Ten Shops To Visit In Historic Downtown Fredericksburg, Virginia
by Esme Addison
I love small towns.
Living in them, or visiting them. I swoon for historic districts, cozy main streets and artsy villages. Fredericksburg is a favorite. I lived here for a time due to its close proximity to Quantico when I was a military spouse, and was pleasantly surprised to discover it was a town rich in history.
Growing up in North Carolina, I was well-versed in Civil War history, having gone to many historical sites and museums with my parents but Revolutionary War? Not so much. In fact, I really don’t remember learning much about it at all. I must’ve missed that day in social studies class.
After I moved to Fredericksburg, not only did the Civil War-era come to life, but so did the Revolutionary War and the colonial period generally. And I have enjoyed visiting homes and museums of America’s forefathers and important figures in the founding of our country. All this to say, that Fredericksburg is steeped in history and it’s within this context that I enjoy visiting the downtown area of the city.
Though there are vintage and antique shops, many of the images I’m sharing today are of shops simply in old buildings originating from the founding of the town. And I find that enjoyable, learning about the old buildings, taking in the beauty of the facades and of course, shopping.
Click on the images below to view them as a slideshow.
1020 Caroline St Fredericksburg, VA
The Hugh Mercer Apothecary is the only historical listing in this article. Having an herbal apothecary in my own mystery series, you know this is one of my favorite places to visit. I’ve been here twice.
Undated picture of the Hugh Mercer Apothecary.
It’s very small but has staff dressed in period clothing, they’re very knowledgeable and share a lot of information about Mercer, his apothecary and the role it played in the town.
Caroline Street was named for Caroline of Ansbach, wife and queen to King George II. When you visit Fredericksburg and realize that the majority of the downtown streets are name for the English royal family in power at the time of the founding, it makes the colonial history of America real for generations far removed from the time when our country was owned by another.
This image depicts Caroline Street in the late 1920’s
211 William Street Fredericksburg, VA
I stopped by this store with my son thinking it was just a whimsical candy store. It is that but also much more. Full of retro jewelry, nicknames, toys and chotzkies. Sweet Sheep is the kind of shop where you find yourself buying things just because. And then there’s the whole possum theme. There’s cute possum… stuff everywhere. Magnets, books, mugs, toys… It makes you wonder why a candy shop would have a possum shop, right?
I was fortunate enough to run into the shop owner pictured below, with you guessed it a possum. And I asked her about the possum theme. She explained that she was a possum educator for the local school system and had amassed a large collection of possum related items to sell – so many that she decided to create a shop to house them.
The vintage jewelry collection was my favorite, though I’m pretty sure the old fashion display of candy was the clear winner for my son.
William Street is named for Prince William Augustus, the second son of King George II and Caroline of Anspach.
The 400 block of William Street.
920 Caroline Store Fredericksburg, VA
I always enjoy shopping in locally-sourced stores. Made In Virginia was no exception. There were so many items I wanted to purchase. I ended up with a tea and honey themed cart. Which by the way were delicious. I also snagged a couple jars of apple butter. I’ve been looking for locally made apple butter ever since I found a recipe for apple butter pie I want to try.
Lastly, I found a bottle of my favorite wine: Octagon by Barboursville Winery. Perfect place for gift shopping – especially if you’re just gifting yourself.
Caroline Street in the early 1900’s.
Random pictures I took on Caroline Street depicting some of the interesting Christmas decor I came upon.
206 George Street Fredericksburg, VA
It’s really hard for me to not stop at a cupcake shop when I see one. I just want to go inside and see the cute decor – because it’s always cute, right? And then I want to smell the scents of a cupcakery: butter and sugar while perusing the various flavors. Fredericksburg Cupcake is a small storefront with a nice variety of cupcakes. I grabbed a Guinness Stout flavored cupcake just to see what it tasted like and a few others for my family.
The Guiness cupcake was good. Chocolatey enhanced by the earthy stout flavor. If you enjoy stouts (and I do) it’s a fun flavor to try.
810 Caroline St Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Much like a cupcakery, it’s nearly impossible for me to pass up a bookstore. Bookstores are kind of my kryptonite! This is probably true for most writers, though. Jabberwocky is a cute children’s bookstore filled with a large collection of books in a small cozy space. It’s located in the Shops of 810, a small mall of interesting shops you’ll enjoy.
726 Caroline St Fredericksburg, VA
This apothecary is pretty close to the one my characters work in in my Enchanted Bay Mystery series – except for the magically enchanted products of course. There are soaps, bath bombs, bath salt blends… all the things I love. This shop is adorable with it’s candy-colored decor and products to the aromatic fragrances wafting through the rooms. If you love bath time, it will be hard to resist buying. up the shop! Everything is made by the two owners – I love it!
714 Caroline St, Fredericksburg, VA
If you’re familiar with the cozy mystery genre, you’ll know the small town setting is filled with mom and pop stores with puntastic names. Duly Noted fits the bill for a cozy shop in a cozy mystery. Duly Noted is a stationary shop. Writing.. notes… Get it?!
And it’s lovely. Filled with stationary, journals and other paper goods, it’s a pretty one-stop shop for all your writing needs. They even offer candles to create a cozy writing mood. Delightful!
708 Caroline St. Fredericksburg, VA
This is a shop I wanted to spend more time in. By the time my son and I found this shop, he was laden down with packages (cupcakes, books and candy from a sidewalk santa) and ready to go home, so I was mindful of not staying too long. Besides, Beck’s is the kind of place where you want to take your time viewing all of the items and discussing with the owner.
Antique shops are so interesting. As a writer, I see a mystery in every piece. A story waiting to be written. I took a quick walk through and almost got lost in their antique book section. Old books!!! I love them. Such a treasure trove of knowledge, and Beck’s specializes in Civil War history. The collection made me want to create a new book set during the time period just to justify the research and expenditure of buying all the books. But alas I did not. But I will be back – alone!
805 Caroline St Fredericksburg, VA
Ay-ohhh! More books. This multi-leveled bookstore is crammed with both new and used books. Very cozy with book nooks for reading. This would be a favorite haunt of mine if I lived here.
Gorgeous quirky red door. That’s all.
I just thought it was interesting.
And that’s what I like about most historic downtown areas, the eclectic nature of the environment works together to create an interesting esthetic that conjures memories of old along with the new.
I forgot to photograph the name of this used clothes shop in downtown Fredericksburg, but I just had to photograph this window.
Isn’t it gorgeous? So elegant. So Christmas-y.
1021 Caroline Street Fredericksburg, VA
By the time I reached this store, I’d actually ended my tour of downtown. My son was tired, and I was ready to head home. But! I was intrigued by Whittingham’s amazing window display. I love fake food anything, and this display was full of life sized sweet treats!
How adorable. My pictures don’t do this display justice, but how could I not come in? And I’m so happy I did. So many gorgeous items. I took way too many images.
I didn’t photograph the next door The Kitchen at Whittingham but I did find a Downton Abbey tea I’d planned to buy online for my mother as a Christmas gift.
Beautiful store. Both sides!
Visiting downtown Fredericksburg is a vibe. A whole day. A fun day. There are so many shops to see, and I didn’t visit half of them in this post. Not to mention the restaurants, museums and other sights to see. Definitely one of my favorite places to while away a day. I’ll have to return for a follow up post.
Have a favorite place in downtown Fredericksburg? Let me know in comments.