Historic Plantation Excursions
RVA TROLLEY PRIVATE PLANTATION TOURS
Group size up to 20 people per trolley! Call 804-343-1850 for more details or to book your group tour.
Walk in the footsteps and homes of 3 U.S. Presidents. Site of the First Thanksgiving in the nation, 1619! Beautiful grounds nestled next to the James River! All starting in 1613!
Days and times are flexible, based on availability of the trolleys and visiting hours of the plantations.
Charles City County, strategically located between the James and Chickahominy rivers and close to Jamestown and Williamsburg, is home to three historic plantations that have survived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War. Descendants of these founding fathers still live in the county today. The county’s gracious manor houses all privately owned and preserved historic National Register properties, are open for visitors to experience and enjoy today. These plantations are full of history dating back to the early 1600s, just a few years after the founding of Jamestown.
So why put yourself through the extra stress of finding these places, when the staff at RVA Trolley can transport you hassle-free to and from all these amazing sites. Our trolleys are the perfect way to experience the history behind these magnificent plantations. Let us be a part of your journey through time to a whole other world!
Below are listed the plantations and a taste of the history to be found at each one.
The Berkeley Plantation is the most historic plantation on the James River, as the site of the first official Thanksgiving in 1619. Step back in time and experience 18th century lifestyle. Nowhere can you find a more unspoiled and tranquil environment. The Berkeley Plantation’s 1726 Georgian mansion is the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence and three times governor of Virginia. It is also the birthplace of William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States and ancestral home of his grandson Benjamin Harrison, the twenty-third President.
Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first plantation, founded in 1613, and America’s oldest family business, dating to Edward Hill I establishing a farm in 1638. 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 Great Britain in 1776. After eleven generations and under the leadership of one family, Shirley Plantation has survived Indian uprisings, Bacon’s Rebellion, the American Revolution, the American Civil War, and the Great Depression. The eleventh generation currently owns and operates this grand southern plantation.
The Shirley Plantation is also home to Upper Shirley Vineyards, which is an amazing restaurant and winery. A tour of the Shirley Plantation followed with lunch and a wine tasting at Upper Shirley sounds like an amazing way to spend an afternoon!
Home of the 10th US President John Tyler from 1842-1862, and has been the continuous residence of the Tyler family since he purchased it in 1842. Known to be the longest frame house in America, over 300 feet long. Sherwood Forest Plantation reflects the lifestyle of this mid-19th century Presidential family. The Tyler family still maintains this plantation, and their children and grandchildren are frequently seen on the grounds.
Evelynton was originally part of William Byrd’s expansive Westover Plantation. Named for Byrd’s daughter, Evelyn, this site has been home to the Ruffin family since 1847. The family patriarch, Edmund Ruffin, fired the first shot of the Civil War at Fort Sumter. Evelynton was the site of fierce Civil War skirmishes in 1862, when General George McClellan waged his destructive Peninsula Campaign; J.E.B. Stuart, Stonewall Jackson and John Pelham bravely led the Southern offensive in the Battle of Evelynton Heights.
Westover was built circa 1730 by William Byrd II, the founder of Richmond. It is noteworthy for its secret passages, magnificent gardens, and architectural details. The grounds and garden are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, but the house is not open to the public. Westover was named for Henry West, fourth Lord Delaware and son of Thomas West, Governor of Virginia. The shady tulip poplars framing the building are more than 150 years old. “Ancient” is the best word to describe the boxwood hedges which enclose the lawn. The house is considered one of the most outstanding example of Georgian architecture in America.
We’re happy to customize destinations, cost, and/or shorten the tour duration for you. Call us to book your customized tour today: 804-343-1850 or 804-971-2685.