Presidential Homes in Virginia
Though Washington, D.C. is the home of the president while in office, the history of presidential residency runs deep just south of D.C. in the state of Virginia. Did you know eight former Presidents owned homes in the Commonwealth? Furthermore, visitors are still able to tour and explore six of these incredible homes today! There is no better way for history students to step back in time and see how our country’s founding leaders lived.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon sits picturesquely on the Potomac River in northern Virginia, just outside the nation’s capital. American history lovers must tour this beautiful 21-room home. The tour features many interesting and unique facts that are sure to surprise visitors. Our groups always enjoy the expansive museum on the property that highlights Washington’s life and his role in the Revolutionary War and as the very first President of the United States. Read more about Mount Vernon here.
You may recognize Thomas Jefferson’s home from the back of the nickel. Located in Charlottesville, Virginia, Monticello sits on top of a mountain overlooking Charlottesville and the University of Virginia (UVA). Jefferson founded UVA in 1819, and he considered it his greatest accomplishment – quite a statement for a President and author of the Declaration of Independence! Inside Jefferson’s home visitors will find many of his unique inventions and personal books. The grounds of Monticello feature expansive gardens where Jefferson practiced his passion for agriculture, and Mulberry Row, the many outbuildings where the property’s slaves once lived. Read about a WorldStrides Program Leader’s remarkable Monticello ancestor experience here.
James Monroe’s Highland is also located in Charlottesville. Highland sits just 2.5 miles from his friend and colleague, Thomas Jefferson’s home. In fact, back when the former presidents owned the homes and before the trees matured, the men could see each other’s homes. A more modest house, Highland is a white farmhouse surrounded by beautiful gardens and landscaping. Visitors can learn about the fifth president in unique ways at this 550-acre estate. In 2018, Highland became the first presidential home in the country to offer augmented reality tours.
Located just 30 minutes from Charlottesville in Orange, Virginia, James Monroe’s Montpelier is certainly a stately looking estate. The Father of the Constitution and America’s fourth president lived here with his wife Dolley. Unique to this historic property is the number of trails on which visitors can explore grounds of Civil War history. Trails include the Freeman’s Farm Trail that leads to a cabin built by an emancipated slave in the 1870’s known as the Gilmore Cabin and Farm.
William Henry Harrison’s home, Berkeley Plantation, is located in Charles City on the shores of the James River. Many people believe the first official Thanksgiving took place when English settlers step foot on this very shore in 1619. Harrison’s huge, 1,000 acre estate was visited by the first 10 Presidents of the United States. Just think, history students today can walk the very same paths around this property!
Sherwood Forest Plantation
Also located in Charles City, John Tyler’s purchased his plantation in 1842 while he was president. Did you know? Sherwood Forest is the longest frame house in the country at 300 feet – that’s the length of a football field. Tours of this home are by appointment only because John Tyler’s grandson still lives there!
Presidential history comes alive in Virginia, and many WorldStrides programs allow students to discover it all. Expand upon our Washington, D.C. program by traveling just south to explore the homes of some of our country’s founders.