The Robert E Lee birthplace, Stratford Hall, is the site of this week’s Saturday Postcard. Situated along the Potomac River on Virginia’s Northern Neck, the historic site offers free admission and special events in mid-January to honor of the anniversary of Lee’s birth on January 19, 1807.
Though Robert E. Lee only spent the first four years of his life at Stratford Hall, the Great House and surrounding plantation housed four generations of the Lee family including a Revolutionary War hero and two signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Visitors to Stratford Hall can tour the mansion and outbuildings; learn about the Lees, Virginia history, and site restoration in the Visitor Center; hike the nature trails; and visit the mill and beach along the Potomac River.
During your mansion tour you’ll visit The Chamber, where Robert E Lee was born and where his walnut spindled crib still stands. Rooms at Stratford are being restored to illustrate different periods in the mansion’s long history, and it’s interesting to see how each room is taking shape.
If weather and time allow, you can drive down to see the grist mill and a view of the Potomac (note: the road is very steep). On your way, you’ll pass the guesthouses of the Inn at Stratford Hall, which offers lodging and meals to visitors (check the site for hours; limited in winter). Read our article about fun things to do on Virginia’s Northern Neck for more interesting places to visit in the region.
If you have time after your visit to the Robert E Lee birthplace, we highly recommend a stop at the George Washington Birthplace, just a 15-minute drive north. Here you can tour the family home of another famous Virginia statesman, and learn about his early years on Pope’s Creek.
You can also learn more about Robert E Lee and his heart-wrenching decision to resign his commission from the Union Army at Arlington House in Arlington National Cemetery. Mansion tours, a museum, outbuildings, and exhibits tell the story of how Lees family home became the burial ground of our nation’s fallen.