Montpelier offers a variety of tours that cater to your interests and help make your visit unique and memorable.
Year Round Tours
The Signature Tour
Tuesday-Sunday, 11:00 AM-3:00 PM, every half hour. $18 adults. Dur. 1 hr.
The classic, keystone experience of Montpelier touches on a little bit of everything: Madison the man; The Constitution & Bill of Rights; Slavery, Madison’s worst regret; and Dolley Madison, our first First Lady. Guests also learn about the architecture, furnishings, and daily life.
In-Depth Tours (Winter Hours)
$20 adults. Dur. 2 hrs.
Madison and the Constitution
November 1-30, March 1-29: Wednesday & Saturday, 1:00 PM.
December, January, & February: Saturday, 1:00 PM.
Liberty, democracy, and the ideas that inspired a nation and changed the world come alive in this tour featuring the life and career of James Madison, Father of the Constitution, as well as the political philosophies and debates embodied in the U.S. Constitution. Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the "spirit" not just the "letter" of America’s greatest document.
Slavery at Montpelier
November 1-30, March 1-29: Thursday & Sunday, 1:00 PM.
December, January, & February: Sunday, 1:00 PM.
Long considered a taboo subject, slavery is a paradox of America, a slave-holding nation that declared to the world that “all men are created equal.” Learn about the historical establishment of slavery in America, the enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and James Madison's personal struggle over the institution.
The Women of Montpelier
November 1-30, March 1-29: Tuesday & Friday, 1:00 PM.
Diverse, dynamic, and strong women—enslaved and free—founded, farmed, managed, and maintained Montpelier over the past 300 years. Learn how they navigated the oppressive boundaries of gender, race, and class while leaving a lasting influence on American society.
Behind-the-Scenes Tours (Year Round)
Montpelier offers intimate behind-the-scenes tours led by our top staff for an exclusive experience. Please contact Christy Moriarty, Tourism Coordinator at 540.672.2728, ext. 442 to make your reservation.
Meet the Madisons
RSVP required. Friday-Saturday, 10:00 AM. $45/person. 8 persons max.
Enjoy an extended mansion tour before the rush of the crowds. This special 90–minute experience will allow you to focus on the in–depth details that reveal the Madisons’ style, taste, friendships, and accomplishments. This tour concludes on the south terrace which provides visitors with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. Tickets should be purchased at least 48-hours in advance to ensure availability.
Let it Be Red: Curatorial Tour
By appointment only. $60/person. 2-6 persons.
Dolley Madison once asked a friend to purchase for Montpelier fabric of any color, but “let it be red.” See how Montpelier’s curators examine the latest discoveries in this behind–the–scenes tour. Discussion may include artwork, furniture, décor, and artifacts.
By appointment only. $500/group. 8 persons max.
Montpelier offers private tours to individuals and small groups looking for a more intimate in-depth tour experience.
2015 Walking Tours
Journey from Slavery to Freedom
January 17, February 14, April 18, June 20, October 10. 2:00 PM. $10/person or $5/person with purchase of a mansion ticket. Begins at 2 PM at Visitor Center.
Experience the African American transition from slavery to freedom. Visit sites and original structures that bring to life the generations of enslaved individuals who lived at Montpelier, and discover their experiences as they transitioned through Emancipation and Reconstruction, into Jim Crow segregation, and finally, through the Civil Rights Movement. This walking and driving tour will visit sites of enslavement near the mansion, as well as the Gilmore Cabin and the 1910 Train Depot.
Big Woods Walk
Sunday, 2:00 PM on January 18, April 12, July 12, October 18. $10/$5 with purchase of mansion tour. Begins at Visitor Center.
Join Montpelier Horticulturalist, Sandy Mudrinich, for 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.
Working Woods Walk
Sunday, 2:00 PM on January 25, April 19, July 19, October 25. $10/$5 with purchase of mansion tour. Begins at Visitor Center.
Venture deep into the Montpelier Demonstration Forest on a two-hour hike with Montpelier Horticulturalist, Sandy Mudrinich. Learn from experts about conservation and cultivation strategies that generate mutual benefit to man and nature, both in the Madisons' time and today.
Civil War Trail & Gilmore Farm Walking Tour
Saturday, 2:00 PM on February 7, April 25, August 15, November 21. FREE. Begins at parking lot across from the Montpelier Station Train Depot on Route 20.
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 George Gilmore, born into slavery at Montpelier in 1810 and turned farmer and landowner after Emancipation, on the site of an abandoned Confederate hut.
Garden & Grounds Tour (April-October only)
Saturdays, April 4, May 2, June 6, July 4, August 1, September 5, October 3, 2:00 PM. FREE. Begins at Visitor Center.
Peel back 250 years of landscaping, one layer at a time, to reveal how people changed the land - and how the land changed them. Learn in depth how the grounds of Montpelier became a trove of champion trees and unique plantings, cultivated with great care and attention over its generations of preservation.
In the Ground & in the Lab: Archaeology Tour (April-October only)
Thursdays, 1:00 PM. FREE. Begins at the current dig site -- inquire with Visitor Center staff!
Take a guided tour of an active dig site, and learn how archaeologists restore ceramics and process artifacts in the archaeology lab