The Lake Anna area is a Civil
War history buff’s dream vacation.
Only thirty minutes to the northeast is Fredericksburg, one of America's
most historic small cities. The downtown district, with its impressive
array of antique and specialty shops, superb restaurants, and unique
buildings dating to America's colonial period make it a must-visit destination.
Walking tour brochures are available at the Fredericksburg City Visitor
Center, 706 Caroline St. You can also hop a trolley and take a narrated
It is safe to say, "George slept here." Just east of downtown
is Ferry Farm, (540-373-3381) Washington's boyhood home and site of
such legendary tales as chopping down the cherry tree and throwing the
silver dollar across the Rappahannock River.
In town, visit the home of George Washington's
mother, walk along the “stonewall” and Sunken Road at Marye's
Heights, scene of some of the fiercest fighting of the Civil war in
There's no escaping the Civil War in this part of Virginia. So many
of the pivotal moments and struggles in our nation's history took place
within the sound of cannon shot from Lake Anna.
Begin your stroll through history with the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania
National Military Park, spanning more than 5,500 acres and encompassing
such battles as Fredericksburg (1862), Chancellorsville (1863), Wilderness
and Spotsylvania (1864 Overland Campaign).
A visitor center is located in Fredericksburg and another visitor center
is located on Route 3 on the Chancellorsville battlefield, 10 miles
west. Other sites in the vast military park are Old Salem Church, site
of fighting during the Chancellorsville campaign, and the Stonewall
Jackson Shrine (Guinea Station), where the general died on May 10, 1863.
Call 540-371-0802 or visit www.nps.gov/frsp for more information.
The nearby town of Gordonsville was an important stop along a major
rail artery in the 19th Century. The town's Exchange Hotel, quite a
large facility for such a small town in its time, was converted to a
military hospital in 1862. Now restored, the building houses a museum.
At one time the Virginia town of Staunton, west of our area, was the
edge of the American frontier. Staunton is home to the Frontier Culture
Museum, a living history program that takes visitors to four countries
through 300 years of history. It’s comprised of four historic
farms and a working blacksmith's forge.
Period furnishings, gardens, livestock, crops, and a knowledgeable staff
illustrate life in Europe before immigration to America. The cultures
that came together to help shape the American frontier and eventually
blend into the American spirit are on display. Time periods include
Germany early-1700s; Northern Ireland early-1700s; England late-1600s;
and mid-1800s (pre-Civil War) Shenandoah Valley. Call 540-332-7850.
Virginia has been called the "Mother of Presidents" - at least
presidents from America's earliest years.
Besides Washington's roots near Fredericksburg, you can take a quick
trip south to Montpelier, the home of fourth President James Madison
and the man often referred to as the "Father of the Constitution."
He is said to have referred to his magnificent home as "a squirrel's
jump from Heaven."
The 2,700-acre estate is the setting for numerous events including wine
and music festivals, and the Montpelier Hunt Races, a mix of flat-track
and steeplechase races held in early November. Besides touring the home,
visitors can hike through an old growth forest, check out the latest
archeological digs, or visit the formal gardens. Call 540-672-2728 for
general information about Montpelier.
The rolling hills of Albemarle County are almost due west of Lake Anna.
Two more presidential homes are open to visitors. James Monroe's Ashlawn
is still a 535-acre working farm. Get more information about our fifth
president's home at 434-293-9539.
Thomas Jefferson built his famous Monticello on one particularly beautiful
summit near Charlottesville. Jefferson, the author of the Declaration
of Independence, loved the scenic countryside and peaceful respite his
beloved home provided when he wasn't away leading our young nation or
serving as a statesman abroad.
Monticello is maintained in impeccable historic state and is a must-stop
for any American history buff. Call 434-984-9822 for more about this