Have You Ever Visited a Plantation?
By Alice Henry
February 1, 2016 11:02pm CST
Not very far from where I live are several historic plantation homes, which I have visited, I’m happy to say. But, it’s been a long time and I think I would like to revisit them. First, there is Shirley Plantation: It was founded in 1613 and is reported to be the first Virginia plantation and the “oldest family-owned business in North America,” according to a recent article I read in tourist guide. Shirley plantation has been “owned by the same family for 11 generations.” The history of this beautiful estate includes Indian uprisings, Bacon’s Rebellion and of course, the American Revolution, the Civil War and the Great Depression, among other things. The guided tour includes the Great House, but you can also take a self-guided tour of the formal gardens and eight original colonial outbuildings. Shirley Plantation is a National Historic Landmark and I would recommend a visit to anyone who comes to Virginia. The Berkeley Plantation, whose grounds lie along the James River, was settled in 1619 and is supposedly the site of “America’s First Thanksgiving.” The mansion was built in 1726. Benjamin Harrison, V, who signed the Declaration of Independence was born at Berkeley. William Henry Harrison, the 9th U.S. president was also born at Berkeley and it is the ancestral home of Benjamin Harrison, the 23rd U.S. president. There are many other historic plantations in Virginia, but these are the two that I have visited and want to revisit one day soon.
2 people like this
• United States
2 Feb 16
The plantations are still working farms and tourist attractions and the same family's descendants live there. They don't have the absolute grandeur they had years ago and they certainly don't have slaves to do the bulk of the work, but they are definitely worth a visit. I'm planning to spend a day, come Spring and visit both of these that I mentioned here and possibly others eventually. They are VERY close to where I live. I want to take my grandson with me. He has NOT been there. There is a fee but I don't think it's very much.
• United States
2 Feb 16
@JudyEv Yes, eleven generations is a long time, but the family has held on to the property through good times and bad, even through the Revolutionary and Civil Wars and that is saying a lot when you consider what happened to most properties.