Plan a fun weekend for your family in beautiful Orange County, home of James Madison’s Montpelier.
Begin the weekend with a visit to Montpelier just 4 miles to the south of Orange. James and Dolley regularly welcomed guests to Montpelier, and the centerpiece of the Montpelier experience is the mansion.
The guided tour takes visitors through the Drawing Room, filled with art and conversation pieces, and the dining room, where they hosted dinner parties for distinguished guests, friends, and family. You will also see the Presidential Library, which is filled with books and maps that reveal the brilliant mind of James Madison.
With much more to see and do, you may take a self-guided tour of the mansion's second floor exhibits, which includes "A Young Nation Stands: James Madison and the War of 1812." Then move on to the cellars to see Dolley’s kitchen and the enslaved community spaces.
Be sure to make time to explore the gardens and grounds of Montpelier, home to champion native trees, rare flowers, and 200 years of landscaping that is actively being revealed by Montpelier archaeologists. Visit the website for the latest on Montpelier activities and events.
While in Mr. Madison’s neighborhood, be sure visit Historic Downtown Orange. The 1909 Orange Train Station now houses the Orange County Department of Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau. During the winter months, stop by the station to pick up some treats or fresh bread from the small Farmer’s Market, and May through October, Downtown Orange hosts a larger market in the Faulconer Hardware Parking lot. For a quick bite stop by the Lightwell Tavern on Main Street. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a great selection of locally-roasted coffee.
And for more information about all there is to see and do in Orange County, please visit www.visitorangevirginia.com
Just two miles from Montpelier is The Market at Grelen; A Farm and Garden Shop, where you can spend the afternoon picking fresh fruit and vegetables. Their 600-acre farm offers breathtaking mountain views and a great assortment of red, black and yellow raspberries, blueberries, apples, pears, peaches as well as vegetables, mushrooms and honey. Check their website to see what’s ripe for picking.
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