Few would expect George Washington’s boyhood home to be nestled in amongst modern neighborhoods and shopping centers. Located right off of Rt 3, in Stafford County, Ferry Farm is a historic gem hidden in plain sight.

As soon as you pull into the property, you are immediately aware that it is not only a landmark and museum, but an active archeological site. Excavation at Ferry Farm began in 2003. It has now grown to become the second largest dig site in Virginia (after Jamestown)! More than 1,000 artifacts each day are uncovered here. Some even from prehistoric times.

“George Washington was 6 years old in 1738 when his family moved to a farm in Stafford County, Virginia. The Washingtons 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. The Washingtons did not own or operate the ferry but used it frequently to get to and from town.” For more on the history of George Washington’s boyhood home at Ferry Farm, visit their website.

Throughout Ferry Farm, there are roped off areas where scientists are currently working to unearth bits of the past, and hopefully answer questions about what life was like for early Americans. You can see some of these artifacts in the Ferry Farm museum, which is located in the beautiful Visitor Center. These items include shards of pottery, buttons, pipe stems, and even wig rollers! This museum also houses a few Civil War artifacts found on the property.

Speaking of archeology, you’ll want to be sure to take a peek at the archeology lab inside (also the Visitor Center)! Here you can watch archaeologists in action Monday through Friday. Their tools and current projects stay visible to visitors over the weekend as well.

Let’s talk tours.

You have the choice of taking a 45 minute guided tour of the interpretive replica of Washington’s Boyhood Home, or an individual tour of the 80 acre site, with an iPad. Of course, you can always do both!

The individual (iPad) tour does not include his home, but it does a great job connecting the past with the present as you meander around the property at your own pace. The iPad tour includes videos and photos, plus in-depth details about Ferry Farm during the time the Washington family lived there. Definitely worth doing!

One thing is for sure: Washington had a beautiful view of the Rappahannock River! Take advantage of one of the two benches overlooking the river, and soak in the view. Imagine the way it must have looked when George Washington was a boy!

Ferry Farm has events throughout the year, is a birthday party venue, and is also a popular field trip location for area schools.

Stay up to date on events at Ferry Farm by following their Facebook Page or subscribing to their newsletter.

Last Updated:
April 4, 2019