A majority of the Historic District attractions are along Princess Anne Street within an easy walk from the visitor center, but don't miss several notable monuments along broad Washington Avenue north of Kenmore Plantation & Gardens. Mary Ball Washington is buried at Meditation Rock, a spot where she often came to pray and meditate; there's a monument there in her honor. Just across the way is the Thomas Jefferson Religious Liberty Monument, commemorating Jefferson's Fredericksburg meeting with George Mason, Edmond Pendleton, George Wythe, and Thomas Ludwell Lee in 1777 to draft the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom. The Hugh Mercer Monument, off Fauquier Street, honors the doctor who died fighting in the Revolutionary War and whose apothecary shop is now a museum.
Semper Fi -- The U.S. Marine Corps Museum
Rising like a beacon beside I-95 about halfway between Fredericksburg and Alexandria is the sloping steel tower atop the terrific National Museum of the Marine Corps, 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy. (U.S. 1) in Triangle (tel. 877/635-1775 or 703/784-6115; www.usmcmuseum.org). The shape of this stunning, modernistic building evokes the famous scene of leathernecks raising the U.S. flag over Iwo Jima during World War II -- the 210-foot-tall tower slopes at the same angle as their improvised battlefield flag pole. It stands above a glass-ceiling rotunda at the museum's center, from which are suspended Marine Corps aircraft dating back to World War I. Exhibits in a labyrinth of rooms trace the corps' history since its inception in 1775. Sounds from numerous audiovisual effects can be a bit distracting, but many of the high-tech exhibits are especially good at re-creating battlefield reality. For example, a Korean War battle takes place in a chilled room to capture wintertime conditions in that conflict, while a Vietnam skirmish takes place in stifling tropical heat. You'll also feel what it was like to fly in a noisy, shaking Vietnam-era helicopter. You will need at least 3 hours to digest it all. Two cafes are present, so plan to have lunch before or after a 1 1/2-hour tour, usually guided by an ex-Marine docent; tours depart at 10am, noon, and 2pm. Admission is free. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm daily except Christmas. Take Exit 150 off I-95 at Triangle, go east to U.S. 1, and turn south to the museum.
Operated by the same company that goes to Tangier Island from Reedville on the Northern Neck, Rappahannock River Cruises (tel. 804/453-2628; www.tangiercruise.com) sends the stern-wheel City of Fredericksburg down the river from the city dock on Sophia Street from May through October. Most popular are the 2-hour lunch trips departing at noon Tuesday through Saturday. Fares are $26 for adults, $16.50 for children. The company also has dinner and Sunday brunch cruises. Call for reservations.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.