My husband, daughter, and I were in Williamsburg for the weekend and wanted to tour one of the James River Plantations. We chose Shirley at the recommendation of our innkeeper at the bed & breakfast we were staying at (The Cedars of Williamsburg - reviewed separately). It was the furthest away (about 35 miles from Williamsburg) but the drive was scenic and it was well worth it. The tour cost $11 (we got $1 discount off that price for being AAA members) and it was very interesting. Our tourguide, Lee Hayes, was a lovely woman who knew everything about the family tree of the several generations that lived (and still live on the upper floors) of the house/plantation. The tour is of the first floor of the main house, and there are other out-buildings to stroll through on your own and a huge live oak at the back of the property where it overlooks the James River. The most memorable story our guide told us was how all the generations of brides carved their names or initials in the glass panes to prove that the diamonds in their engagement rings were real. You can still see and feel the carvings in the glass today. If you go, ask about the "ghost story." It is not part of the tour narrative, but when asked, our guide told us about the spirit of one of the Aunts who had definite ideas about where she wanted to be!
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