The Perfect Romantic Weekend Escape in Manassas and Prince William County
The Winery at La Grange
The Winery at La Grange
Antiquing near Brentsville Courthouse
What makes a destination the perfect couple’s getaway? Private cabana? Wine tastings? Spa treatments?
For me and my husband, the destination has to have a great combination of small town charm with plenty of outdoor activities to get us moving in the day and lots of great restaurants and a good bar scene to keep us entertained at night. A cozy B&B helps set the scene and our weekend in Prince William and Manassas was the perfect weekend escape from our crazy city life.
We arrived in Old Town Manassas about 45 minutes after our flight touched down at Dulles International Airport. It was an easy drive, mainly sticking to one road, straight to our B&B. We parked our car at the Manassas Junction and were greeted by the Inn Keeper, who showed us to our room and handed us a heavy gold key.
Our room was large as typical B&Bs go, with our own private bathroom with a gorgeous claw foot tub and big windows overlooking the outside garden. There was a sweet arrival basket with bottle waters, juices and local produce from the area. We took the snacks in my bag and we headed to the Manassas Museum.
To start our trip, we wanted to get our barring of the city- it’s easy to walk around Old Town Manassas from the B&B and taking a quick trip to the Museum only made sense to really understand what the city was all about. On our way, we stopped in a few antique and gift shops and my husband noticed a few bars and restaurants that he wanted to check out after the museum visit.
Touring the Manassas Museum, I quickly learned some history of the Civil War that I’m not sure I was ever taught in school. It was so fascinating walking around the area where such a monumental event in American history took place.
The sun was starting to set as we walked to Monza, a restaurant in Manassas that came highly recommended to us via Twitter. Known for their twist on American cuisine and incredible craft beer menu, we were delighted to find a seat outside where we could enjoy the local music in the streets with our dinner.
The food was fresh and delicious. I had the Monza salad, a combination of greens, tomatoes, dried cranberries, onions, and feta with a vingerette dressing. My husband had the Meat Head pizza, a pie that was slightly bigger than a traditional personal size with meatballs, bacon, pepperoni, prosciutto and Italian sausage. We tried a couple new to us beers from their massive menu and relaxed with the music and cute street as our background. It almost seemed like this town was taken straight out of a movie- lots of people seemed to know and greet each other with smiles, the music carried through the streets, and everyone seemed to be walking around with joy.
Making our way back to the B&B, we stopped at the Philadelphia Tavern, known as the Phil or Phillies to locals, for a nightcap. There were several bars on this street, perhaps a good place for a pub-crawl!
The Perfect Bed and Breakfast
Settling into our room at the B&B, I filled the tub with hot water and soaked until my fingers and toes were all pruny. We slipped into bed, which had three blankets, and watched a little TV before turning out the lights on a wonderful first day.
We woke up around 8am to birds chirping outside our window. The sun was slightly streaming in, too, almost as to welcome us to the area.
Joining the other visitors of the Inn downstairs for a home cooked breakfast, our cook and the Inn keeper delighted us with a jelly and jam tasting, all the fruit was grown locally in Manassas or Prince William County. My favorite was the pear spread, which was the perfect combination of sweet and tart. For the main course, we had veggie omelets with roasted potatoes from house garden, fresh coffee and tea for my husband and espresso hot chocolate for myself. We were in heaven.
Our schedule was pretty packed for our second day. We wanted to hike in the morning around the Bull Run Mountains, enjoy a glass of wine at the Winery at La Grange, and if time permitted, enjoy a seafood dinner at Tim’s Rivershore with views of the Potomac River; all of which were in different areas of the county.
The area of Prince William County is pretty spread out, but if you plan your activities right, you can really see so much in a short visit. I decided to plot out our adventures by first listing all the things I really wanted to do and then putting them into Google Maps to see which spots were close to each other and how to best use our time. We’re the type of couple that gets bored fairly easy and I like to have lots of options incase something doesn’t pan out exactly as we planned.
The Bull Run Mountains
In every trip we plan, we try to get outdoors for a least a portion of the trip. When we read about The Bull Run Mountains, we thought a ‘strenuous hike’ to the top for solitude and the chance of wildlife sightings sounded like the perfect way to get our outdoor fill. Well, they weren’t kidding with the strenuous part! The first section is pretty easy and there were tons of kids and dogs all around us. But when we got to the Ridge Loop Trail, we continued up to get to the top. This section was much less crowded and offered the peace and quiet we were looking for.
The Winery at La Grange
The Winery at La Grange is right at the base of the Bull Run Mountains, making it an easy stop on our trip back east. The winery is set on a beautiful hill overlooking the vineyards with plenty of outdoor seating for couples or big groups to enjoy. As we sat at the outdoor tasting bar, I told my husband how perfect this spot would be for a family reunion or bachelorette party (the upscale kind!). We took our bottle and two glasses over to a long Adirondack chair built for two. After the long hike, this was the perfect way to unwind.
Saving half the bottle for a nightcap at the B&B, we placed it in a cooler bag in the trunk and got back on the road for the drive to Tim’s Rivershore.
Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant
As we were driving and getting more off the beaten path or even a recognizable street, I was starting to get worried that we missed it somehow. But just as I was about to look up more directions on my phone, we crossed the railroad tracks and saw the lit up sign to our left. Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant– We arrived!
Picking an outside table as close to the Potomac as possible, and checking out the incredible seafood menu, we ordered way more food than two people could possibly eat. Starting with the crab balls and crab chowder (both house specalities and reviewed highly on Yelp), we knew we had made the right decision for dinner. The crab was so fresh and unlike imitation crab, when it’s spelled with a K, this crab was the real thing. Next, we were served the fish tacos with hushpuppies and the scallops wrapped in bacon. Fish tacos are my weakness and anything with bacon has my husband’s name on it, so we stuck to our favorites and were not disappointed. Tim’s Rivershore should be on every seafood lover’s list of restaurants you have to try. I was dreaming about those crab balls for weeks!
The next day, we again woke up early, this time in search of more American history. My husband wanted to visit the National Museum of Marine Corps and hike around Bristoe National Battlefield, which I was excited about because I had read about some great antique shopping near the park.
The National Museum of Marine Corps
The National Museum of Marine Corps is a massive interactive museum that shows visitors events from America history from the footsteps of Marines who were directly involved, giving visitors a unique perspective and unlike any museum I had been to before. My husband really enjoyed the Legacy Walk, which tied 200 years of Marine history together. Some of the other galleries include an American Revolution, World War 1, World War II, Korean War and Vietnam areas. If you’re short on time, pick one of two exhibits to really immerse yourself in and make sure to visit the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park to honor and remember the Marines on your way out.
Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park
We downloaded a mobile walking tour about Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park and learned about nearby Brentsville County Courthouse and jail, two stops that were just a bit further than the antique shops I wanted to check out. My husband dropped me off at the shops and picked me back up after he finished his self guided tour. It was a win-win for us.
That afternoon, we decided to head to Historic Occoquan. We fell in love with this charming little town. With a live band outside in the center of several shops, great history (they say that the area is haunted) and good restaurants, Occoquan could really be a trip all on its own. We had happy hour drinks at Madigan’s Waterfront overlooking the water and then dinner a few blocks away at Cock and Bowl, who is known for their incredible clam dishes. I got the special bowl that night- a Louisiana style creole sauce with what seemed like 30 clams. Served with a big slice of bread, this was the perfect meal to end our trip. My husband tried out one of the local Virginia beers (they are also known for their long beer list and the waiters can help you pick if you’re looking for a new to you beer to try).
If you’re visiting Occoquan in the spring or summer, make sure to check out the Occoquan Farmers Market (usually starts around late April), and the Prince William Boat Show (usually in March), as Prince William Marina is known as the “Washington Capital Boating Show”.
In three days and two nights, we not only explored Prince William and Manassas, but also we found what we were looking for in our weekend escape. We found great food, incredible small towns with friendly people and lots of quirky atmosphere, adventure in the mountains and relaxation at the winery and B&B. If this were a Yelp review, I’d give it 5 stars and beg people to try it for themselves.
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