The Washington Family Tour

A tour through the Stafford Region.

George Washington influenced not only Fredericksburg’s history but also the new nation he helped form. This 4 3/4 hour tour emphasizes the Washington family and Fredericksburg’s colonial history. Visit as many as six sites with strong Washington connections.


Stop 1

Fredericksburg Visitor Center — View the free orientation film, gather tour material, and meet your pre-arranged tour guide. Visit the Visitor Center courtyard and see display panels describing the archeological digs that have occurred in the Caroline Street area. Allow 30 minutes.


Stop 2

Ferry Farm — Located on the banks of the Rappahannock River is the site of George Washington’s boyhood home where he, his sister Betty, and brothers Samuel, John and Charles grew up. According to legend, young George chopped his father’s cherry tree here. At the age of 11, George inherited the plantation upon his father’s death, and his mother, Mary Ball Washington, lived here until 1772 when George bought a house in Fredericksburg for her. At Ferry Farm today, archaeologists have unearthed Indian artifacts dating back 10,000 years, early 18th-century home sites and Civil War artifacts. There is also a garden featuring plants that would have been grown during the Washington’s residence. A replica of George Washington boyhood home is also available for touring. Allow 60 minutes.


Stop 3

Rising Sun Tavern — Built by Charles Washington as his home in 1760, the building was later operated as a tavern and served as the social center of town. Although the tavern lost its liquor license in 1823, the tavern wench today can serve an enjoyable shot of living history. Allow 45 minutes.


Stop 4

Mary Washington House — Purchased by Washington for his mother in 1772, this home is a simple frame house where she spent her last 17 years. Her English-style garden has been restored and the house contains some of her prized personal possessions as well as many fine period pieces. Allow 45 minutes.


Stop 5

Kenmore — is the elegant plantation home of George Washington’s sister, Betty, and her patriot husband, Colonel Fielding Lewis. The mansion is known for its ornate plasterwork ceilings and the Aesop’s fable theme in the dining room overmantel is said to have been suggested by Washington himself. Allow 60 minutes.


Stop 6

Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop — George Washington befriended Mercer, an expatriate Scotsman, during the French and Indian War. It was at Washington’s suggestion he began his medical practice in Fredericksburg, where Mercer’s patients included the Washington family until he joined the Continental Army in 1776. He died heroically at the Battle of Princeton. Allow 45 minutes.