s pick-your-own-produce option.
In addition to the food goods, guests can participate in a plethora of activities. Braehead is home to play barns, swings and slides, sand piles, push tractors and plenty of farm animals to interact with.
Guests have the option of packing a picnic or enjoying a hot meal from the Braehead Farm Kitchen. This eatery serves barbecue, hotdogs, hamburgers, grilled chicken and gluten-free items for those with dietary restrictions.
The farm is open all days of the year, but holds additional events annually to help the community celebrate fall, Easter and Christmas.
Miller Farms Market
Located just outside Fredericksburg, Miller Farms Market is putting the “farm” back in “farmer’s market.” The location was established in 1946 by Willard Miller as a dairy operation. It transitioned into a produce farm in 2003 when the latest Miller generation sold the dairy cows.
Today, Miller Farms Market grows year-round and remains committed to providing patrons with an authentic farm experience and seasonal produce. Those visiting this summer can look forward to seasonal tomatoes, sweet corn, watermelons and squash, among others. Furthermore, the farm’s fresh beef, chickens, eggs and raw honey are available for purchase in the market.
The farm seeks to expose visitors to the products of other small businesses by stocking them in their market. Their patrons can enjoy fresh dairy products from South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland, and coffee from a Virginia roastery.
Those who visit Miller Farms Market on Saturdays have the unique opportunity of enjoying a meal from Jojo’s Kitchen. The eatery serves homemade breakfast, lunch and dipped ice cream cones.
One location in Fredericksburg offers a farm experience slightly different from the rest. Hartwood Winery gives guests the dual opportunity of sampling a variety of wines and enjoying views of a picturesque estate.
The winery was built by Jim Livingston in 1989, who had been immersed in wine making since 1975. With the establishment of Hartwood and the first commercial winery in the county, Livingston helped to pioneer the wine industry in Virginia. Residents of Fredericksburg and visitors can experience this expertise and history with every sip.
The winery’s tasting events allow guests to sample some of their 15 wines. Their Seyval Blanc, for instance, is a light and crisp white wine made from grapes grown in a lot right in front of the winery. In addition, visitors are able to take tours of the cellar and learn about the process of crafting the wines they sample.
While the tasting events are geared toward the 21-plus crowd, the winery is completely kid and pet friendly. There are antique toys available for play and a wealth of outdoor space to put to use. Moreover, all canines who visit Hartwood Winery will have the honor of receiving a blue ribbon from the Hartwood Kennel Club.
Guests can indulge in various snacks sold by the winery. In addition, visitors are encouraged to pack a picnic to enjoy in the tasting room or one of their seating areas.