One of only two homes Thomas Jefferson designed for his personal use, the villa retreat at Poplar Forest was the place where Jefferson “came to indulge in the life of the mind and renew his personal creativity.” Jefferson and his wife, Martha, inherited the Bedford County plantation from her father in 1773. Prior to and throughout Jefferson’s ownership, the property served as a tobacco plantation housing approximately 94 enslaved men, women, and children at the height of production. When his presidency ended in 1809, Jefferson visited the retreat three or four times a year, often staying for several weeks at a time during planting seasons.
Designated a National Historic Landmark and nearly lost to development, Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest was rescued in 1984 by a group of local citizens who sought to preserve it for the cultural and educational benefit of the public. Poplar Forest opened to the public for the first time in 1986, in its “before restoration” state. Today, the neoclassical architecture of the octagonal house and the surrounding ornamental landscape is being returned to Mr. Jefferson's design.
- Family Friendly
- Admission includes a guided house tour and self-guided exploration of exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds, slave quarter site and our Enslaved Community Talk room located in the only intact enslaved dwelling on the property. When available, visitors have the opportunity to add the Enslaved Community Talks to their visit, included with admission. 2020 Admission rates are: $18 for adults; $16 for seniors (ages 65+) and military (must show ID); $10 for college students (must show ID) and youth ages 12–18; $6 for youth ages 6–11; and free for children under age 6.
Last Updated: 09/02/2020