Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Southern Virginia

The first place we went after D.C. was a little place called Berkeley Plantation... This was one of the coolest things we did on the trip.  It was along Virginia Scenic Byway Highway 5.  We dubbed this road "Plantation Row" due to the number of historic markers and old plantations along the way.  It was amazing!  We found out that this is one of the oldest roads in the country - it started out as an Indian trail, then the traders and explorers used it, then it became a country road, etc....
What drew us to this house is it was dubbed "the site of the first Thanksgiving".  We thought this was pretty cool, and we were going to see the sign and be on our way.  We found out that technically you had to buy a ticket to tour the grounds, so we decided to play fair and buy a ticket and see the house.  Boy are we glad we did!!
The house was the site of the first OFFICIAL Thanksgiving... not the one with the pilgrims and all, but the first one where England made it a law to "give thanks" when they landed.  It was settled in 1619ish... and was the site of a plantation (tobacco) and a shipyard.  It was raided by Indians several times. It was the birthplace of two presidents - 9th and 23, both Harrisons.  All 10 of the first presidents visited here.  The first whiskey in the country was made here.  During the Civil War the entire Union Army was camped here and Lincoln visited.  Also during the Civil War the song "Taps" was written here.  The house was abandoned for a few years, re-done, abandoned again, used as a barn, and finally a grandson of a former owner bought out his family and restored it.  The house is still on a working farm.  The top two floors are a private residence.  Every Thanksgiving a big party is held on the grounds.  It is also home to a 300 + year old tree.
We recommend that anyone who has the chance goes to visit Berkeley Plantation on Highway 5 in southwest Virginia.

Old entrance to the plantation.

Drive to the plantation.

Front of the house


In the James River... This thing was much bigger than we thought it would be!

Going from the river to the house...
The pink trees are the walkway to the house.

The guest house which is now the gift shop.

It was hard to get a good picture of the back of the
house because it was surrounded by trees.

This picture is to show just how many historical markers were along this road.
Ever 1/2 mile or so was an area like this full of markers.

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