A history lovers’ exploration

See and experience the amazing history of Stafford, VA while exploring Northern Virginia’s rich historical region! From colonial times, through the Civil War and Civil Rights movement, Stafford County has played a vital role in America’s history over the last four centuries. 

What To Do

family at Ferry FarmVisit George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm, where he lived and grew up from ages six to 22 before moving to Mount Vernon. George Washington was six years old in 1738 when his family moved to a farm in Stafford County, Virginia. The Washington’s called this place the Home Farm but it later became known as Ferry Farm because people crossed the Rappahannock River on a ferry from the farm to the town of Fredericksburg. Though the house burned down multiple times over the last few centuries, archaeologists were able to locate the foundation of the original house and a replica home has been built on that foundation. On the tour, you’ll have a chance to sit at the table where George would have sat for meals and lay in the bed where he would’ve rested his head each night. After touring the house, check out the visitor’s center where you can peek into the archaeological lab where scientists are discovering and identifying colonial and civil war artifacts every day.

Drive or walk by the Moncure Conway House or the Shelton Cottage in Falmouth – these houses show how the different classes lived during colonial times. 

front gate at Chatham ManorDiscover Chatham Manor, a Georgian mansion used during the Civil War as it played a vital role as a Union headquarters, hospital, and soup kitchen during the Battle of Fredericksburg. This estate was built by William Fitzhugh in late 1700s and has weathered American history beautifully. Walk the grounds and see where the colonial owners would overlook the city of Fredericksburg. 

Learn about American artist Gari Melchers and his wife Corrine at his home and studio located in southern Stafford. Walk in the footsteps of the couple and discover furnishings and rugs original to the home, china selected by Mrs. Melchers, and hundreds of different art pieces. Take some time to explore the gardens of the home and imagine walking the grounds in the 1920s. 

Visit the Stafford Civil War Park, where more than 135,000 soldiers occupied Stafford County while their new commander, General Joseph Hooker, rebuilt his army. This critical time has been referred to in soldier’s letters as “The Union Army’s Valley Forge.” Explore the 41 acres and find cannons that you can walk up to and touch. This is also a great place for a picnic with the family. 

family at Stafford Armed Services MemorialHonor the brave men and women who have given their lives for their country through military service by visiting the Stafford Armed Services Memorial. For more than 200 years, residents of Stafford County have served honorably in our nation’s armed forces to preserve freedom and democracy. From the Revolutionary War to the present conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and throughout the world, many of these men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. We recognize and remember their sacrifice.

Spend the late afternoon visiting the Rowser Building, once marked as the only place where black students could receive an education beyond the 7th grade in Stafford County. This building is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Virginia Landmark. You can also discover other rich African American History by learning more about the Trail to Freedom, a walking and driving tour through the Stafford region where you will discover the landmarks that lead to over 10,000 enslaved men, women, and children crossing the Rappahannock River and self-emancipating after the Union Army took control of Fredericksburg.  

End your day with a sunset walk around Government Island, the quarry where the US Government’s most famous buildings were born. Government Island, a historic 18th and 19th-century quarry site provided Aquia sandstone for the construction of the US Capitol and the White House and other historic buildings in Washington, DC.

Where To Stay

Stay in one of our 29 hotels throughout the county. Find hotels with free breakfast, a pool to splash around in, and central to all the historical sites. Our hotels are comfortable and affordable making a weekend in Stafford simple and worthwhile.