Mansion & Grounds
James and Dolley regularly welcomed guests to Montpelier and the centerpiece of the Montpelier experience is the Mansion. The guided first floor tour takes visitors through the Drawing Room, filled with art and conversation pieces and the dining room where they hosted dinner parties for distinguished guests, friends and family. Also included is the Presidential Library, which is filled with books and maps that reveal the brilliant mind of James Madison.
See the furnishings, books, and art that reveal the brilliant mind of President, James Madison and the lively personality of our beloved First Lady, Dolley Madison. These objects and decorative items reflect their curiosities, interests and personalities.
Montpelier offers 2,650 acres of rolling hills, spacious horse pastures, and spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Plan to spend some time enjoying the gardens and grounds. Just north of the mansion, you can stand in the Temple where James Madison contemplated democracy, and take in the view of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Just behind the Mount Pleasant site lies the Madison Family Cemetery—the final resting place of James and Dolley Madison.
Wander the two-acre Annie duPont Formal Garden featuring formal walkways, sweeping beds, an herb garden, and magnificent marble lions and urns. Established in Madison's time, the Garden was renovated by Annie duPont in the early 1900s.
The James Madison Landmark Forest is a 200-acre old-growth forest that offers miles of walking trails for beginning and experience hikers alike. The U.S. Department of the Interior designated the Forest a National Natural Landmark in 1987. Several prize-winning trees live in the Forest.
The Archaeology Lab contains exhibits and drawers of artifacts for visitors to explore along with archaeologists who will explain the process by which we rediscover lost sites at Montpelier. Watch archaeologists clean artifacts and process finds. There is also a kids hands-on-area where children can discover artifacts in a miock-archaeology unit!
Follow the path of American History from the Civil War, through emancipation and segregation. Leisurely hike Montpelier’s Civil War trail to see the archaeological remains of a Confederate winter camp, and a reconstructed camp street. The trail ends at freedman George Gilmore’s home for a rare look at life after slavery. Visit the 1910 Train Depot for a glimpse at the segregated south and consider African American’s final struggle for Civil Rights.
Join other nature lovers on Montpelier’s Big Woods Walk on October 20 or the Working Woods Walk on October 27.