The James River Plantations and Their Culture
From historic plantations to the Jefferson-designed Capitol, from presidential homes to the Museum of Fine Arts, discover renowned culture, architecture and art along the James River.
Rating (5)
Program No. 4317RJ
6 days
Starts at

At a Glance

In the period when Virginia was first settled, roads were few. The efficient means of travel was by water, on the rivers that reached inland from Chesapeake Bay. Colonial Virginia society centered on the settlements and great estates on the river shores. Join us to examine the cultural legacies of early Virginia: the elegant style of the houses, the family heirs who were leaders in the Revolution and the stratified social order that copied the English class system and instituted slavery.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Standing and walking on uneven terrain and climbing stairs, including upper floors of historic houses. Limited barrier-free access at some sites.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Learn about the history and architecture of colonial Virginia, including the settlement that came after Jamestown, Henricus and the crown’s system that assigned scions land for importing residents.
  • Visit venerable 18th-century homes that show the panorama of life for the elite and for the rest: Tuckahoe, the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson, Berkeley and Shirley plantations and Wilton House.
  • Explore Virginia's exquisite Jefferson-designed Capitol and the expanded and stylish Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Featured Expert
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Catherine DODSON
After earning a B.S. in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Catherine Dodson became the activities director for a retirement facility. She returned to VCU to study gerontology and for her practicum in 1989, worked on Road Scholar learning adventures . When Catherine received her M.S. in 1990, she joined VCU Road Scholar as a full-time group leader.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Catherine DODSON
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Suggested Reading List
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