By ELIZABETH DEVINE
Although downtown Fredericksburg is steeped in history, it is constantly experiencing change. Strolling down Caroline Street, it’s hard not to notice all the updated storefronts and new businesses. If you’re new to Mary Washington, or are just looking for a fun day with your friends, get off campus and check out what’s new downtown.
Connect Games Escape Room
Downtown Fredericksburg’s first escape room is opening soon. Situated on Caroline Street, Connect Games Escape Room is the perfect place to have fun with friends, whether playing board games in the comfortable hangout area or facing the challenge of solving the escape room’s series of one-of-a-kind puzzles. An escape room is a physical adventure game in which players must solve a series of puzzles and riddles to find their way out of an actual room. Kirsten Sill, owner of Connect Games Escape Room, is proud that this fresh addition brings entertainment to the downtown area. “It fills what downtown was missing,” stated Sill. What makes this escape room different from others? Since they only have one escape room, this allows them to be flexible and cater to special requests for events, like birthday parties. Sill wants to “work with customers to make the experience theirs.” Because escape rooms require tremendous teamwork, this would be the perfect place for campus clubs and teams to bond. The room’s theme will frequently change throughout the year, so you can always go again to solve new and exciting puzzles. Reservations are recommended.
Since opening in November 2017, Fredericksburg Cupcake is the first cupcake store downtown. The shop’s modern, cozy interior invites patrons to pause and enjoy the full range of delicious cupcake flavors, including their signature red velvet and vanilla bean. For those that have dietary restrictions, there are gluten-free and vegan flavors are on the menu. Store owner Adnan Hamid firmly believes his simple yet delicious cupcakes are the best, because “in addition to only baking in small batches to guarantee freshness, we use the most natural and highest quality ingredients.” The menu is not limited to cupcakes. Starting next week, they will sell a variety of breakfast items such as specialty coffee and breakfast pastries, including croissants, cookies, and muffins from 7-11 a.m. Fredericksburg Cupcake is eager to reach out to students on campus and thus will soon designate one day a week for “free delivery service that will bring cupcakes to UMW students on campus.” This delivery service will be perfect for finals week, or for parents who want to treat their student to something special for their birthday.
Sugar + Spruce
Formerly known as Ladyburg, Sugar + Spruce is the best place to go downtown for handcrafted soap, bath bombs, body scrubs, balms, facial products and much more. Passersby cannot help but feel pulled in by the shop’s wonderful aromas and charming interior. Most of the products are created on-site in an adjacent modern-day apothecary workshop. The store has been a shopping destination in downtown for more than five years, but mom and daughter duo owners Morgan and Crystal Wellman decided it was time to make some changes, including redesigning the store to look like a retro sweet shop. Why the name change and store makeover? Morgan Wellman, co-owner and UMW senior, said that they want to create a “more inclusive brand that is fitting for all of their customers.” She also revealed that they are hoping to expand the brand to other places in Virginia. According to its website, Sugar + Spruce offers a simple rewards program. For every $1 you spend, you receive 1 point that over time, you can redeem for free a bath bomb or discount codes for future purchases. This is the perfect place to go to treat yourself or buy a present. Morgan proudly boasted that their store “has something for everyone in the Fredericksburg community.”