Organizers Unveil Autumn Pilgrimage House Tour Properties for 2019 and Introduce a Visitor from the Past
(Charles City County, VA) – For approximately 65 years, volunteers from Westover Episcopal Church in Charles City County have made it possible for visitors to tour some of the most historic homes in America, all within just a few miles of each other. This year’s tour adds several new homes, and introduces a visitor from the past, who will be on hand to explain what life was like in 1621 when English colonists were still struggling to make their way in the New World.
The Autumn Pilgrimage House Tour, first held in 1954, invites visitors to Charles City County, which was first settled in the 1600s as colonists expanded their footprint from the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. This year’s tour, held on September 28, will include homes that are only open to the public on this one day out of the year. Proceeds from the tour generate funds for Westover Church’s Meals on Wheels program and several other area social services programs.
The following properties are featured this year:
- Berkeley Plantation: Built circa 1726, this plantation was the site of the first Thanksgiving and was the ancestral home of U.S. Presidents William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison.
- Sherwood Forest Plantation: Home of President John Tyler, this plantation home was begun circa 1660 with additions through 1845.
- Shirley Plantation: Virginia’s oldest plantation, this property was settled in 1613, only six years after Jamestown was founded. It’s the oldest family-owned business operating in North America.
- Nance-Major House: Built in 1869, this property has been at the geographic and political core of Charles City County for 150 years. The Nance-Major Store operated from 1874 until 1963 and was an important gathering place for citizens coming to the courthouse.
- Peace Hill Farm: A working farm and bed and breakfast, Peace Hill was given its name after a 1614 treaty was signed by the English settlers and the Chickahominy tribe. The farmhouse was constructed in the late 18th
- Richmond View: Originally built in Chesterfield County circa 1790, the home was in an industrial corridor between Interstate 95 and the James River. It was in danger of complete ruin until the current owners had it moved by barge to Charles City County in 1998.
- River Lea: Sitting on a high bluff overlooking the James River and surrounded by about twenty acres of woods and beautifully landscaped lawn, this 5,400 square foot home built in 1972 recently saw a complete renovation.
- Westover Plantation: Built circa 1730, Westover Plantation is considered one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in America.
- Westover Episcopal Church: More than 400 years old and going strong, this church is home to one of the most historic parishes in the nation.
High resolution photos of each property are available upon request. A high resolution video of Westover Plantation is available here. A printable tour map is available here.
In addition to this year’s tour homes, Westover Church invites visitors to travel back in time to the year 1621, to visit with Marye Bucke, the Minister’s Wife. Marye has traveled here all the way from the 17th century to share stories of her life in the early years of Jamestown, Virginia. Mrs. Bucke is portrayed by Rebecca Suerdieck, who is an Educator at Historic Jamestown. For the last 20 years she has delighted in educating Visitors with her accurate and entertaining look at early American History. Visitors can ask her anything, so long as they remember the year is 1621.
Tickets are $40 in advance or $45 when purchased on the day of the event. Tickets are valid for one day of admission at all sites on the 2019 Autumn Pilgrimage House Tour. Admission tickets do not include lunch. Pulled pork barbecue, hot dogs, and baked goods will be available at Westover Church. The tour sites are not handicapped accessible. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here. For more information, or to purchase tickets by phone, please call (757) 561-6430.
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