When husband and wife team April and Keith Peterson opened River Rock Outfitter in downtown Fredericksburg in 2014, it was the start of a lifelong dream.
“We always knew we wanted to settle down in Fredericksburg, and it was our passion to open a small business. We literally met on a rock-climbing wall. The adventure has continued ever since,” says April. “As a military family that traveled around a lot, one of the things we missed the most was having deep ties with the community. But with our business, our bonds of friendships and community have grown deep and strong. It’s what we always wanted.”
A traditional, specialty outdoor retailer, River Rock Outfitter provides gear and instruction for paddle boarding, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking and more. Known for the quality of its instruction, the store feels natural and unassuming.
“We market Fredericksburg as an outdoor recreation destination,” says April. “What’s neat is that it’s the perfect place and level for the 101 adventure—people enjoying a new sport for the first time. Whether college students or baby boomers, who want to live an adventure, there’s plenty to do here. People can learn the sport here, and when they’re ready to seek higher level intensity, they’re only a few hours away from those activities.”
On the Rappahannock River, paddlers can get their first taste of white-water paddling. An excursion cultivates beginner’s skills, while providing some thrills along the way.
“You’ll definitely scream when you go down the rapids; but, these Class II/III rapids are easily navigable with an experienced guide,” says April. “They can tackle higher levels, all within a few hours drive of our location.”
Sporting enthusiasts are encouraged to check out the store’s outdoor adventure academies, all of which provide opportunities to work with highly trained and certified instructors.
“We’re one of only a few independent outfitters remaining in Virginia—an important distinction in the age of big box and online sales,” says April. “We are proud of our community roots and look forward to continuing to grow the Fredericksburg region as an outdoor destination location.” — By Cathy Cuthbertson