46 miles south of the Pentagon, Northern Virginia and our Nation’s Capital, and straddling I95, the 137,000 residents of Stafford County find an optimal balance of commuting distance and affordable housing. Stafford County is bordered to the east by the Potomac River and King George County, the South by the Rappahannock River, the other side of which is the city of Fredericksburg to the left and Spotsylvania County to the right, the West by Fauquier County and the North by Quantico Marine Corp Base and Prince William County, VA.
Established and named after Staffordshire, England in 1664 Stafford was cut from Westmoreland County which touches the Potomac River and Maryland and included the areas now Arlington, Fairfax, Prince William, and the City of Alexandria.
The Stafford Iron Works furnished arms for the Colonial Rebel soldiers during the Revolutionary War. During the Civil War, several times battles ensued at Aquia Creek and for control of the Potomac Creek Bridge. More than 3,500 Union soldiers died in Stafford County during the winter of 1862 and 1863 from disease, exposure and infection. A major encampment is preserved at the 41 acre Stafford Civil War Park on Mt. Hope Rd. Opened in 2013 this land is where Union Troops recovered and licked their wounds from the Battle of Fredericksburg. Battles raging just across the Rappahannock river in Fredericksburg also drew wounded Union men to Chatham Manor just across the river (see comments on Chatham under Noteworthy attractions)
Stafford County is a great place to take up horseback riding, soccer, baseball and swim lessons at Curtis Park, the YMCA or Woodlands pool. Riverside Dinner Theater offers Broadway quality live performance and dinner. There are 57 churches of 13 denominations. Popular weekend activities include boating, fishing, excursions from the marinas on the Potomac and quiet adventures from Aquia Creek, Curtis Lake, Abel lake reservoir or Lake Mooney. There are also many parks and historic sites to visit and plenty of wineries and breweries to relax at.
Here there is plenty of space to roam, play, explore and learn in the vast country park and woodland settings of Stafford County all within close proximity to Washington, Richmond, and Coastal resources, farming communities, military bases, and governmental agencies.
Stop at one of Stafford’s delectable eating establishments like LuLu’s Fish and Grill, Paradise Diner, Amy’s, Vinnies Italian Grill, Panera, Poncho Villa, Kobe Steak House, Hunan House or Zibibbo’s Trattoria Italian Restaurant and Bar, just to name a few.
Hospitals for People and Pets
There are two local hospitals that serve Stafford County; Stafford Hospital on Route 1 in Stafford and Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg. There are at least seven animal hospitals/veterinary clinics in Stafford County with about half of them in North Stafford and half in South Stafford.
For the historians, many a story and event revolve around the famed and “haunted” Georgian style Chatham Manor overlooking the Rappahannock River. Discover the haunting story of “The Lady in White,” a guest of the manor, George Washington and his role in this young woman’s bonds of unrequited love. Built by William Fitzhugh from 1768 to 1771, the prosperous 1280 acre working plantation with orchard, dairy, crops, barn, stables, icehouse, mill, orchard, race track, fishery and slave quarters to more than 100 slaves afforded him a lively and extravagant lifestyle. Open to the public daily 9 – 4:30, a documentary and tours are available. Bring your camera!
George Washington’s boyhood home, Ferry Farm, along the Rappahannock River in southern Stafford County, east of Chatham Manor, has become a favorite tourist attraction and excavation and educational site in recent years. Closed in January and February, the property is otherwise open to the public daily and a fee is charged for tours to help fund the ongoing restorations and improvements to this historic landmark.
Southern Stafford County is the home of the national historic Landmark home, studio, galleries and gardens of famous artist Gari Melcher and his wife Corrine. Known as Belmont, this 27-acre property is definitely worth a tour. Gary Melcher was one of the most successful painters of his time, his greatest works during the 1890s though his career as an internationally sought after painter thrived through the 1920’s. Allow at least 1 ½ hours for the tour. It’s open daily 10 – 4 year round weather permitted, and till 5 from April through October admission is $10 per adult. It’s free to walk the grounds and gardens.
Stafford Visitors Center
Also housing the Stafford County Visitors Center, Belmont is located at 226 Washington St. Falmouth, VA. For a special treasure to keep or give away, visit the gift shop at Belmont.
Riverside Center for the Performing Arts
Just up the road from Belmont—and really quite a rare and special attraction in Stafford County—is Riverside Center for the Performing Arts premiere dinner theater and conference facility. Relax and enjoy a delicious fine dining experience with a 3-course meal and drinks before being dazzled by a spectacular live performance. Bringing Broadway to Virginia, reserve your seats for blockbusters such as Grease, Hair Spray, Evita, Man of La Mancha, Hello Dolly, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The Full Monty, Phantom, Fiddler on the Roof, and White Christmas. The theater offers six different shows a year.
Wineries and Breweries
There are a ton of bars, breweries, and wineries in Stafford County. Here are the local establishments (but visit the Fredericksburg neighborhood page
for more in the surrounding area):
-Adventure Brewing Company (2 locations)
-Potomac Point Winery
Lakes, Rivers, Pools
If you want a water experience, Stafford County does not disappoint. We have:
Aquia Creek with 4 Marinas just minutes to the Potomac River
Aquia Landing Park and beach at the intersection of Aquia Creek and the Potomac River
Crows Nest Natural Area Preserve
Curtis Park Pool
Jeff Rouse Swim Center
Rappahannock River - Little Falls Boat Ramp
Woodlands Pool – Open all year
YWCA Pool – Open all year
Stafford County has 3 Golf Clubs:
Gauntlet Golf Club located in South Western Stafford County and set around Curtis Lake.
Par 72, 6900 yard 18 hole PB Dye championship layout
Clubhouse with full service bar and grill
PGA staff offer lessons
Practice Bunker, driving range, chipping and putting greens
Augustine Golf Club located in Central Stafford County in the subdivision of Augustine
18 hole award winning course
Clubhouse with Grille
Practice driving range, putting green
Cannon Ridge Golf Club located in southern Stafford County at the end of Celebrate Virginia pkw.
Other attractions in Stafford County:
Cavalier Family Skating Center
Historic Port of Falmouth
Ferry Farm – Washington’s boyhood home
White Oak Civil War Museum
Aquia Espiscopal Church dates back to 1751
Maranatha Alpaca Farm
The Virginia Railway Express
Fredericksburg Regional Transit (FRED Transit)
This is a vehicle dependent county.
Types of Homes in the Area
From estates and farms on huge tracts of land to one-bedroom apartments in walking distance to shopping, Stafford County has most every type of dwelling you could possibly desire whether you want to rent or buy. You won’t find many condos here but apartments to rent and townhomes to buy or rent are readily available.
Public Schools in Stafford County
Stafford County public schools boasts 17 Elementary Schools, 8 Middle Schools, and 5 High Schools. Visit their website for all the details about each.
Private Schools in Stafford County with grades at least to 5
Colonial Academy (Baptist) PK-8
Fredericskburg Christian School (Stafford campus) PK - 5
Grace Preparatory School (Christian) K - 12
Holy Cross Academy (Catholic) PK - 8
South Stafford Christian School (Baptist) PK – 12
St. William of York Catholic School (Catholic) PK - 8
Stafford County Fair
Fall & Harvest Festivals abound everywhere during October
Easter Egg Hunts at Gari Melchers, Richland Baptist church and other places
Friday Night Music at Potomac Point Winery
Wearing of the Green at Potomac Point Winery