Get Your FREE Ultimate Weekend Packing Cheat Sheet!

Ferry Farm George Washington PullOverandLetMeOut
Picture of Anna Marie

Anna Marie

Ferry Farm – George Washington’s Boyhood Home and Why You’ll “Dig It”

Ferry Farm in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia, is the boyhood home of George Washington. This significant site on the Rappahannock River's banks is a great addition to any itinerary since it offers a window into the life and times of one of the most prominent founding fathers. Travel there with PullOverandLetMeOut to discover more about this house, the people who lived there, and its significance in history.
A woman sipping coffee outside
Hi, I’m Anna Marie. I’m a wife, mother, Irish dancer, and pug mom living in North Carolina. I also love to travel. Come along for the ride! If you see something you like, don’t be afraid to say, ‘Pull over and let me out.’

Ferry Farm in Fredericksburg, Virginia, was George Washington’s home from the time he was six years old until he was twenty. It’s the place he played as a child, became an accomplished surveyor and if the story is true – it’s here he took an ax to the infamous cherry tree. Today, visitors to Ferry Farm learn the story of the first president’s boyhood home. However, they may be surprised to find archaeologists at work identifying thousands of artifacts on what is an active archaeological site.

The Visitors Center at Ferry Farm

Housed in what was originally constructed as a boys home in the 1960’s, the Visitor Center features three distinct exhibits. The first one focuses on the first president, “George Washington: Boy Before Legend.” The exhibit details his boyhood years spent at Ferry Farm.

The second exhibit, “Dig to Discover, Analyze to Recover” explores how the archeology lab works and utilizes the Civil War at Ferry Farm as a case study.

Finally, the third exhibit, “Shared Landscapes, Separate Realities.” This exhibit examines the life of the Washington family and the enslaved people throughout the years after George’s father, Augustine’s death in 1743.

a brick building with four white columns at the entry
Ferry Farm Visitors Center
metal artifacts on display
Some of the artifacts found at Ferry Farm

The Gardens and Replica House

The self-guided walking tour lets visitors explore the 113-acres Washington called home as a child. Guests can spend time in the demonstration garden where colonial-era and modern flower species bloom.

Leave the garden and enter an active archaeological site. Explore the dig-site and see where the original Washington home once stood. 10 stops comprise the tour including one at the location the ferry for which Ferry Farm is named once crossed the Rappahannock River.

Since my initial visit, a replica of the Washington home was built and opened in 2018. Guided tours of the replica house are offered and give outstanding insights into the lives of George, his mother, the enslaved people, and other family members.

Likewise, visitors get a glimpse into what life would have been like and the challenges faced at Ferry Farm after the death of George’s father, Augustine Washington.

A sample of a colonial garden
Colonial era and modern flower species bloom at Ferry Farm.

Civil War History at Ferry Farm

While this lush land is best known as the home of the first president, it’s also steeped in Civil War history. The Union Army camped at Ferry Farm in 1862 and once again, prior to the Battle of Chancellorsville in 1863. Not only were soldiers encamped on the farm, it’s estimated that hundreds of slaves crossed the river at Ferry Farm each day seeking freedom in the north.

On December 11, 1862, Ferry Farm became a combat zone at the beginning of the Battle of Fredericksburg. Consequently, by the end of the war the farm, once an idyllic country setting, was nothing more than a barren, desolate landscape. All trees had been cut down and used as firewood and the soil so severely damaged the only crop that would grow was corn.

According to the docent in the Visitor Center, Fredericksburg didn’t fully recover from the ravages of the Civil War until 1975. It’s no wonder Abraham Lincoln was quoted as saying when he visited after the Battle of Fredericksburg, “If there is a worse place than hell, then I am in it.”

civil war style tents in a row
A Civil War encampment at Ferry Farm.
PullOver Pro Tip picture

A combined ticket to both Ferry Farm and Kenmore House is available for purchase. Built by George Washington's sister, Betty Washington Lewis, and her husband, Fredericksburg merchant Fielding Lewis, Kenmore House is a stunning brick house in the Georgian style that reflects the wealth and gentry rank of the Lewis family before the Revolutionary War. It's a famous landmark in Fredericksburg and only a short distance away.

Honoring Ferry Farm's Past

Because Ferry Farm is the boyhood home of George Washington and a site engulfed by the Civil War, the grounds are rich with historical artifacts. Guests can see objects on display from the colonial-era, Civil War era as well as treasures from pre-historic times.

I had the good fortune of visiting Ferry Farm during a Civil War reenactment. Demonstrations on shooting and the cavalry as well as an army camp-site were an added treat. The interactive nature of the exhibitions put on by the interpreters brought to life the story of Ferry Farm.

Civil War reenactors shooting guns.
Civil War Reenactors at Ferry Farm
3 Civil War reenactors on horses
The Irish Brigade Civil War Reenactors.

Plan Your Visit

Ferry Farm is located in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia. This means it is one of many noteworthy destinations in the area that make a fantastic itinerary item. There are several points of interest on the farm, so you will want to come prepared to do a little bit of walking on hiking paths and trails, if exploring the grounds is of interest to you.

There is a wide variety of choices when it comes to selecting a place to stay during your visit. That being said, if you can splurge on lodging, it’s well worth seeking out one of Fredericksburg’s iconic bed and breakfast inns for an authentic historic stay. Additionally, the dining options are abundant with a wide range of cuisines available to select from.

Parting Thoughts

If there is one thought I took away from my time at Ferry Farm it’s how impressed and surprised I was at the amount and quality of unexpected history I found. I went to Ferry Farm anticipating a tale of Washington throwing a rock across the river but came away in awe of the stories and the yet-to-be-told stories lying beneath the soil. I can’t wait to return again and see the changes to this historic travel destination.

George Washington’s Ferry Farm

Hey, Pinners! Pin this for later!

► Plan Your Trip to Ferry Farm Now!


It makes it simple to plan your trip.   We’ve pre-filled the destination from the article and if there are multiple places mentioned in the article, we’ve put the one that is best used as your base to see all of the places mentioned.

Just select I’M STAYING and enter the travel dates and hit SEARCH.  It automatically uses the first place in the article.  

For a multi-day trip, if you stay near that location, you should be able to use it as your base.

Super simple.  Just click on the pencil and enter the name of any place mentioned in the story.  Or you can enter any address or even the name of a company if you are mixing business and pleasure.

Just click I’M DRIVING and you can see how long it will take, get driving directions and even rent a car if you need one.

Yes, we guarantee the best published rates on hotels.  Click on the link for BEST RATE 110% GUARANTEE for details.

Share your experiences  

Hey pinners, save this for pinning after your trip

After you get back from your trip, please use these images to post to social media or post your own photos.  Please tag us on your post #pulloverandletmeout
You can also use the social sharing links on the SmartTrip tool.
Paws for Purple Hearts logo

More great travel stories you'll love reading!​

Cover photo two pints of Guinness

What You Need to Know Before You Order That Pint of Guinness

Few beverages are as closely linked to a location as Guinness is to Ireland. Rich in heritage, the creamy dark stout is a daily staple at pubs and bars across Ireland and the world. Travel along with Pull Over and Let Me Out to the Emerald Isle and learn what you need to know before you order that pint of Guinness.

Read More »

Let’s Get Social!
Click below and join the conversation on social media

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top

FREE Access to Exclusive Travel Tips and Deals

Get the latest travel news, tips & information from!

Save on Membership with


don't leave empty-handed

Get your FREE Ultimate Weekend Packing Cheat Sheet

Happy Travels