So Much To Think About

April 6-April 8, 2018



 Once again, the Surratt Conference will be taking participants on the road to enjoy history that is related to our theme.  The 2018 itinerary will begin on Friday morning, April 6, 2018 at 8:30am as we board the bus at Surratt House Museum and head south to Colonial Beach, Virginia, - and no, you don't need your bathing suit!  This is the area in the Northern Neck of Virginia where many of our nation's forefathers and leaders began life.  We're going back to "Old Virginny!"

Going Back to "Ole Virginny" Tour
April 6, 2018   8:30am - 5:00pm

Pope's Creek Plantation (later Wakefield)
Our first stop will be at Pope's Creek Plantation (later renamed Wakefield), the birthplace of George Washington and the family's residence until the future President was three-years-old. This was a modest plantation, built in the 1720s by George's father at a cost of 5000 pounds of tobacco and one pound sterling and was eventually inherited by his son, Augustine.  Following his father's death, young George spent many long visits here with his half-brother.  At age 15, it is said that George surveyed the plantation.

The original house was destroyed by fire on Christmas Day in 1779 and was not rebuilt.  The Washington family sold the property in 1813, but returned to it in a sense when furture owner, John E. Wilson, married William Augustine's granddaughter.  A memorial house now stands near the site of the original home, whose foundations are marked by oyster shells.  Here, you will witness the way of life that young George would have had.  In the family burial grounds are George's father, grandfather, great-grandfather and half-brother.

Stratford Hall 
Our next destination will be Stratford Hall, built in 1720 by Thomas Lee, the father of Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee, signers of the Declaration of Independence.  The house remains as it was those many years ago.  It is an architectural anomaly in colonial America - the only house to utilize the Italian style of having the major living areas on the second floor.  The Great Hall at Stratford is considerted on of the most beautiful rooms in America.

This is a working farm with cattle and crops all about.  The many outbuildings have been rebuilt and some depict the different views of colonial life.  We will have a delicious buffet lunch at the site before heading for our final stop of the day.

Ingleside Plantation Vineyard 
Our last stop of the day will be at the Ingleside Plantation Vineyard for a wine tasting.  The present-day winery is part of land once owned by the family of WIlliam Storke Jett, the young Confederate soldier who divulged where Lincoln's assassin could be found in April of 1865.  We will then head back to the Surratt House and an opening reception in our James O. Hall Research Center to meet up with old friends and to make new ones. 

 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Down in the Valley Tour
April 8, 2018    8:00am - 7:00pm

Note that this tour will depart from the Colony South Hotel lobby at 8am on Sunday morning, April 8.  After an educational and entertaining day on Saturday, we will head into another part of "ole Virginny," the lovely Shenandoah Valley, which saw much action, intrigue, and damage during the Civil War.  The center of our tour will  be around Front Royal and several interesting museums. 

Warren Rifles Confederate Museum 
Our first stop is home to a piece of the rope that hanged John Brown, a spur that once belonged to Elmer Ellsworth, and a handkerchief with the blood of James Jackson (Alexandria's Marshall House proprietor who shot Ellsworth in the opening days of the war).  There are battle flags, arms, uniforms, cavalry equipment, documents and pictures on display, all beautifully arranged and clearly labeled.

Warren Heritage Society Museum 
We will then visit the Warren Heritage Society Museum and gift shop, which has a bit of local history and many interesting books to buy.  This is housed in Ivy Lodge, which dates to the Civil War and, over the years has been a school or home to more leading citizens, school officials, and the center of more political and social events than any other building still standing in the town.

Belle Boyd Cottage 
Next we will head to Belle Boyd Cottage, which was moved to its present day location in 1982, from its original site behind the Fishback Hotel, which was run by the Stewarts, Belle's aunt and uncle. Here you will hear the exploits of the well-known Confederate spy, Belle Boyd.

Balthis House 
A Federal-style, ca. 1787 structure.  This is the oldest house on the oldest street in Front Royal, Virginia.  If the walls could talk, they could tell an interesting story - but we will wait to hear the story from our guide...

The Mill Restaurant 
Along the way, we will be making a historic stop for lunch.  We will be eating in the Mill Restaurant, an old, two-story grist mill that has been converted into a charming dining spot.  If you register for this tour, you will be asked to make a meal selection when you receive your confirmation letter.