A Colonial Journey Through Virginia's Northern Neck (Self-Guided Tour)

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Facility:A Colonial Journey Through Virginia's Northern Neck (Self-Guided Tour)
Description:Let us take you through Virginia's Northern Neck where you will discover some important but little known colonial history. Trace the Washington, Lee, Carter, and Ball families from the original immigrants to their famous descendents. Your self-guided tour will include visits to several Lee ancestral homes and locales, including Ditchley, Burnt House Field, Menokin, and Stratford Hall, the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. You will learn about Robert "King" Carter and the grand colonial church he commissioned (Historic Christ Church). You'll get to know Mary Ball, mother of our first president, by visiting the Mary Ball Museum, Yeocomico Church, her childhood parish, and the George Washington Birthplace. Along the way, you will look in on the colonial courthouse towns of four county seats. Contact us for a free customized trip design.
Address 1:Various Locations
Address 2:
Zip Code:22473
V I S I T I N G   I N F O
Telephone:(804) 580-5179
Website:Visit Website
Laura Dawson, Co-op Member
The Northern Neck is full of history, and I got to see most of it since I lived there for six years. A good starting place would be Lancaster County. Built in 1735, Historic Christ Church is located in Lancaster County, VA. It is a lovely Anglican Parish church and is really neat to look at the nameplates on the pews to see what famous Americans attended the small church. They have Sunday morning church services during the summer. (FREE)

Also in Lancaster County is the Mary Ball Washington Museum. Mary Ball was George Washington's mother. There is a library that includes books dating back to 1651. There is also a jail and stocks. ($3)

Drive on over to Warsaw, VA, and visit the Richmond County Museum. It is very small but has a few interesting relics inside. The building itself is fascinating. It served as a jail, and on the second floor there is a space that you can see that was used for hangings! (FREE)

While you are in Warsaw, visit the Menokin House which is on Menokin Road, where I lived, and is the remnants of Henry Lightfoot Lee's home. Lee was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Every year, there is a huge bluegrass festival on the Menokin grounds. Preservationists are working diligently to create a more tourist-friendly environment for history buffs to enjoy the ruins better. (FREE. The Bluegrass Festival charges a fee.)

When you leave Warsaw to go to Stratford Hall, stop at the Westmoreland County Museum and Library in Montross, VA. It is small but has many artifacts of George Washington and other people who played integral roles in the founding of Westmoreland County. You can see an actual lock of hair of George Washington's. Eight US Presidents were born in VA, and the museum celebrates this fact with busts of several of them in a little garden beside the building. I think that was always my favorite part. (FREE)

Stratford Hall is on "down the road" a bit in Stratford, VA. It is the birthplace of Robert E. Lee. It is stunning and well worth a visit. The home itself is beautiful to visit and learn more about the culture of the time. There is an old gristmill that runs on special occasions, and if you are lucky, you can go to Coaching Day every three years. The next should be in April 2011. Coaches from all over come out to display what transportation was like. People dress in period costumes and have a "tailgate" sort of party on the grounds of Stratford. It is a wonderful time to visit Stratford Hall. You can even spend the night at Stratford in one of three cabins on the property. There is a wonderful restaurant on the grounds as well.

Would you like to picnic on the Potomac? The George Washington Birthplace is on the Potomac River complete with a picnic area. George Washington's home is no longer there, but the site is marked. There is also a working farm with sheep, goats, cows, chickens, pigs, etc. There is a blacksmith shop, and the Washington Family burial ground is there, too. A Ranger is on hand for talks and to answer questions. At the visitor's center, you can watch a film and visit the gift shop.

The Northern Neck is a wonderful place to visit and soak up all of the history in the area.
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