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Top 10 Scenic Roads in the Fredericksburg Area
Through the trees along River Road in Spotsylvania County, drivers get quick glimpses of the Rappahannock.
FILE/Robert A. Martin/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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By Kelly Hannon
BEFORE LONG, ANY stretch of road without traffic will look scenic after living in the Fredericksburg area.
Living on the cusp of the Washington metropolitan area is a tremendous amenity, but traffic on Interstate 95 is relentless, and it requires that drivers keep their eyes fixed on both the road and surrounding vehicles at all times.
More than once, I've arrived at my destination feeling as if I've just completed a cardio workout.
Relaxing, it is not.
But do not despair. A mere 10 to 15 minutes after exiting I-95, State Route 3 or U.S. 17, drivers can find themselves passing farms and Civil War battlefields, shops, clusters of trees or national parks.
The following is a short, subjective list of a few of my favorite scenic drives in the Fredericksburg area.
Technically, this 105-mile road isn't in the immediate Fredericksburg area. But we're so close, and any local list of Virginia scenic drives is incomplete without it.
Skyline Drive is one of four National Scenic Byways in Virginia. Pick it up by taking State Route 522 from Culpeper to Sperryville in Rappahannock County, and follow the signs for Skyline Drive.
Pick a road, any road, in Orange County, and I can almost guarantee it'll be scenic. I drove through Orange several times a year on my way from Stafford to college at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, and for several years afterward when I worked at a newspaper in Lynchburg.
There's a reason James Madison chose Montpelier as his home. Somehow, I never feel more like a Virginian than when I'm rounding the curves of these roads, especially in the fall. I'm partial to U.S. 15, and the section of State Route 20 between downtown Orange and Barboursville.
People-watch along Caroline Street in downtown Fredericksburg, park your car and walk a few blocks. This is where I always take friends who are visiting from out of town. Continue straight on Caroline, as it turns into Riverside Drive; you'll get a great view of the Rappahannock River.
Aquia Landing and Marlborough Point
For more information on scenic drives throughout Virginia, you can:
Order a free Map of Scenic Roads in Virginia online at virginiadot.org, or by calling the Virginia Department of Transportation at 800/367-7623.
The Virginia Tourism Corporation lists plenty of tourism destinations, with directions, at virginia.org.