James Madison's Montpelier
James Madison's Montpelier
4.5
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
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About
Montpelier is the lifelong home of James Madison, fourth President of the United States, Father of the Constitution, and Architect of the Bill of Rights; and his wife, Dolley, America's first "First Lady." Montpelier was also home to six generations of enslaved individuals. The historic house, grounds, gardens, "The Mere Distinction of Colour Exhibition," and 8+ miles of walking trails are open to visitors. Guided "Highlights of Montpelier" are currently offered 9:30AM-3PM, and the Museum Shop is currently open 10AM-4:30PM. The Gilmore Cabin is open on weekends, and the Train Depot is open during business hours. Montpelier is administered by The Montpelier Foundation and is a National Trust Historic Site. Montpelier is a monument to James Madison and the Enslaved Community, a museum of American history, and a center for constitutional education that engages the public with the enduring legacy of Madison's most powerful idea: government by the people.
Suggested duration
2-3 hours
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4.5
1,235 reviews
Excellent
892
Very good
248
Average
46
Poor
20
Terrible
29

ITCountM
Stony Brook, NY186 contributions
Beautiful historic building and lush ground spoiled by handicap inaccessibility. Although a wheelchair could be provided, the paths are not handicapped friendly. They are too steep for comfort and the rough pebble texture makes it difficult to maneuver even with someone attempting to push the wheelchair. Other paths are coated with loose rubber shavings which also makes it impossible to navigate even with someone pushing. Entry into the house is not with your group but must go to the rear side entrance which is accessible. Docents are friendly and understanding and are excellent guides for the wheelchair. They are knowledgeable of the historic aspects of the house and Madison family. The step stairs to the upper floors are not accessible and the handicapped must wait until the rest of the group comes out.
Written May 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Ed L
1 contribution
My wife and I visited on August 7th. We're both conservatives and had heard the criticisms about Montpelier going "woke." So, we were curious about what we'd experience. Our guide, Alyson, did a fabulous job. We were most pleasantly surprised. She provided a very balanced and accurate portrayal of James Madison, his life, and his contributions to our nation. Highly recommended!! A beautiful place to visit.
Written August 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Carolina_Traveler_7
Charlotte117 contributions
Wonderful tour of the house and grounds.
There’s a basic pass that gets you on the grounds but the tour add on really brings understanding about what James Madison, and that time in the US, was really like. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic; she is a grad student at JMU (of course) and had been participating in the research and the archeological digs.
Tour covers part of the house and there are several reconstructed cabins and information on the slaves and conditions from that perspective.
Best part is how everything is described-not in the one dimensional, sanitized way that I learned back in school, but much more real. It was a good mix of fun anecdotes and serious history.
As far as “sights”, this is not as extensive as Monticello. It’s also not crowded and considerably less structured.
Written August 15, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Linda F
3 contributions
I should have known something was up when there was not an American Flag in sight...not being a student of history, I went to Montpelier, Madison's family property, hoping to learn about James Madison, 4th president, contributor to the Constitution, author of the Bill of Rights, war of 1812.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. We were invited into "Dolley's house" (whom he married at 42) to see a few rooms and our guide when specifically questioned about what might have been written in the library, she couldn't really say...we did have extensive time in the "enslaved people's" exhibit. The short clip on the Constitution, though actually the most informative, had Madison as a cartoon caricature. Shameful
When you go to James Madison's house, you want to learn ALL about James Madison!
Written August 18, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Alex Z
3 contributions
First off the tour is expensive.

But the worst part were the gross historical inaccuracies and constant bias exhibited by the tour guide. This is a historic house owned by James Madison, who probably did more to bring the US Constitution to life than any other person. And given the times and his economic status he owned slaves. Both are worthy of discussion, but not at all the balance we got on this tour. Constant discussion of slaves, including a genetically disproven story that one of them had a child by him.

This being a historic location, even handed and fact based discussion is needed, or the experience is a poor one.

Cannot recommend and even wonder why even preserve the main structure at all.
Written July 8, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Tracey M
Bluemont, VA478 contributions
When we got our pass to enter we were not informed that the main house was closed. So we did a self-walking tour and enjoyed the many areas to look at. We especially enjoyed the beautiful garden area. Because of Covid-19 a lot was not available which was disappointing as we missed out on learning about the true James Madison. It was nice to have a little cafe onsite to purchase food, but they charge $6.00 for an ice cream sandwich and $2.20 for a can of soda...so the prices are rather high. We would like to come back when we can tour the inside of the house.
Written July 5, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Thank you for taking the time to review Montpelier on Trip Advisor. I am sorry to hear that your experience did not meet your expectations. The safety of our visitors and staff is our top priority, and the house currently remains closed because of COVID-19. We will soon be offering weekly "virtual" house tours until we can safely reopen the house. Please check our website for details, and we hope you will visit again soon!
Written August 18, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

joyongue
Charlotte, NC4 contributions
We visited Montpelier with a group of 11 people (three families). We called ahead and Laura Maddox arranged for us to have a guided tour for just our group.

Our tour guide was Katie. Katie was very knowledgeable and answered all of our questions. The questions and topics ranged from:
History of Architecture on the grounds
James Madison's relationship with Thomas Jefferson working of VA statue of Religious Freedoms
Generations preceding James Madison Jr at Montpelier
Crops farmed and trades developed
Dolly Madison role in entertaining and Frances Taylor's entrepreneurship
Paul Jennings' story and contributions
The room for scholarship where US Constitution was crafted.

We were hoping for a tour guide who did not simply regurgitate Wikipedia and Katie delivered for us.

The grounds are beautiful and great for all to enjoy on a day when it's nice to be outside. The location is a bit isolated and I would recommend packing a lunch. The visitors' center has grab-and-go food items with tables to eat inside or outside.

An opportunity the location could incorporate is an exhibit on the US Bill of Rights. In particular, James Madison's role in authoring them and the impact they have on America today.

We enjoyed our visit and would come again.
Written January 2, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

hudsontj
Cary, NC98 contributions
Family
Though we have visited the other founding father's homes at Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Ash Lawn, this was our first trip to James Madison's Montpelier. Years ago I'd been warned that the DuPont family had made many additions that has spoiled the historic home. We were delighted by now beautifully restored historic home as well as the beautiful and richly historic estate. Well worth doing the guided toru which gives access to three rooms in the house including where the Madisons hosted important historic figures of the day and where Madison wrote the Virginia Plan that would shape the Constitution. The house and grounds are beautiful. It is moving to visit James and Dolly's graves in the family cemetery. Some of the homes and workplaces of the enslaved people has been reconstructed and you can also visit the slave cemetery. Credit to the DuPonts, there is also a beautiful walled English Garden as well as some lovely retired race horses on the property. The tour and short films give a great introduction to both Madison and Montpelier. Nice bathrooms and gift shop. Masks are required in all indoor spaces. With that as well as the ample outdoor spaces and trails to explore I felt very safe and comfortable. They had a yummy soul food food truck offering lunch this weekend which was a fun treat and let us explore the grounds longer too. The house was an easy and scenic drive from Fredericksburg which also took us through the Wilderness and Chancellorsville Battlefields. Lots of walking but plenty of chairs and benches to give older people in our group a break. A really inspiring and enjoyable visit! On par with Monticello and Mount Vernon but delightfully less crowded too!
Written May 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Lapolla
Tulsa, Oklahoma80 contributions
Couples
On the Fourth of July, we drove four hours to visit the home of the “Father of the Constitution”. You could not find a flag with a search warrant. Very odd. Rather we were treated to a one hour Critical Race Theory experience disguised as a tour. As one tour member said “I m surprised Madison had time to write the Constitution as he was abusing his “enslaved Americans” full-time. Pathetic and insulting experience. Another example of if your only tool is a hammer , everything else is a nail. A few days earlier we toured Mount Vernon. It was obvious that the tour leader loved and respected Washington. At Montpelier it was clear the docent did not feel the same about Madison. Save your time, gas and money. Take the private tour sponsored by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association.
Written July 6, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Steve M
Canton, NY26 contributions
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, who owns Montpelier, needs to get rid of the current leadership of the Montpelier Associatio. They have decided that to show the true history of James Madison's Montpelier, including the important role that Madison's enslaved population played there is no longer of importance. Montpelier has been the most important historical site of former presidents in the country, primarily because of the focus on the role the enslaved population played at Madison's plantation. This groundbreaking focus has been a model for other historical sites. Having an equal role for the descendants of Madison's enslaved population on the Montpelier Foundation Board, grant money to understand the enslaved population through archaeology and history, and a balanced interpretative tour of the site apparently was not in keeping with the new Virginia governmental view that "critical race theory" is a bad thing. I will no longer visit Montpelier, nor will I encourage my students to do so. I will also no longer donate nor encourage others to do so.
Written April 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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James Madison's Montpelier (Montpelier Station) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about James Madison's Montpelier

James Madison's Montpelier is open:
  • Thu - Mon 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM