Spotsylvania (also known as Spotsylvania Courthouse) is the county seat of Spotsylvania County, Virginia. Its original inhabitants were a Siouan-speaking tribe called the Manahoac. Spotsylvania County was established in 1721 and named in Latin for the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, Alexander Spotswood.
Spotsylvania has a lot of historic ties to the Civil War, with many battles fought in the county, including the Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of the Wilderness, Battle of Fredericksburg, and Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. This earned Spotsylvania the title “Crossroads of the Civil War.” General Stonewall Jackson was shot and mortally wounded by friendly fire in Spotsylvania County during the Battle of Chancellorsville.
While some parts of the county are still somewhat rural, Spotsylvania County is largely made up of suburban areas. There has been an influx of new residents to Spotsylvania in recent years because of the relatively low cost of living, with many residents commuting to northern Virginia or Washington, D.C. for work. The local urban and community forests are very important to locals, and new housing developments are being built with green spaces for both residents and visitors to enjoy. There are quite a few of these green spaces to explore in the area, many of which are former Civil War battlefields, such as Wilderness Battlefield and Chancellorsville Battlefield.
Lake Anna State Park is located near Glenora, in Spotsylvania County, Virginia. With more than 15 miles of trails, the park offers many hiking opportunities for you and your pooch. The park is also home to one of Virginia's most popular lakes. For history buffs, the visitor center exhibits trace the history of gold mining in the area, and there are also guided tours of the Goodwin Gold Mine. If you fancy spending a bit more time in Lake Anna State Park, overnight stays are available in camping cabins, lodges, and cabins, many of which have fabulous views of the lake.
The wonderfully-named Duff McDuff Green Memorial Park consists of 60 acres of open fields and woodlands along the Rappahannock River, southeast of Fredericksburg. From the observation deck overlooking the river, you can keep an eye out for wood ducks and belted kingfishers. Duff Dog Park has no less than three off-leash areas for your pooch: a small dog park for dogs under 30 lbs that has plenty of tree shade; a large dog park for dogs over 30 lbs. that has four shade structures; and a large off-leash area of almost 7 acres for all dogs, which is fenced on 3 sides and boarded by the Rappahannock River on the other. All areas have agility equipment, toys, water and bag dispensers.
Potomac Point Vineyard & Winery is a dog-friendly winery in the beautiful surroundings of Stafford, Virginia. You and your pooch can have a seat in their magnificent courtyard, where you can relax with a glass of wine and sample delicacies from their bistro. There are wine tastings, facility tours and a full bistro serving lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch. And not only is it dog-friendly, it’s kid-friendly as well! Bring the kids and they can spend some play time in “Little Buds Room,” where there are books, toys, bean bags, and more for them to enjoy.
Dogs are welcome to play off-leash at Louisa County Bark Park, a fenced park in Mineral, Virginia. The park is free to the public to use during the day, when it's not being used for canine training by the Sheriff's Department or other Parks, Recreation and Tourism sponsored activities. There are no water facilities at the Bark Park, though, so make sure you bring water with you for you and your dog. You'll also need some waste bags to clean up those inevitable messes. Please note that aggressive dogs are prohibited, and all dogs must be current on their vaccinations.
If you’re looking for a dog-friendly spot to stop for a bite to eat, check out C'est Bon Cafe & Patisserie in Spotsylvania. Billing itself as, “the corner where country meets Creole”, the menu offers lots of New Orleans favorites, such as gumbo, shrimp and grits, and red beans and rice, as well as salads, soups and sandwiches. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, there are lots of treats on offer, including Beignets, which are light and fluffy fried dough, made the New Orleans way, and topped with powdered sugar. There is also plenty of dog-friendly seating outdoors where you and the pooch can relax. Bone Appetit!