Area Attractions and Activities
Berkeley Plantation: Berkeley is the most historic plantation on the James River. Visit the site of the first official Thanksgiving (1619), as well as the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison and President William Henry Harrison, our 9th president. Taps was composed here (1862) at the Civil War headquarters of General McClellan. Enjoy the 1726 mansion, an architectural gem with exceptional antiques. Five terraces of restored boxwood and flowered gardens offer breathtaking vistas of the James River. Costumed guides, museum and gift shop.
Edgewood Plantation: Its rich, fascinating history creates images of romance, intrigue and antebellum splendor. An exquisite 7,000 square foot example of Carpenter's Gothic architecture, Edgewood was once a part of Berkeley Plantation, the ancestral home of U.S. Presidents William Henry and Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Throughout its dramatic history, it has served as a church, post office, telephone exchange, restaurant, nursing home and a signal post for the Confederates to spy on McLellan's Army. Dating circa 1849, this is a National & State regulated landmark.
Situated along the oldest Highway in the U.S., Edgewood's third floor was used during the Civil War as a lookout post for Confederate generals when they were camped at nearby Berkeley Plantation. The estate also includes the 1725 Benjamin Harris Grist Mill, which ground corn for both the Union and Confederate armies. On June 15, 1862, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart stopped at Edgewood for coffee on his way to Richmond to warn General Robert E. Lee of the Union Army's strength.
Sherwood Forest Plantation: Home of President John Tyler, 10th President of the United States. It has remained the home of generations of Tylers and is currently the home to President Tyler's grandson, Harrison Ruffin Tyler, and his family.
President Tyler brought his bride, Julia Gardiner Tyler, of Gardiner's Island, New York, to Sherwood Forest. She brought magnificent furnishings and objects of art to the house, which remain there today, and she added a ballroom, which made it the longest frame house in America-301 feet.
Twenty-seven-acre original grounds by A.J. Downing contain 89 varieties of trees, one of America's oldest gingko trees and poet's laurel planted by Thomas Jefferson. One of America's most complete plantation grounds. National Historic Landmark.
Shirley Plantation: Now this is a plantation. What does Shirley Plantation have to offer that no other plantation can? We tell the story of the Hill-Carter family, eye witnesses to eleven generations of American history. To this day, the eleventh generation continues to own, operate, and work this grand southern plantation.
Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first plantation (1613) and one of the first economic engines of the new world. The chronicle of Shirley Plantation best exemplifies the period in our nation’s history between the settlement at Jamestown in 1607 and the movement towards American independence from Britain in 1776. The guided tour of the Great House features original family furnishings, silver, portraits, and hand-carved woodwork. Gardens and eight original Colonial outbuildings are included on the self-guided grounds tour.
Today, Shirley continues to be a working plantation, a private family home, a growing business, a National Historic Landmark and a direct link between the past and the present.
Piney Grove at Southall’s Plantation: Over three centuries ago Furneau Southall established his three-hundred acre plantation on the very spot that the Chickahominy Indians had resided on in the years before the westward expansion of the English settlement at Jamestown. The flowing waters of Piney Springs have made this a desirable habitation for centuries. The original log portion of Piney Grove was built about 1790 when this was one of the many seats of Virginia’s prominent Southall family. Today Piney Grove is the best preserved example of Early Log Architecture in Tidewater Virginia.
Today the grounds also include three interpretive displays. The Welcome Dependency at the parking area includes the exhibits "Piney Grove and its Owner" and "Four Centuries of Native American History in Charles City County." The Arbor includes the exhibit "Dower Quarter as Artifact" which focuses on slave quarters as artifacts of the antebellum South. The Nature Trail includes an exhibit about Piney Springs and Rippons Run and their role as part of the Chesapeake Bay region. The gardens and grounds also include numerous other interpretive plaques that reveal the history of the property, the local community, and the entire James River Plantation Country.
North Bend Plantation: North Bend Plantation was built in 1801 by John Minge in historic Charles City County for his wife Sarah Harrison, the sister of William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States. The current owner, George F. Copland, is a descendant of William Henry and Sarah Harrison.
In 1864, thirty thousand Federal troops camped in the area of North Bend causing the owner, Thomas Wilcox, to leave for Belle Air Plantation. Mr. Wilcox never returned. Union General Phillip Sheridan headquartered at North Bend while his troops built a pontoon bridge across the James River. The desk used by General Sheridan remains at North Bend today.
North Bend Plantation is considered the best preserved and purest expression of the academic Greek Revival Style in Charles City County, Virginia.
North Bend is a spacious 6,000 square foot Virginia Historic Landmark and National Register featuring original antiques, rare books, old dolls and a rich Civil War history.