These destinations are stunning in their own right, but couple them with the colors of fall and you have a real winner.
1. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello * Charlottesville
– Thomas Jefferson – third president, author of the Declaration of Independence, self-taught architect
– UNESCO World Heritage Site – the only U.S. presidential and private home on the List
– Saunders-Monticello Trail – four miles; accessible. Includes unique features, like an elevated boardwalk and pond. (MAP)
2. Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Estate and Gardens * Mount Vernon
– George Washington – first president, commander of the Continental Army, gentleman planter
– Originally, the estate was more than 8,000 acres. Presently, an estimated 500 acres have been preserved.
– Interactive Map
3. James Madison’s Montpelier * Montpelier Station
– James Madison – fourth president, Father of the Constitution, scholar
– 2,650-acre estate includes the 200-acre Landmark Forest, a National Natural Landmark
– Google Trails Map
Montpelier. Photo by Kenton Rowe.
4. James Monroe’s Highland * Charlottesville
– James Monroe – fifth president, Governor of Virginia, negotiator of the Louisiana Purchase
– See the “witness tree,” a white oak yet standing from Monroe’s time on his Highland plantation.
– Virtual Tour
6. The Lee’s: Stratford Hall * Stratford
– Robert E. Lee’s Birthplace; Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee’s Boyhood Home
– Robert E. Lee – General of the Confederate Army; President and namesake of Washington and Lee University
– Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee – only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence
– 1900 acres overlooking the Potomac River
7. George Washington’s Ferry Farm * Fredericksburg
– Washington’s family moved to Ferry Farm when he was six.
– See the home site along the Rappahannock River.
– Archaeology lab allows visitors to see artifacts discovered on the property.
8. Crab Orchard Museum * Tazewell
– Periods of history include Native American, Pioneer, Revolutionary War and Civil War.
– Fifteen 1800s log cabins and stone structures
– Special tours and a pioneer summer camp are available.
9. America’s Historic Triangle * Jamestown * Williamsburg * Yorktown
– Jamestown was settled by the English in 1607 as the first permanent English colony in the Americas.
– Colonial Williamsburg is the largest living history museum in the country, and was the first English capitol/seat of government in the Americas.
– Yorktown is where the American Revolutionary War was won. It was October 19, 1781.
10. George Mason’s Gunston Hall * Lorton
– George Mason – Author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights, after which the United States Bill of Rights was modeled
– 550 acres on the Potomac River
– Learn about the Grounds
11. Oatlands Historic House and Gardens * Leesburg
– Federal-style mansion was built over five years, beginning in 1804; embellished into the 1830s
– Original grounds were 3,408 acres; today the estate is 261 acres.
– English Oak and European Larch are existing from the original 1800s gardens
12. John Tyler’s Sherwood Forest Plantation * Charles City
– John Tyler – tenth president; America’s first vice president to ascend to the presidency upon the death of the sitting president
– Longest frame house in America; continuously occupied by the Tyler family since 1842
– Home to America’s first Ginkgo tree
– Additional nearby plantations include Shirley (Virginia’s first plantation; 1613) and Berkeley (site of the first official Thanksgiving; 1619)