A Once a Year Opportunity! April 19-21
Built by the founder of Richmond, William Byrd II around 1730, Historic Westover Plantation will be open to the public this weekend! Each year during the Historic Garden Week, Virginia opens some if its most exquisite gardens, homes and historic landmarks to the public so they can witness the peak of Virginia’s beautiful springtime colors in person.
Take advantage of this once a year opportunity to tour one of Virginia’s most stunning colonial plantations, Westover Plantation. Visitors can explore the expansive grounds, take in the formal gardens and James River view, and check out the outbuildings such as the Ice House and Necessary House. Considered a National Landmark, Westover Plantation is known for being one of the best examples of Georgian architecture in America today. The mansion’s front door, the “Westover Doorway”, is one of the home’s most notable features, with many buildings and other large homes throughout history modeling their front door after this grand doorway. An additional focal point you will want to see in person are the original wrought iron gates which were crafted in London, England.
William Byrd II “Black Swan of Westover”
While touring the home’s sprawling grounds and gardens, pay a visit to the gravesite of William Byrd II, nicknamed the “Black Swan of Westover”. Since this mansion is not always open to the public, take advantage and explore the beautifully detailed architecture that has made it so famous today.
Westover “Byrd” Plantation Fun Facts:
- Did you know that modern day films such as G.I. Jane, HBO’s John Adams, PBS’s The Abolitionists,
Field of Lost Shoes and AMC’s series Turn have used the Westover Plantation location for their film?
- Did you know that there is a secret underground tunnel located on the property? If you look in the well located across from the Ice House, you will see a ladder inside that leads down to a tunnel which will bring you out down at the bank of the James River! This was an escape route should Indians attack! As they did in the massacre of 1622.
- Did you know that Westover Planation is rumored to be haunted? Evelyn Byrd, William Byrd II’s daughter, is said to have died of a broken heart after her father would not allow her to marry a Englishman who she met while attending school in England. Her father said he would cut her out both financially and physically if she went through with the marriage. She returned home to Virginia with her father, and was never the same….Throughout out the years, servants and workers have reported sightings of her in both the home and throughout the grounds.
- For more information on Westover and the other James River Plantations click this link: James River Plantations