Calendar of Events
For the most up-to-date information about particular events, please contact 540.672.2728.
A Young Nation Stands: James Madison & the War of 1812
A special exhibit at James Madison’s Montpelier will tell the story of James Madison’s Presidency and wartime struggle. Read more...
The Gilmore Cabin
Enter the home of George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810, and visualize the life he built for his family after Emancipation. This self-guided tour highlights the continuing struggle for African Americans during Reconstruction and the Gilmore family's eventual ownership of the land and citzenship. The Gilmore Cabin is open to visitors every Saturday and Sunday, April - October, from 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Located on Rt. 20 across from Montpelier's main entrance. Admission is free.
In the Time of Segregation
This self-guided exhibit illustrates a watershed period in American history - the time of segregation - and explains the codification of laws which dictated that blacks and whites be given "separate but equal" accommodation across the South. Open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Located adjacent to Montpelier's main entrance on Rt. 20. Admission is free.
September 17: State of the Constitution, National Archives, Washington, D.C.
Celebrate the 227th anniversary of the U.S. Constitution with Congressman Robert Hurt of Virginia; Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale College and Yale Law School; and Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute, in a discussion about the relevance of the Constitution in contemporary America. This event is held in the William G. McGowan Theater at The National Archives in Washington, D.C. Please register online (required) by September 4 at www.stateoftheconstitution.org. Reception at 5:30 p.m. Lecture at 7:00 p.m.
September 20: Constitution Day Celebration
Celebrate America's most impactful founding document with family, friends, and the Taste of Freedom Wine Festival on the historic grounds of James Madison's Montpelier. Beginning at 10:00 a.m., guests will enjoy live music, balloon rides, mansion tours, and children's activities, plus tastings from Virginia wineries, breweries, cider houses from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. This is a fall fun event you won't want to miss, concluding with fireworks at 8:15 p.m. General admission is $10/car. Tasting tickets are $20/person in advance or $25/person at the gate. Purchase advance tickets here!
October 3-5: Montpelier Seminar "The Federal Judiciary: Idea to Institution"
Examine the role of "the judiciary" as one of the three branches of American government with former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Susan M. Leeson and historian Scott Casper, Ph.D. A handful of the core issues covered in this seminar include: creation of the judicial branch and its constitutional ties to the other branches of government; the relationship between the federal judiciary and state judicial systems; the relationship between the Supreme Court and its co-equal branches in the national government; the doctrine of judicial review; and contemporary issues involving the role of federal courts in the American political system.
October 4-5: 27th Annual Fall Fiber Festival and Montpelier Sheep Dog Trails
Love wool? Join us for the Fall Fiber Festival, held opposite the main entrance of Montpelier and the Montpelier Train Depot on VA-Route 20. This family-fun event showcases fiber animals, sheep shearing demos, hands-on crafts demos and workshops for children and adults, sheep dog trials, craft vendors, food, and music.
October 12: Book Signing with Frank Walker
Join us in the Montpelier Visitor Center for a book signing by Orange County resident and tour guide, Frank Walker. Walker has combined a love of history with a lifetime of living and working in the Orange County area to produce a comprehensive and well-received county history. The events affecting the county's Native Americans, European Americans and African Americans are chronicled in a work which lends itself to being read not only cover-to-cover, but also in selected specific chapters, subchapters, episodes, and stories.
October 19: Big Woods Walk
Hike through Montpelier’s Landmark Forest—a rare hardwood old growth forest consisting of towering poplars, stately oaks, and sprawling beeches. Learn about ecology, conservation, and Madison's role as an early environmentalist. The trail is a gentle 1-mile loop. $5 with purchase of mansion tour/$10 for Big Woods Walk alone. Begins at 2:00 at Visitor Center.
October 26: Working Woods Walk
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike. Learn from experts about conservation and cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today. $5 with purchase of mansion tour/$10 for Working Woods Walk alone. Begins at 2:00 at Visitor Center.
November 1: Montpelier Hunt Races
Start a new tradition with family and friends at the 80th running of the Montpelier Hunt Races, an annual celebration of steeplechase racing and southern hospitality. Seven exciting horse races, Jack Russell Terrier races, stick horse races for the kids, unique shopping, tailgating contests and more ensure a whole day of family fun.
November 14-16: Montpelier Seminar "Slavery and the Constitution: From Colonial Slave Codes to the 15th Amendment"
Explore one of the most paradoxical periods in American history through the lens of the U.S. Constitution with J. Holt Merchant, Ph.D., of Washington & Lee University. Participants will examine slave clauses in the Constitution, the federal government's involvement (or lack thereof) with the controversial institution, and how the Constitution at first hindered and then finally enabled a speedy resolution to the problem of slavery. Special emphasis will be given to Lincoln's efforts to limit slavery in a manner that was constitutionally permissible, as well as adoption of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments.
November 15: Civil War Trail & Gilmore Farm Walking Tour
Walk in the footsteps of McGowan's Brigade on Montpelier's Civil War Trail, carving a path through archaeological remains of this Confederate winter camp to a reconstructed camp street. Conclude at the cabin and farm of the George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut. Saturday, 2:00 PM, Free. Begins at parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20.
December 5, 6, 12, & 13: Candlelight Christmas Tours
Celebrate the splendor of the holidays with family and friends by candlelight at Montpelier, featuring Santa's workshop, children's crafts, holiday music, and light refreshment. Tickets available on November 1.