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Review of Shirley Plantation

Shirley Plantation
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Electric Bike Tour to Shirley Plantation and Wine Tasting
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Shirley Plantation is Virginia's first plantation, founded in 1613 as a land grant from King James of England. Shirley is North America's oldest family owned business and home to eleven generations of the Hill-Carter family. Admission fee. Please check our web site for details on our daily hours as they vary seasonally.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
95 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed October 18, 2011

There were many plantations to see in the area. We had time for only one. I am so glad we chose this one. The family still lives in this fabulous house. It is the oldest plantation in Virginia. The home is furnished with original family heirlooms. The history of the family is fascinating, too, with their ties to George Washington and Robert E. Lee. We had a guided tour that was very informative.

Visited October 2011
Thank tamis3angels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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314 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
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English first
Cleveland, Ohio
Level Contributor
354 reviews
235 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,228 helpful votes
“Jewel of A Plantation -- If you only visit one plantation, it should be Shirley”
Reviewed October 16, 2011

As part of a recent Road Scholar group, I toured three plantations in the Richmond area (see my separate reviews of Berkeley Plantation and Tuckahoe Plantation). Although I enjoyed all of them (for different reasons), this was my favorite, largely due to the quality of the tour guide and the absolute beauty of the site.

Our docent (Julian Charity) was excellent; he really made the plantation experience come alive, both the good (beautiful architechture) and the bad (slavery). Shirley, which is Virginia's oldest plantation, is still occupied by the original family (11th generation!). As the family still lives on the 2nd and 3rd floors of the plantation house, the guided tour is restricted to the main floor of the plantation, with self-guided tours of outbuildings (laundry, kitchen, storehouses, icehouse, pump, smokehouse, etc). Everything has been wonderfully restored and well marked so that you know what you are viewing.

In my view, it is the prettiest plantation house in all of Virginia, with a great view of the James River, a historic (350+ year old tree) in the magnificant yard facing the River, and a facinating history of old Virginia.

The flying staircase in the entrance hall alone justifies the price of admission! Plus the decor and paintings are exquisite. Wonderfully restored, this is a must see.

The story of fist how the plantation owned by the Hill family became known as Shirley (the wife's last name was Sherley, but some how the spelling changed over time) is interesting. And, then how the hisoric Hill home became the home of Hill-Carter due to the death of the only son, Edward Hill the 4th, was interesting, along with the prominent portrait of this individual, who died at the age of 16. This is rich and varied history that is not at all well-known, but definitely fascinating.

This is a working estate farm, even growing cotton, along with the more common crops farmed in Virginia.

Visited October 2011
2 Thank CynthiafromOhio2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
247 reviews
111 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“A Great Introduction to a Plantation”
Reviewed October 6, 2011

Having never been to a plantation it was rather exciting to see cotton growing for the first time in my life. This plantation was a clean and well laid out. The preservation was just great, as was the location. You get a real flavour of what it was like to be in such a place in the past. This one aslo has all the history that some of the others do not have. I was later told that I could not have started my tour of the area in a better place. I tend to agree with then. I did this on my way into the Williamsburg area. You do have to go down a long unmade driveway, but good quality, so just be warned, especially if you have a hire car, and you all know what can happen if you even get a stone chip on it! I have marked it down one point as I feel it lacks aproper refreshment area. It could do with a small diner selling authentic plantation food. id can supply you with a cold drink, but not much more. I would go again if I was in the area.

Visited September 2011
2 Thank Festie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Level Contributor
174 reviews
44 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 157 helpful votes
“The best of the James River plantations”
Reviewed September 27, 2011

Our visit to Shirley Plantation was the best of the plantation tours. Although we were only able to tour the main floor of the home (the owner occupies the upper floors), the combination of the tour guide and all the well-kept outbuildings made for an excellent visit. The guide told us the history of the plantation, the residents, several of the furnishings, and several stories on the previous occupants of the home. He made it a very enjoyable and educational tour.

Visited April 2011
4 Thank hammonl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
VA Beach
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“This is a plantation!”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

This is what you picture when you think of a plantation. The entrance fee would have been a little much if we haden't received a discount...there is plenty to see outside for free though.

Visited September 2011
Thank HDriderVABeach
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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