Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Fredericksburg Virginia

Fredericksburg, VA is a charming small town about an hour southwest of DC.  I had the opportunity to visit recently and had a wonderful time!  I began my visit at the beautiful home and art studio of Gari Melcher.  Being an Art History student myself I can't believe it's taken me this long to visit this beautiful tribute to such a wonderful artist! 

Gari was the son of German-born American Sculpture Julius Theodore Melchers, so art was definitely in his blood!  He grew up in Detroit Michigan and at 17, traveled to Dusseldorf, Germany to begin his own artistic journey studying painting at The Kunstakademie Dusseldorf .  He studied under the Baltic German Historical painter, Eduard von Gebhardt.  After a few years he began studies in Paris and then moved onto Holland.  Holland captivated him and he began a series of paintings depicting life in the country while settling in Egmond.
After a time in Holland, Gari moved on to other places, capturing other subjects in his work.  He traveled in the art circles of London, Paris, Holland, New York and became a well established American painter in the Victorian Era.  Gari met Corrine on an ocean liner bound for America, at the time she was a young art student from Baltimore and was quite taken with Gari and his work.  They met, socialized in the same circles and married in 1903. 

Belmont dates back to the 1790's and is still stunning over 200 years later!  Gari and his wife Corrine purchased the Belmont estate in 1916 while it was suffering decay.  They saw it as a promising country house and poured their energies into making it a beautiful home once again!  No detail was overlooked or too small!  The two of them fell in love with the refurbishing of the home and filled it with treasures they found on their travels!  Paintings from many artists Gari befriended over the years hang on the walls.  Some of Corrines beautiful still lifes grace the walls upstairs.  Victorian sofas, carved, canopy beds, stunning Chinese porcelain and many, many other beautiful treasures can be found here, set up just as the Melchers would have had it decorated. 
The property around the house is just as beautiful and special!  A small, quaint spring house sits in front of the house, a manicured open area garden graces the side off the sunroom, a small summer house sits at the far end of the property and overlooks the river below.
I had so much fun exploring this beautiful place, I hope you will make the journey and see it for yourself:)

Gari's studio is stunning, a large window almost covers one whole side of the building so that Gari could paint with natural light.  The interior is lovely!  Many of Gari's personal possessions are inside along with many of his paintings and sketches! 

The studio is just as captivating as the home and I imagined many guests of the Melchers walking from the house into this studio and being mesmerized by the beauties they found within!  Furniture, paintings, sculptures, treasures from travel, oriental rugs, and even palettes and paints can be found here!

Saying Adieu to this lovely estate was tough, but Downtown Fredericksburg, I was sure, would ease the pain! ;)
Downtown Historic Fredericksburg is an Antique lovers dream, a Trendy Boutique-rs Best Friend and a Foodie's Favorite!  Since I encompass all of these traits, I had a great time!  The streets here are booming with commerce!  Shops, restaurants, hotels and homes fill these streets.  You could easily spend a weekend here!  Now let's see, where you simply must go, see below:)   

Blue Shark Antiques was the first shop I ventured into and it surprised and delighted me!  Lovely accents, paintings and furniture filled this space and I loved hunting for goodies!!!

Way back When Antiques is a fantastic shop for furniture!  They had some really unique pieces:)  I fell in love with this little mahogany stained, cane settee!  Oh my stars I wanted to buy it!!!

Forage is a pre-owned paradise of top brand clothing and accessories for women!  You can find everything from Anthropologie and J.Crew labels to Lilly Pulitzer and Marc Jacobs:)  The ladies inside are super sweet and ready to help you however you desire!

Hyperion Espresso is a Fredericksburg staple!  If you're looking for a fantastic cup of coffee and then some, hit this place up solo or bring your friends along!  The perfect afternoon hang out and with a menu that includes select sandwiches and salads from Foode, which is just down the street, this place rocks:)  

Hooked might be my favorite place in Fredericksburg!  Owned and operated by a very cool Husband and Wife, this place boasts vintage cameras, video game consoles, games and hook-ups, vintage clothing and accessories!  They also carry vinyl and new clothing lines as well.  Look out for their adorable bulldog who will greet you as you walk in:)

Where should you go for dinner, you ask?  Looking for something local?  Farm to Table?  Look no further than Foode!!!  Owners Joy and Beth know local and fresh and are ready to serve you and yours up something truly amazing!  Best friends who met in Atlanta, GA ditched their corporate jobs and started their own restaurant and I'm sure glad they did!!!  There is something for every taste, from oven-roasted chicken to ribeye steaks, burgers, flatbreads and much, much more:) 

I thought I'd go ahead and treat my Mama to a good meal! :)

Legacy is a charming little boutique filled with beautifully crafted decor for your home!  You'll find the sweetest seasonal decor here too!  Their Americana decor was darling!!!

Becks is Fredericksburg's premiere antique shop featuring art, fine china, beautiful furniture, books and stunning silver pieces!  The shop owners are absolutely lovely and know a lot about antiques:)   

Du Jardin is another home decor store featuring beautiful paintings by local artists as well as garden accents, frames and candles.  

Castiglias Italian Resturant and Pizzeria, if you're in the mood for Italian!  

Afternoon Tea is usually hard to find, but in Fredericksburg, look no further than Tea Tyme:)  Whether you're in the mood for a late breakfast, Afternoon Tea or lunch, Tea Tyme can offer you over 100 different teas, sconces, tea cookies, sandwiches and more, all in a cozy, inviting atmosphere!

Monkee's, a sweet little boutique on the main drag offers up all things Lilly and then some!  Everything from clothing to shoes to accessories, it's all here!!! :)  You'll find all your favorite brands under this one roof, there's Lilly Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, TOMS, Hunter, FRYE and much, much more!!! 

Simply walking the streets in this town is a delight, something beautiful every step of the way:)

The Home of Mary Washington, Mother of George Washington is also here!  Standing tall and grand on the corner of Charles and Lewis street, this beautiful white framed house was bought by George Washington and given to his Mother in 1772.  George Washington came here to receive his Mother's blessing before he was inaugurated in 1789.  In 1889, Preservation Virginia saved it from being disassembled and taken to the World's Fair in Chicago.  After the house underwent restorations, it was opened for the public to enjoy!   Visitors can tour the home, kitchen and gardens at their leisure:)

After your tour, continue down the quiet surrounding streets, the houses here are so beautiful!  Take in a late afternoon stroll and enjoy:)

The Fredericksburg National Cemetery near the Fredericksburg Battlefield is another wonderfully quiet place for a walk, a place to reflect and think of all that happened here so long ago.

Enjoy Fredericksburg, a little slice of American Apple Pie! :)

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