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Thomas Jefferson's Poplar Forest

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One of only two homes Thomas Jefferson designed for his personal use, the Poplar Forest retreat was the place where Jefferson “came to indulge in the life of mind and renew his personal creativity.” Jefferson and his wife, Martha, inherited the Bedford County plantation known as Poplar Forest from her father in 1773. When his presidency ended in 1809, Jefferson visited the retreat three or four times a year, often staying for several months at a time during planting seasons. Designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior, and nearly lost to development, Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest plantation in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains was rescued in 1984 by a group of local citizens who sought to preserve it for the cultural and educational benefit of the public. Poplar Forest was opened to the public for the first time in 1986, in its “before restoration” state. Today, the neoclassical architecture of the octagonal house has been returned to Mr. Jefferson’s design. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has recognized the meticulous research and restoration efforts with its highest award, and the plantation has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A visit to Poplar Forest offers a unique opportunity to observe a “live” archaeological dig and historic restoration in progress, as efforts to reveal and restore Thomas Jefferson’s vision for his personal retreat continue. Poplar Forest is open daily from March 15 through December 30 (closed on Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (last tour leaving at 4:00 p.m.). Admission includes a guided house tour and self-guided exploration of exhibits in the lower level of the house, the Wing of Offices, the ornamental grounds and slave quarter site. Visitors on Saturdays and Sundays have the opportunity to add the Enslaved Community Tours to their visit, included with admission. These guided tours––from the site of the slave cabins throughout the nearby plantation grounds, with stops along the way––provide insight into the work the enslaved residents were doing, discovered through true stories and anecdotes that have been documented in letters and archaeological evidence.

Directions
Things to Do
Shopping
Tours
Directions
  • Directions: From Richmond (64 West to 29 South to 460 West) Take Route 64 west to Route 29. Then follow directions described above. From Roanoke (460 East) Take Route 460 east for approximately 40 miles. At Route 811 turn left at light and proceed for 4.4 miles. At Route 661 turn right and proceed for one mile. Look for Poplar Forest entrance on the right.
  • Major Access Routes: Rt. 460
  • Miles from I-81: 45 miles
Things to Do
  • Monday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Tuesday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wednesday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Thursday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Friday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Sunday Hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Admission Rates: $15/adults; $13/seniors; $7/Youth 12-18; $3/Youth 6-11; Free/Under 6
  • AAA Discount:
  • Handicap Accessible: Yes; ramps to Museum Shop and restrooms; wheelchair lift to house
  • Concessions:
  • Gift Shop:
  • Restrooms:
  • Additional Information: Poplar Forest is open seven days a week, March 15 through December 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last tour leaving at 4:05pm. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tours take place on the hour and half hour. Guided tours between January 1- March 14 (open weekends only) are offered from 10 a.m. to 3.p.m., with the last tour beginning at 3 p.m. All tours last approximately 45 minutes.Tour tickets may be purchased in advance or onsite in the Poplar Forest Museum Shop.
Shopping
  • Monday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Tuesday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Wednesday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Thursday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Friday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Saturday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Holidays Closed: Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Credit Cards Accepted:
  • Handicap Accessible: Yes
  • Public Restrooms:
Tours
  • Bus Parking:
  • Group Rates - Adults: $10.00
  • Group Rates - Seniors: $10.00
  • Group Rates - Students: $7.00 (with i.d.)
  • Guided Tours:
  • Special Tour Package Details: Poplar Forest welcomes motor coaches and other group tours. Groups of 10 or more must be scheduled in advance. Group Admission Groups of 20 persons or more receive a discounted rate. Adults/Seniors $10.00 College Students (with ID) $7.00 Teens (12–18) $6.00 Youth (6–11) $4.00 Tour leader and bus driver receive complimentary tickets with groups of at least 20. If the group drops below 20 on the day of the tour, the full admission rate will be charged. To schedule a group tour please contact Gena Morris, Visitor Experiences and Volunteer Manager at (434) 534-8110 or gena@poplarforest.org School groups should contact Kathy Kramer, Interpretation Assistant at (434) 534-8109.
Facility Info
  • Description1 open area room - 50 people