U.Va. Faculty & Staff Guide

Historical Sites

Charlottesville Area

Ash Lawn-Highland

Route 53 just beyond Monticello. The home of the fifth president, James Monroe, and his wife Elizabeth. Visitors to Ash Lawn have the opportunity to tour the home and plantation. A summer music festival, historic garden week, and holiday concerts are just some of the special events that occur annually.

Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily March through October and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. November through February.
Tickets: $8 for adults, $7.50 for seniors, $5 for children (ages 6-11), and $5 for residents of the surrounding counties.

Ash Lawn-Highland | (434) 293-9539

Barboursville Historic Ruins

Take 20N at Pantops to its intersection with Route 33 just 20 miles northeast of Charlottesville. Thomas Jefferson helped design the building that now lies in ruins after a Christmas Day fire in 1884. James Barbour was once the governor of Virginia, a US Senator, and Secretary of War. Self-guided historic tours are possible from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Barboursville Historic Ruins | (540) 832-3824


Downtown Charlottesville has its share of historical value with sites such as Christ Episcopal Church, on whose board Thomas Jefferson served, and the Levy Opera House, which functioned both as Town Hall in the 1850s and a hospital during the Civil War.

Downtown Charlottesville

Michie Tavern

Route 53 just before Monticello (take exit 121 off I-64). Founded in 1784 as a meeting place for the community and a hospitality center for travelers. Today's visitors can tour the tavern and eat in the ordinary. Lunch is served daily year round. Museum tours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily. Tours are free to local residents.

Michie Tavern | (434) 977-1234


I-64 to exit 121 and turn onto 20S. The historic home of Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia. Visitors learn about Jefferson and his architectural accomplishments and inventions. General admission: $11 for adults, $6 for children (ages 6-11), and free for children younger than six. Discounts for local residents and University students. Admission includes a guided tour of Jefferson's home and self-guided tours of the surrounding grounds and plantation. Monticello's hours vary by season.

Monticello | (434) 984-9822

Beyond Charlottesville

Charlottesville is a wonderful place to live because there are so many exciting sites to see in the surrounding areas. If you want to discover history beyond the surrounding community, consider the following:


I-64E to exit 242A (Route 31). Located 110 miles southeast of Charlottesville. Settled in 1607, Jamestown was America's first permanent English colony. Visitors can tour the triangular fort, explore a replica of a seventeenth-century ship, wander in and out of Powahatan Indian dwellings, and learn more about the site's history in the Jamestown Gallery. Admission: $10.75 for adults, $5.25 for children (ages 6-12). Hours: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily (9 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily between June 15 and August 15).

Jamestown | (888) 593-4682


I-64W to I-81S. Located just 55 miles from Charlottesville, historic Lexington offers a combination of small-town charm and historic beauty. Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and Washington & Lee University are both in Lexington, in addition to a number of Civil War sites, including the Lee Chapel where General Robert E. Lee is interred. Also near Lexington is Virginia's Natural Bridge (Route 11S), a rock formation that was once surveyed by George Washington.

Lexington | (540) 463-3777

Luray Caverns

29N to Ruckersville, then 33W to Elkton, and then 340N to Luray Caverns. Located approximately 60 miles from Charlottesville. If you are interested in natural history, you should visit Luray Caverns's underground formations of stalactites and stalagmites. The caverns were discovered in 1878 and became a registered natural landmark in 1974. Hours vary. Admission: $14 for adults, $12 for senior citizens, $6 for children (ages 7-13), and free for children younger than seven.

Luray Caverns | (540) 743-6551


29N to Route 33W and follow signs. About 25 miles from Charlottesville in Orange County. The home of James Madison, fourth president and the "Father of the Constitution." Hours vary. Admission: $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $4.50 for children (ages 6-11), and free for children younger than six. Tours include the house and grounds of Montpelier.

Montpelier | (540) 672-2728

Mount Vernon

To visit President George Washington's beloved home about 88 miles from Charlottesville, travel north on I-95 and exit at Route 1 North (exit 161), marked "Ft. Belvoir/Mt. Vernon." Continue north on Route 1 about six miles through Ft. Belvoir. Just after Ft. Belvoir, turn right on Route 235 north. Mount Vernon is three miles straight ahead, at a large traffic circle. Special events scheduled throughout the year include a birthday commemoration in honor of George Washington, special holiday celebrations, and various other festivals. Admission: $9 for adults, $8.50 for senior citizens, $4.50 for children (ages 6 -11), and free for children younger than six. Hours: 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. April through August; 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. March, September and October; and 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. November through February.

Mount Vernon | (703) 780-2000

Poplar Forest

Thomas Jefferson's retreat, Poplar Forest, covers nearly 5,000 acres in Bedford County (near Lynchburg, VA). Poplar Forest is appreciated for its octagonal architecture, designed by Mr. Jefferson, and its beautiful landscaping. Tours: offered daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April through November. Admission: $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, $1 for youth (ages 6-16), and free for children younger than six. Bedford County is approximately 75 miles southwest of Charlottesville.

Poplar Forest | (434) 525-180


In addition to being Virginia's capital, Richmond is the center of a significant amount of the state's culture and history. The city was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War and also home to poet Edgar Allan Poe, a former University of Virginia student. Visit the church where Patrick Henry delivered his famous "... Give me liberty or give me death" speech, see the home of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall, or take a stroll through one of America's most historic cemeteries, Hollywood Cemetery. There is plenty to experience in Richmond and it is just an hour away!

Richmond | (804) 646-7000

Washington, D.C.

Just 120 miles from Charlottesville, Washington, D.C. is a great place to explore the history of the United States. Many of the sites are free and open to the public year round. Some require tickets. Highlights include: the White House, Smithsonian Institution (including 14 museums and the National Zoo), Holocaust Museum, United States Capitol, federal buildings, Library of Congress, Jefferson Memorial, FDR Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, war memorials, the Pentagon, Washington National Cathedral, Supreme Court Building, Union Station, and various other museums, monuments, and memorials.

Washington, D.C. | (202) 789-7000


Colonial Williamsburg is a step back in time to the 18th century, complete with historic buildings and townspeople dressed in Revolutionary-era attire. There are many period shops to visit as you wander the streets. Some sites are free and open to the public. A pass is required for admission to many of the historic buildings (prices start at $32 for adults and $16 for youth ages 6-17). Even without a pass into all of the historic buildings, Colonial Williamsburg is worth the trip. To visit, take I-64 to exit 238. Hours of operation vary by season. Williamsburg is approximately 110 miles southeast off Charlottesville.

Williamsburg | (800) HIS-TORY


Situated near Jamestown. the Yorktown Victory Center is where visitors can experience a Revolutionary War reenactment and tour the museum's exhibits related to the pivotal Battle at Yorktown. Admission: $7.75 for adults, $3.75 for children (ages 6-12). Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily (9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily between June 15 and August 15). Take I-64W to exit 247 (old Route 238). Yorktown is located approximately 120 miles southeast of Charlottesville.

Yorktown | (888) 593-4682