America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Ferry Farm Drawing

Ferry Farm, Virginia

On the other side of the Rappahannock River sits two amazing historic sites; one having to do with the Civil War battle of Fredericksburg 1862 called Chatham Manor, and the other, reaching back to the days of George Washington and his family, Ferry Farm. George lived there from the time he was a boy of six until he was twenty years old and working as a surveyer. His mother Mary raised six children there from 1738 with her husband Augustine, and continued raising them alone and running the plantation from Augustine's death in 1743. She lived there until 1772. Photo above: Washington Ferry Farm home, 1860, Hays, George Washington biography by Washington Irving. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons via

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Front of Ferry Farm House

Ferry Farm, Virginia

Yes, this was a slave plantation in the northern section of the antibellum south. Their home, however large at the time, was not spectacular, but functional and showed that his father had been successful. Today you can visit the grounds, Visitor Center, and reconstructed home and learn more about the story of young George. The stories of many of our youth; that he could not tell a lie after chopping down a cherry tree with a new ax, and others, come from his time at Ferry Farm. Today, it's sixty-eight acres look much the same as they did, particularly from the bluff overlooking the Rappahannock River and site of the past ferry to town. It had been a busy place for commerce and travelers.

Image above: Front of the reconstructed Ferry Farm house which faced the Rappahannock River, 2019, aamarcian. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons, C.C. 4.0. Below: Montage of (left) Augustine Washington, 1867, part of a lithograph by John C. McRae from drawing by G.G. White. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons via (right) Mary Washington, mother of George, 1786, Robert Edge Pine. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons via Library of Congress.

Augustine and Mary Washington, parents of George Washington

Where Is It

Ferry Farm is located at King's Highway, Fredericksburg, Virginia, 22405 at the intersection of Ferry Road and King's Highway. This is across the river from Fredericksburg and very near to Chatham Manor of the Fredericksburg Battlefield. Take Route 3 east across the river, turn left onto King's Highway, or just tell your GPS where you're going.

Minute Walk in History - Ferry Farm

Take a late fall walk around the boyhood home of George Washington, Ferry Farm, across the Rappahannock River from Fredericksburg, Virginia. A visitor center awaits, plus the grounds to the river, and a recently reconstructed home that the Washington's family lived in under his parents Augustine and Mary. Last picture in the video of George and Martha Washington dancing would not have happened at Ferry Farm, but foreshadows their days at Mount Vernon.

What is There Now

Ferry Farm

Sixty-eight acres of the property still remains of the original five hundred and eighty acres; the property originally stretching across King's Highway. There is a federal style Visitor Center with exhibit, programs, and facilities. Outside there are gardens and work fields, the reconstructed Ferry Farm house as well as a path that navigates through the land. The ferry, which the property took its name, no longer exists, but did run, for free, from the north side of the Washington property along the Rappahannock River. They neither owned or operated it.

There are indoor tours of the Ferry Farm house by a guide every hour, which walks you from the Visitor Center to the house then through its two floors. Photo below: Young George Washington as a boy, in this political cartoon, with Grover Cleveland, Daniel Manning, William C. Whitney, William F. Villas, and Lucious Q.C. Lamar with Daniel Lamont on the telephone, 1880-1900, George Yost Coffin. We do not know the context of the cartoon. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Political cartoon of young George fishing along with other future politicians

When Open and How Much

Ferry Farm is open all days of the week from March to December. The charge is currently, as of December 2022; $12 Adult, $6 Student, and free child (5 & under). Other discounts may apply.

Fees and hours are subject to change.

Ferry Farm

History Nearby

Fredericksburg is replete with history, starting with the various homes of the Washington's, i.e. Ferry Farm and Kenmore, but perhaps most known as the home of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park run by the National Park Service. It is not far from many other sites, i.e. Mount Vernon, and since it is about forty-five minutes south of Washington, D.C., depending on the traffic, all that the capital city has to offer. Downtown Fredericksburg is a joy to visit for other pursuits with trendy eateries, pubs, and shops.

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