Presidents Day - local locations to visit

in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania and Stafford, VA

By Mailynn Nguyen, Junior Reporter for Macaroni Kid Fredericksburg February 16, 2023

From the famed boyhood home of Washington --and the myriad other George Washington-related locations downtown-- to the steps Lincoln used when he visited, the Fredericksburg area is rich with presidential history. We all know that our presidents, even those we consider the greatest, had their flaws, but it’s still fun to take time on President’s Day to visit historic presidential spots in Fredericksburg and nearby Stafford. Keep reading for a glimpse of all the interactive history these sites have to offer! 

Ferry Farm

The home of George Washington during his younger years, Ferry Farm was where the Washington family lived after their house in Pope’s Creek --where Washinton was born-- burned down. George Washington’s father died here, and George’s mother Mary, deep in debt, carried on without remarrying. Learn how the work of the enslaved people at Ferry Farm kept the Washingtons afloat during those years, take a tour of the new, hands-on reconstruction of the Washington house, or learn about the archeological processes that went into uncovering where the real Washington-era house was. Ferry Farm also has a garden, a riverfront, and a museum that will host a George Washington birthday event on February 21. Visit their website to learn more. 

Photo Credit: Jenny Sites

Mary Washington House

Mary Washington, George’s mother, lived in this Fredericksburg home from 1772 until her breast cancer-related death in 1789. The house is near Mary’s favorite Mediation Rock --where she is buried-- and Kenmore, the home of Mary’s only surviving daughter, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband Fielding Lewis. Today, you can take a tour of the historic building, walk in the gardens, and look into the mirror George Washington once used. Visit their website for details. 

Photo Credit: Washington Heritage Museums


George Washington’s sister, Betty Lewis, lived here with her husband, Fielding Lewis, who was a merchant and a financial supporter of the American Revolution. Although the interactive visitor center, house and grounds are currently closed for two months of the winter, they will reopen in March with tours of the house. Visit the Kenmore website for more history and updates. 

Photo Credit:  Kevin Brown


Hugh Mercer, the 18th century doctor who cared for Mary Washington, was the doctor of Fredericksburg until his participation and death in the Battle of Princeton during the Revolutionary War. You may be surprised to learn that a good number of his treatments successfully treated his patients’ ailments, including several plants and ointments… and excluding the leeches, of course. The apothecary offers tours and an upstairs museum, and their website has more information. 

Photo Credit: Washington Heritage Museums

Rising Sun Tavern 

The Rising Sun Tavern was first built to be a house by George Washington’s brother, Charles. Later, the Wallace family made it into a tavern, which was in use for 35 years. Today, tours discuss the complex role of taverns as a social center, as well as the presence of the Washington family in Fredericksburg. Visit their website for more. 

Photo Credit: Washington Heritage Museums

Monroe Museum and Memorial Library

While the Washington family had a large presence in Fredericksburg, there were other presidents who also spent time here over the years. The James Monroe Museum and Memorial Library is located downtown, near where Monroe’s law office was located, though not on the exact foundation. The museum has several exhibits and an adjoining garden. Monroe, who was not only the fifth president of the United States but also a soldier in the Revolutionary War (and one of the few wounded in the Battle of Trenton), a minister to France, and a governor of Virginia, was one of the few founding fathers who did not die in debt. Learn all this and more at the museum, or visit their website for a virtual tour. 

Photo Credit: University of Mary Washington

Lincoln steps

Right outside the Fredericksburg Area Museum (the downtown museum with several exhibits and a large collection of artifacts, all relating to Fredericksburg history, culture, and art) is a small section of steps, which were once part of the bank building where the restaurant Foode is today. These steps were once used by Abraham Lincoln when he was visiting Fredericksburg, and to learn more about them --and walk in his footsteps yourself-- visit the Fredericksburg Area Museum or their website

Photo Credit: Fredericksburg Today

But don’t stop after Fredericksburg! Within two hours of downtown are many more presidential sites, including Pope’s Creek and Mount Vernon (George Washington), Monticello (Thomas Jefferson), Montpelier (James Madison), and Highland (James Monroe). Enjoy! 

Thank you to the following photographers for providing cover photo images: