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“"Shirley" You Don't Want to Miss This!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Shirley Plantation

Shirley Plantation
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Electric Bike Tour to Shirley Plantation and Wine Tasting
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
Hillsborough, NJ
Level Contributor
30 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“"Shirley" You Don't Want to Miss This!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 4, 2013

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!

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Margaret T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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309 reviews from our community

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Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
40 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Totally worth visiting”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 3, 2013

Shirley Plantation is a real pleasure to visit ...you can feel the pride, history, respect and love of this plantation by the owners and staff.
Thank you for sharing such a special home.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank fmc208
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
Level Contributor
105 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“Great plantation tour”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 25, 2013

We visited the plantation on our way home from Williamsburg. It is located about 2-3 miles off of Route 5 so it isn't far out of the way. It is located right on the James River which is behind the house. The family still lives on the 2nd floor so it's an occupied house and not just a museum. Our tour guide gave us the history of the family tree that have lived in the house which was nice. The outbuildings are still in good shape and really neat to visit. This tour really gives you an idea as to what it was like to live on a plantation in the 1700's and 1800's. If you like history, I'd recommend this tour otherwise you might be bored.

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Art S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Frederick, Maryland
Level Contributor
96 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 114 helpful votes
“You "shirley" shouldn't miss this visit!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 16, 2013

My wife and I have traveled to the Williamsburg area many times. Most of those times, we have stayed in one of the restored homes in Colonial Williamsburg; as a result we didn't use our car, once we unpacked, until we repacked to go home. Well, last November we stayed at a timeshare and drove to both Jamestown and to Yorktown, in addition to three days in Williamsburg. This week, staying in a different timeshare, we visited a half dozen plantation homes. Shirley Plantation was the first on our list because it was the furthest west of where we were staying (we worked our way back from there!).

After walking the grounds as we waited for our tour time to arrive, we met a lovely lady whose presentation while we toured the first floor of the manor home filled our heads with the resplendent history of eleven generations of Hill Carters who built this house 275 years ago and live in it still. There were portraits of every generation as well as signatures of many brides who had scratched their names into the panes of window glass to prove that their rings contained real diamonds! The staircase was amazing, seeming to hang suspended in mid-air. All of the buildings were built at the same time and with bricks molded and fired on the premises. A local farmer still tills the fields. This is a great look into plantation life!!

Visited August 2013
2 Thank StillSteppinOut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2,780 reviews
1,093 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1,779 helpful votes
“Be sure to see Robert E. Lee's cradle”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

We recently completed two vacation trips--two weeks to Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana and three weeks to Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. In both cases, we intended to visit Civil War battlefields and plantations. Of all the plantations we have visited, Shirley is the most complete and most beautiful of all, comparable to Monticello and Mount Vernon and Montpelier. Settled in 1613 and home of the Hill-Carter family, Shirley is the gem of the James River plantations. As we drive on Route 5 from Williamsburg to Richmond, we never hesitate to stop if for only one reason. We get a genuine kick when the guide gathers a group of tourists in the front lobby and points out that the cradle under the winding staircase once belonged to Robert E. Lee. Born at Stratford Hall, he spent most of his boyhood here. How's that for history? The family that traces its ancestry to early settler Robert "King" Carter, once the richest man in America, still owns Shirley and resides in the upper two floors of the mansion. What else is special about the plantation that all of the outbuildings, save for the slave quarters, remain intact and open for tourists. It still is a working farm. But it remains a picture postcard with the front yard sloping to the James River.

Visited July 2013
4 Thank Taylor B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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