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WANDERLUST - June 2019

Virginia by Train on the Northeast Regional

From Prince William County to Hampton, explore a variety of history and food in these five cities 


 By Jill Dutton


Amtrak’s Northeast Regional train runs daily from Boston to Washington D.C., and south of D.C. through Virginia. With multiple departures daily, it’s an ideal mode of transportation to visit several Virginia cities along the route.


Begin your journey in Washington, D.C. for a short 44 minute ride to the Quantico stop in Prince William County. 

Prince William County
























Step back in time and be immersed in America’s history in Prince William County, VA. Located just 30 miles west of Washington, D.C., Prince William County is an affordable destination filled with everything from Civil War battlefields, museums and historic sites, performing arts venues, and exquisite shopping at both outlet stores and boutiques. Spanning from the Bull Run Mountains to the stunning shores of the Potomac River, Prince William County also offers countless outdoor recreation opportunities. 


  • Visit Historic Occoquan. Explore the shops (be sure and stop by Mom’s Apple Pies for a fresh slice), then head down to the river for a guided kayak tour on the Occoquan River with Penguin Paddling at Hampton’s Landing Marina. 

  • Take a tour and Tasting at Effingham Winery.

  • Enjoy sunset and a blue crab dinner on the water at Tim’s Rivershore.


























Learn about the fascinating history of the area by visiting key sites such as Hugh Mercer Apothecary, Kenmore (home of George Washington’s sister, Betty), Mary Washington House (home of George Washington’s mother), Rising Sun Tavern and more. 

  • Check in at the Courtyard Fredericksburg Historic District. 

  • Drive to Ferry Farm for a tour of the property. Ferry Farm is where George Washington lived from the age of six until he was 20.    

  • Walk to Agora Downtown Coffee Shop, a local coffee shop that also functions as a used bookstore and gift shop.

  • Stop by Goolrick’s Modern Pharmacy, one of the oldest continuously-operating soda fountains in America, for a malt, milkshake, fresh squeezed lemonade, or cherry coke.

  • Hop on the trolley tour to explore historic downtown Fredericksburg. 

  • Dine at FoodE, a farm-to-table restaurant in a former bank building. Chef Joy Crump was a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef” and owns another eatery downtown, Mercantile.

  • Enjoy a dinner at Kybecca, known for its small plates, craft cocktails, and decadent desserts.


























Whether your interests are trains or historic sites, visit to enjoy Ashland’s small town hospitality.


  • Check in at Henry Clay Inn. This Georgian-style Inn is a centerpiece in historic Ashland, VA, “The Center of the Universe!” Located directly behind the train station, this quaint inn offers a morning brunch in a historic home. The Drawing Room opens onto a spacious porch for sitting back and enjoying the sights and sounds of Ashland and is particularly popular with train fans. 

  • Pick up a sack lunch (or enjoy it on the street side patio) at the Ashland Meat Company. You’ll find locally-sourced foods at this deli and grocery store.

  • Sit outside at Iron Horse Restaurant and watch the trains roll past. Be sure and try their local artichoke soup—creamy, warm, and soothing.

  • View the train mural in downtown Ashland.


























Colonial Williamsburg –Travel back in time and immerse yourself in an 18th-century city. Explore historic buildings and wander through gardens. Engage our nation’s founders and gain a new perspective on our American story. Guests of all ages can meet the nation’s founders, enjoy period stories, and even try their hands at historic trades and games, with a focus on fun for young revolutionaries.


  • Check in at Patrick Henry Inn. Ideally located only half a block from historic Williamsburg, the resort provides the perfect place to begin your journey back in time. Plan your day from the comfort of your cozy studio, roomy 1-bedroom premium suite, or spacious 2- or 3-bedroom accommodations or spacious 2-bedroom suite complete with full kitchen, separate living and dining areas and all the comforts of home.  

  • At Colonial Williamsburg, stop by King’s Arms Tavern for a cup of peanut soup.

  • Visit the Jamestown Settlement–Ever wonder what Pocahontas’ childhood was really like? Here’s your chance to tour a re-created Powhatan Indian village and take part in activities Pocahontas herself would have helped with as a child, like grinding corn and making cordage. Tour a re-created 1610-1614 colonial fort to experience its military and commercial character.



























Check in at Hampton Inn Hampton-Newport News 


  • The Hampton History Museum recounts the history of America’s oldest, continuous English-founded settlement from its inhabitance by the Kecoughtan Indians to its role as the original home of NASA and the U.S. space program.

  • The Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute, now Hampton University, opened its doors in 1868 under founder General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. The institution educated freedmen and later Native Americans. 

  • While at Hampton University, visit the Emancipation Oak, site of the first Southern reading of the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • Head to Queens Way for dinner at Brown Chicken Brown Cow, a hip, downtown spot for burgers and barbecue. 

  • Board the Miss Hampton II a double-decked tour boat that offers daily narrated cruises of the Hampton Roads harbor and Chesapeake Bay. 

  • Take a tour of the Virginia Air & Space Center. The Virginia Air & Space Center, the official visitor center for NASA Langley Research Center, features over 100 hands-on exhibits. 

  • Go for a spin on The Hampton Carousel. Built in 1920, the carousel is completely restored to its original beauty and housed in its own weather-protected pavilion on the city’s downtown waterfront. 

  • Dinner at Mango Mangeaux. Experience the charming neighborhood of Phoebus at Mango Mangeaux. The restaurant owners entered the limelight as contestants on ABC’s SharkTank when trying to find a partner for their Mango Mangeaux preserves product. Though they didn’t reel in a deal with a shark, they did catch thousands of new customers for their preserves, which can be enjoyed in many of the dishes at their restaurant.  


























  • Then take a Segway tour of historic Fort Monroe with Patriot Tours and Provisions.

  • Dinner at The Deadrise, the Old Point Comfort Marina restaurant. Enjoy unrivaled views of Hampton Roads from Hampton’s top fresh-catch restaurant. 



Kansas City

Evolving Magazine

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Jill Dutton is the publisher of Evolving Magazine. As a travel writer, she takes an intimate look at authentic travel experiences. Follow her travels at Her train guide, “Ride the Southwest Chief” publishes in 2019. Find her “Best of Kansas City: 3-Day Itinerary” book on Amazon.



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