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Historic Garden week is held every April in Virginia. Sponsored by the Garden Club of Virginia various garden clubs have garden and house tours spread over the week.
The whole purpose of our trip was to attend as many events as we could during the week long Historic Garden Week in Virginia. The Historic Garden Week is when houses and gardens are opened for tours throughout the state on different days. This event held every April as a fundraiser for the Garden Club of Virginia. Funds earned help with the restorations of historic gardens in Virginia. We got the guidebook and consulted the web site and determined ahead of time the garden tours we would attend. By studying the guide book with a map of the roads we decided to minimize the number of hotel changes but still try to see different parts of Virginia. We enjoyed this week very much! What follows is the tours we attended, places we stayed and meals we enjoyed.
Our trip began with arrival on Saturday night. We stayed at the Fairfield Inn for two nights (Saturday and Sunday) while exploring Charlottesville and Richmond. I'd highly recommend the Fairfield Inn a very clean and comfortable, non smoking hotel. Great free continential breakfast. Free wireless internet and public computers with internet access in lobby. Convenient access to I-64 and I-95. Travel time is one hour to Charlottesville and 10 - 15 minutes from Richmond center.
For dinner we had great Thai food in the Short Pump retail area.
We started early Sunday morning with a house tour of Monticello (Jefferson's estate) in Charlottesville. Charlottesville is an easy one hour drive from Richmond via I-64. The gardens of Monticello were excellent! The house tour is interesting and well worth it. Take time to stroll the grounds. Allow at least 2 hours to tour house and grounds.
Next onto the house and garden tour. The garden tour consisted of tours of five properties located in Albemarle County area. The properties included: Piedmont, Ramsay, Bellevue, Blue Ridge Farm, and Casa Maria. Fantastic southern mansions with gardens. Lovely views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A quick stop by the historic University of Virginia designed by Thomas Jefferson. Be sure to at least stop by this interesting university to see the lovely gardens and grounds. Tours offered of the rotunda and campus.
A quick bite to eat for tonight's dinner.
Touring Richmond on Monday. First stop Museum & White House of the Confederacy. Great museum to visit to learn about Civil War history. Interesting tour of the White House of the Confederacy. Validated parking if you park in the hospital parking lot. Take your ticket to the museum with you. Allow at least 2 hours to visit.
Next we walked to the restored and expanded Virginia State Capitol building. This is a short walk from the museum. Very interesting free tour. Be sure to visit the gardens and see the monuments in the Capitol Square park.
After a day touring Richmond we drove approximately one hour south to Williamsburg. We stayed the next four nights in the Williamsburg Hospitality House. This hotel was very convenient to Colonial Williamsburg which you could easily walk over to. Also the hotel is next door to the historic College of William and Mary.
The first night we had a fine meal at this bistro located in the Merchant Square area near Colonial Williamsburg.
Next onto the house and garden tour. The garden tour consisted of a guided tour of Colonial Williamsburg gardens and three other gardens in the Walnut Hills area of Williamsburg.
We enjoyed a tasty italian dinner at this family, locally owned restaurant.
On Wednesday morning, we drove the scenic parkway between Williamsburg and Jamestown. This was a nice way to get to Jamestown with beautiful views of the James River. Many places to stop and take photos.
Next we spent several hours exploring the Historic Jamestown site. This is the federal national park site where the actual Jamestown fort and town were located. The trails and grounds are great to walk around in. The museum is excellent -- displaying many artifacts found during the various archealogical digs.
After touring Historic Jamestown, we drove Route 5 to Charles City, Virginia to see the historic plantations. We visited Berkeley Plantation just off Route 5. This plantation had some interesting history (first official Thanksgiving) and some lovely views of the James River. We drove by Westover and Shirley Plantations.
We enjoyed another Thai restaurant during our stay in Virginia. We enjoy trying Thai restaurants on our travels. This restaurant featured tasty entrees, large portions and good prices made this a good choice.
Fun, spooky ghost tour given by the Colonial Williamsburg evening program. The stories consisted of ghost sightings and unusual happenings of the CW staff and guests. None of the stories were particularily scary so I think it would be appropriate for children ages 8 and up. The tour often sells out so book ahead if possible. Each person going on the tour gets a collectible pin at the end of the tour. Kids take turns holding the lantern. The tour meets in front of Shields Tavern.
We spent the whole day exploring Colonial Williamsburg visiting as many houses and buildings, viewing demonstrations and walking the streets of Williamsburg. A fun, education filled day!
Stopped here for a casual dinner. Located near to the College of William and Mary campus and the Williamsburg Hospitality Hotel.
Next onto the house and garden tour. The garden tour consisted of five houses and gardens in Saluda and Urbanna and two historic chruches.
We stayed only one night at this fantastic B&B located in Urbanna where this day's garden tour happened. The B&B in fact was on the garden tour. The B&B is warm and inviting with a wonderful cooked breakfast. A convenient stop while attending the Middle Peninsular Garden tour.
We enjoyed a nice dinner at this local cafe within walking distance of the B&B.
After dinner a great place to stop for ice cream! Open late in season.
Traveled back to Richmond to catch our flight home. Before flying home had time to visit the botanical garden. Fabulous gardens and green house to visit! Highly recommend it. Recommend 2 to 3 hours to see all the gardens.