February 9, 16 and 23 in Newport News: African American Film Fest – On these three dates a separate movie will be shown. On February 9, see The Bicycle Corps: America’s Black Army on Wheels. February 16 Cuba Gooding, Jr. is on the big screen in Men of Honor. Later, on February 23, Proudly We Served: The Men of the USS Mason will be shown.
February 9 in Suffolk: “She, Called Moses” – Harriet Tubman led a journey toward freedom, just as Moses did. Hear the tales through this great interactive show built just for families. Buy Tickets
February 11 in Martinsville: A Game Apart: Mike Wiley as Jackie Robinson – See Mike Wiley recount the life Jackie Robinson – a hero on the field but a second-class citizen off of it. This is a powerful illustration of dedication, perseverance and leadership. Buy Tickets
February 16 at Colonial Williamsburg: Wolf by the Ear: A Play About Thomas Jefferson and Slavery - A dramatic portrayal of Thomas Jefferson awaiting the results of a pivotal debate in Congress – would Missouri be admitted to the Union as a free state, signaling a move toward the eventual abolition of slavery? The play is accented by live music from the Revolutionary period through the early Republic. Buy Tickets
February 22 in Portsmouth: Willett Hall presents Freedom Train – The Underground Railroad had one star ‘conductor’ in Harriet Tubman. She personally led more than 300 slaves to freedom over the course of 19 dark-of-night trips. This story is told with period music still sung today, like “Wade in the Water,” “Follow the Drinking Gourd” and others.
February 23 in Fredericksburg: Virginia Black History Month Gala – The 23rd Regiment United States Colored Troops’ efforts are commemorated more than once a year, but on this special night, keynote speaker Roland Martin makes a presentation over dinner and entertainment is provided by Howard University’s Theater & Arts Department. Expect to also see a Broom Jumping Ceremony and youth orchestra. Book Now
It might not be exactly what you’re thinking it will be. In fact, it’s probably better. Take time to tour Virginia’s historic homes this season and you’ll walk into various centuries of decor and celebration.
Renowned Historic Homes
Endview Plantation, c. 1769, will be decorated for the 1861 holidays this month. Learn about this home’s Civil War history when you tour daily between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Newport News. $6 per adult; $4 per child aged 7-18.
Oatlands Plantation in Leesburg dates from 1798 with construction of the Federal-style mansion following establishment in 1804. Experience Christmas at Oatlands all month long with grand decorations, but don’t miss the special candlelight tours available from 5 to 7 p.m. December 16, 21-23 and 26. $12 per adult; $8 per child aged 6-16.
The finest Federal home on the Eastern Shore is Ker Place in Onancock, built between 1799 and 1803. Ker Place is now the home of the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society, but its previous occupiers consisted of only two families (1801-1960). Join in for a Holiday Open House this Saturday, December 8 from 2 to 6 p.m. and enjoy entertainment, games, homemade sweets, carols and a visit with Santa Claus. Free.
An 1893 Victorian Christmas awaits you this Sunday, December 8. Make time for an Old-Fashioned Christmas at Maymont (noon to 5 p.m.) where the formal rooms are decorated in grand style with ladies and gentlemen to welcome you. Horse-drawn carriage rides, food, drink, music and even St. Nick make this one merry occasion in Richmond. $5 per adult; $3 per child up to age 12. Carriage rides additional $5 and $3, respectively.
A variety of eras are represented at Agecroft Hall in Richmond this Sunday from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Move from 1640s England to 1850s London and of course, 1940s Richmond as you encounter interpreters like Charles Dickens reading his A Christmas Carol. $8 per adult; $5 per child 6-18.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon will be open for candlelight tours this weekend and next, December 8-9, 15-16 from 5 until 8:30 p.m. Mount Vernon has a storied history. The mansion actually began as a modest farmhouse in the 1740′s and was twice re-built and expanded from the foundation up. Today’s Mount Vernon reflects its 1799 appearance. Candlelight tours include fireside caroling with hot cider and ginger cookies, as well as a walk through the first and second floors of the authentically decorated mansion. $20 per adult; $14 per child
Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello dates to 1769 (when construction began) and is open for an intimate evening tour and reception to show you how that presidential family celebrated the season. Enjoy period culinary delights and take home a recipe, too, after you tour the home and the rarely-seen dome room. December 14 and 16 from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. $75 per person. Monticello is the only home in the United States recognized by the United Nations as a World Heritage Site.
James Monroe’s home, Ash Lawn-Highland, is decorated all month long with fresh boxwood, fruits and holly to bring a special holiday emphasis to the early 19th century dwelling of the fifth President of the United States. The home Monroe called his “cabin castle” became his primary residence in 1799 though the home conveyed with his land purchase in 1793. Visit daily (closed Christmas Day) between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. $12 per adult; $6 per child aged 6 to 11.
Did you know Monticello wasn’t Thomas Jefferson’s only home? Visit his retreat, Poplar Forest (built between 1806 and 1821) for a free tour this Sunday between noon and 4 p.m. Bring a non-perishable food donation and enjoy period decorations, music and living history interpretations, children’s activities and fun storytelling.
The Father of the Constitution and fourth President of the United States, James Madison, grew up in and made his adult home Montpelier. His father, James Madison, Sr., completed the original portion of today’s mansion in 1764. In 1797 the second portion of the mansion was began by the younger Madison – an “townhouse” style addition to the abode his father still resided in. Upon his father’s death in 1801, Madison inherited the other half and worked to unify the structure. Tour Montpelier by candlelight this weekend, December 7-9, from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Be greeted by Dolley Madison for a tour and enjoy carolers on the front lawn. Period-dressed waltzers will delight guests in the Salon while refreshments and wine await you in the duPont Gallery. $30 at the door
Tour Several Historic Homes at One Price
Homes dating from 1796 to 1888 are on tour in Fincastle this Saturday between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. Additionally, a marketplace of 30 local and regional artists can alleviate some of your shopping stress. $15 per person.
Virginia celebrates historic homes each and every year since the state is considered the “Mother of Presidents.” We boast eight United States Presidents total and enjoy the homes of six of them. However, 2013 marks the bicentennial of another historic Virginia home – the Executive Mansion.
Virginia Governor's Mansion
Governor McDonnell has proclaimed 2013 the Year of the Virginia Historic Home to recognize more than 100 historic homes across Virginia along with the Executive Mansion, the residence of the Governor of Virginia (the Mansion’s 54th) and his family. The Mansion is the oldest occupied Governor’s home in the United States.
Executive Mansion tours are available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 2 to 4 p.m., but are subject to change without notice. Tours are free and last about 25 minutes. Please kindly make a reservation if you have more than 10 people in your party (no more than two months in advance). Smaller groups are taken on a first come, first served basis. Tours are limited to 15 people.
With more than 400 years under our belt, you can bet Virginia has some of the best ghost stories America has to offer. Walk along with a tour guide to encounter (or at least hear about) spirits from the past.
Gadsby's Tavern by CameronDavidson@CameronDavidson.com.
Guided “ghost tours” take on a more authentic feel when walking some of America’s most historic sidewalks. The Haunts of Richmond tours use the Edgar Allan Poe Museum as the base for one of its nighttime walking tours.
Colonial Williamsburg’s Peyton Randolph House and George Wythe House are considered to be among America’s most haunted abodes. Those are two of the stops on the Spooks and Legends Haunted Tours on which door knobs and shutters rattle and guests are met by costumed interpreters along their route.
In Southwest Virginia Appalachian Ghostwalk Tours guide visitors through the streets of Abingdon and Bristol where famous ghost stories abound. Charlottesville’s Ghost Mystery Walking Tour is a tour with a twist. Guests are presented with the tale of a 1904 murder and try to solve the mystery of who’s guilty during the two-hour adventure.
Find more Ghostly Haunts and feel free to leave comments here about historic hauntings you’ve encountered.
The official poster for the movie “Lincoln” was released today. This movie was filmed in Virginia.
Steven Spielberg directs two-time Academy Award® winner Daniel Day-Lewis in “Lincoln,” a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.
Starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathaim, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, James Spader, Hal Holbrook and Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln” is produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, with a screenplay by Tony Kushner, based in part on the book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. The DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox film, in association with Participant Media, releases in U.S. theaters exclusive on November 9, 2012, with expansion on November 16, 2012.