Eastern Virginia is one of the oldest European-settled areas in the U.S. A different breed of Englishman came here, compared to the mercantile traders of New York and small plot farmers of New England. Virginia attracted landed gentlemen who re-created the imposing manor-style houses of their home counties across the pond. The "neck," or peninsula that Williamsburg is on, contains quite a few of these plantations, but the most impressive is Shirley, about 30 miles west of Williamsburg proper. Shirley is the oldest plantation in Virginia, and claims to be the oldest family-run business in North America, dating from 1638 and having passed through 11 generations from founder Edward Hill to the current day owners. Tours are pleasant, the grounds are beautiful, and all in all, a visit to Shirley makes for a lovely historical experience with no theme park pretensions, yet real connections to the 21st century.
- Open Hours: Monday to Sunday from 09:30 AM to 04:30 PM
Attractions & Landmarks