Virginia State

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Historic Sites
Tourist Attractions

Historic Sites

Mount Vernon Historical Site
Mount Vernon is one of the best documented historic houses in America. The Association's library and archival collections provide a continuous history of the Mount Vernon estate and its owners from the original land patent in 1674 up to the present day. The primary focus is on George Washington's tenure at Mount Vernon during the mid-to late-eighteenth century. The collection is the basis for the restoration and interpretation of George Washington's home and plantation. Collections consist of manuscripts, original and duplicate books, prints, historical photographs, postcards, early newspapers, microfilm of the Library of Congress papers of George Washington, and ephemera. Extensive Association records document the founding of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association, the earliest national preservation organization and the oldest women's patriotic society in America. A reference library contains biographical information about the Washington family and about 18th-century American life and culture. For information call: (703)780-2000

Manassas National Battlefield Park
The American Civil War's Battles of First and Second Manassas (also called Bull Run) were fought here July 21, 1861 and August 28-30, 1862. The 1861 battle was the first test of Northern and Southern military prowess. Here Confederate Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Jackson acquired his nickname "Stonewall". For information call: (703)754-1861

Fort Ward
Fort Ward was constructed during the American Civil War (1861-1865) as one of the defensive forts built to protect the Federal capital of Washington, D.C. The fort site remains approximately 90-95% intact, with the Northwest Bastion restored to illustrate the appearance of the entire fortification circa 1864. The fort site is surrounded by a 45-acre park and is interpreted by Fort Ward Museum through exhibits, programs and a 2000-volume Civil War research library. Fort Ward is owned and operated by the City of Alexandria, Virginia through the Office of Historic Alexandria. The Museum and historic site is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For information call: (703)838-4848

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
At Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, you walk the old county lanes where Robert E. Lee, commanding general of the Army of Northern Virginia, surrendered his men to Ulysses Grant, general-in-chief of all United States forces, on April 9, 1865. Imagine the events that signaled the end of the Southern States' attempt to create separate nation. Authorized as a battlefield site June 18, 1930; transferred from War Dept. Aug. 10, 1933; authorized as a national historical monument Aug. 13, 1935; designated a national historical park April 15, 1954. For information call: (804)352-8987

Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
Arlington House is uniquely associated with the families of Washington, Custis, and Lee, for it was built by George Washington Parke Custis. He was the grandson of Martha Washington by her first marriage to Daniel Parke Custis. After his father died, young Custis was raised by his grandmother and her second husband, George Washington, at Mount Vernon. Custis, a farsighted agricultural pioneer, painter, playwright, and orator, was interested in perpetuating the memory and principles of George Washington. His house, begun in 1802 but not completed until 1817, became a "treasury" of Washington heirlooms. Arlington House, named after the Custis family's homestead of Virginia's Eastern Shore, was built on 1,100 acre estate that Custis' father, John Parke Custis, purchased in 1778. The north and south wings were completed between 1802 and 1804. The large center section and the portico, presenting an imposing front 1140 feet long, were finished 13 years later. Robert E. Lee described the house, situated on a hill high above the Potomac, as one "anyone might see with half an eye." A wartime law required that property owners in areas occupied by Federal troops appear in person to pay their taxes. Unable to comply with this rule, Mrs. Lee saw her estate confiscated in 1864. A 200-acre section was set aside as a military cemetery, the beginning of today's Arlington National Cemetery. In 1882 G.W.C. Lee's suit against the Federal Government for the return of his property was successful. By then, hundreds of graves covered the hills of Arlington and he accepted the Government's offer of $150,000 for the property. For information call: (703)557-0613
Tourist Attractions

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Voted "Most Beautiful Theme Park" for the fifth consecutive uear by the National Amusement Park Historical Association, Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a European-themed park with 17th-century flair. New in 1997 - Busch Gardens introduces "Alpengeist", the world's tallest and fastest inverted roller coaster at 195 feet and 67 mph. In addition to the world's top-rated roller coasters, Busch Gardens features eight mainstage productions, more than 30 thrilling rides and attractions, a wide variety of authentic foods and shops, and a magical children's adventure area. Located three miles east of historic Williamsburg and minutes from Water Country USA. For information call: (800)4-ADVENTURE

Splashdown Waterpark
Fun family entertainment billed as "like being at the beach without the drive." Splashdown Waterpark features five water areas over 11 acres and includes: two 70ft. waterslides, two fast cannonball slides, 25 meter lap pool , a zero depth beach area, boat slide, water raindrops and bubbles, 770ft. lazy river, funbrellas and pavillions, childrens area with four water slides, shower and locker facility, volleyball , tennis , value meals with family prices, and more!! One admission price for all features, unlimited use during visit. For information call: (703)361-4451

Virginia Zoological Park
Nestled on 53 acres along the Lafayette River, the Virginia Zoo is home to some 300 animals, ranging from elephants, Siberian tigers and monkeys, to reptiles and birds. The Virginia Zoo is accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association (AZA). For information call: (757)441-2706

Colonial Williamsburg
From 1699 to 1780, Williamsburg was the capital of England's oldest, largest, richest and most populous colony and the seat of power in the new nation's most influential state. In its shops, taverns, government buildings, homes and streets, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, George Mason and other Virginia patriots established the ideals - liberty, independence and personal freedom that form the foundation of America as we know it. Colonial Williamsburg is the nation's largest and oldest outdoor living history museum and portrays 18th-century Williamsburg as it appeared on the eve of the American Revolution. Throughout the city, an engaging mix of sights, sounds and activities helps visitors reconnect with America's past and become active participants in 18th-century life. Important Historic Area sites include: the Governor's Palace, the symbol of British authority in the colony; the Capitol, the seat of colonial power and site of Virginia's vote for independence on May 15, 1776; the Peyton Randolph site, where historic trades carpenters are reconstructing the "urban plantation" of Mr. Randolph, one of Williamsburg's most important citizens; the Raleigh Tavern, where Virginia patriots met to discuss independence in open defiance of the Crown and the James Geddy House and Foundry, site of an up-and-coming family business. Colonial Williamsburg consists of 173 acres encompassing 88 original buildings and hundreds of other homes, shops, public buildings and other structures that have been reconstructed, most on their original foundations. Historic trade demonstrations, dramatic vignettes, interactive programs and encounters with "People of the Past" take place in 28 exhibition sites and historic trade shops throughout the Historic Area. The Historic Area features 90 acres of greens and gardens that range from the formal splendor of the Governor's Palace garden to the modest kitchen garden of the James Geddy site. Colonial Williamsburg also operates four indoor museums the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Center, the DeWitt - Wallace Gallery, Carter's Grove and the Winthrop Rockefeller Archaeology Museum and Bassett Hall. Visitors can enjoy 18th-century style dining in authentic colonial surroundings at one of Colonial Williamsburg's four operating taverns - Chowning's, Christiana Campbell's, Shields and King's Arms Tavern. Guest accommodations are available in Colonial Williamsburg's Official Resort Hotels - The world-class Williamsburg Inn, the Colonial Houses, whose visitors immerse themselves in the atmosphere of the 18th century, the Williamsburg Lodge, the Williamsburg Woodlands and the Governor's Inn. Colonial Williamsburg has been named "Favorite Historic Site" for the past three years by readers of Southern Living, "Favorite Living History Museum" by readers of Family Fun and "Favorite Weekend Getaway," "Favorite Historical Journey" and "Favorite Trip with Children" by the readers of Washingtonian magazine. For information call: (800)HISTORY

Shirley Plantation
Settled in 1613 and home of the Hill-Carter family for 11 generations. Beautiful 18th century main house features famous Square Flying staircase, original portraits, furniture, silver and hand carved woodwork. Explore seven original 18th century brick outbuildings,four of which comprise a unique Queen Anne Forecourt. Stroll through a lovely 18th century style herb garden, the remains of the 18th century boxwood garden or relax under the 350 year old Willow Oak tree by the James River. For information call: (804)829-5121

Bassett Hall
Bassett Hall was the much-beloved Williamsburg home of the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. family from 1936 to 1960. Learn about the family by exploring the house and examinig their family furnishings, art and photographs. Bassett Hall is part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. For information call: (800)HISTORY