Virginia History – Landmarks & Things to Do
|Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello – No other home in the United States more accurately reflects the personality of its owner than Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s architectural masterpiece and beloved mountaintop home. Guided tours of the house are offered daily throughout the year; outdoor gardens and plantation tours are offered daily April-October. Children under 6 are free. Reduced rates for adult and student groups are available. Hours vary throughout the year. Monticello is approximately 5 miles from downtown Charlottesville and the University of Virginia, which Jefferson also designed.|
|James Madison’s Montpelier – Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, architect of the Bill of Rights, and president of the United States. Now that the home’s architectural restoration is complete, visitors can see the progress of rediscovering James and Dolley Madison through the “Presidential Detective Story” with guided house tours, as well as a myriad of special “behind the scenes” experiences. You can also stroll the garden and forest; and take in the galleries, hands-on activities, and many other attractions on the estate’s 2,650-acres. Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Montpelier is located in the heart of Virginia’s wine country on Route 20, four miles south of Orange, Virginia and 25 miles north of Charlottesville, Virginia. Montpelier is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site administered by The Montpelier Foundation.|
|James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland – Ash Lawn-Highland is a historic house museum at the homestead of James Monroe, fifth president of the United States. At the suggestion of his friend and mentor Thomas Jefferson, Monroe purchased the land nearby Jefferson’s Monticello for his plantation, which he named Highland, in 1793. It was home to his family for nearly 25 years. Monroe sold the state in 1926 to retire to Oak Hill in Loudoun County.|
|Zachary Taylor’s Montebello (private) – The twelfth President of the United States, Zachary Taylor, was born at Montebello, a plantation, on November 24, 1784. The Taylor family arrived at Montebello after selling their Hare Forest Plantation. Members of the family became sick during their travels toward Kentucky and stopped at Montebello to recover. While there, Zachary Taylor was born to Colonel Taylor and Sarah Dabney Taylor. It is widely believed that Taylor was born in a secondary building at Montebello, perhaps a log cabin. A historic marker notes the location. The home is not open to the public.|
PLUS, visit the beautiful old Inn the Founding Fathers all frequented, Michies Tavern, which still serves 17th Century-style food in period costume. Old Michie Tavern, established in 1784 by Scotsman William Michie served as the social center of its community and accommodated travelers with food, drink and lodging. In 1927, the Tavern was moved 17 miles to its present location close to Monticello, serving as a prime example of the Colonial Revival period. Tours are continuous, self-guided, family friendly educational and fun. Guests are invited to enjoy the Tavern at their own pace with opportunities for hands-on experiences. Young tour patrons are invited to participate in an 18th-cnetury Treasure Hunt through the site. The Tavern also has a great fit and souvenir shop.
Surrounding Small Country are famous Civil War Battlefields including: Trevilian Station, largest cavalry battle of the war, just two miles from Small Country (we can supply a driving tour map). The Exchange Hotel which served as a hospital during the war, at Gordonsville only 10 miles away. Other nearby battlefields including Wilderness, Appomattox, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Richmond.
Or visit any of the following, less than two hours away:
Yorktown, Jamestown, Williamsburg and Richmond, Capitol of the Confederacy. Visit Williamsburg attractions for magical spy adventures, modern day coaster thrills, outdoor excursions, dining excellence and accommodations for every taste and style. March with Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums for added fun!