Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's.
George Mason, who drafted the Virginia Declaration of Rights and was a framer of the Constitution, lived at this nineteenth-century manor home originally set on 5,000 acres. Mason, in the end, refused to sign the Constitution because it did not abolish slavery. The film at the visitor center presents some background on Mason’s life. The house is known for its intricately carved woodwork, particularly apparent in the Palladian Room.
Children on the tour are given a Sleuth Score Card and asked to solve a mystery that takes them through all the rooms. Despite the manor home’s grace, children may like the 550 acres of grounds best, especially the farm, where they can see (and sometimes pet) piglets, turkeys, geese, and lambs. The formal gardens, which contain only plants found in colonial times, is noted for its 12-foot-high boxwood.
Kids like the nature trail that leads past a deer park and along the river. They’ll also love the terrific programs held throughout the year, such as Behind the Scenes Farmyard Tours; Camp Gunston Hall, which includes archaeology, garden projects, games, and storytelling; and spring and fall festivals that include crafts, food, and hayrides. Check the Web site for dates and discount coupons.