Supporting Stratford Hall

Most of us who like Stratford Hall have an interest in history. While I’m not a historian, I decided to do a little armchair research on someone who has particular significance this season – the Father of the Charitable Deduction on Income Taxes. It’s not as a snappy a title as “The Father of Our Country” but it’s still a …

Winter’s Delight

As a lifelong transplant to Virginia, I have come to truly enjoy all the seasons we experience. The abundance of life that heralds the spring, the long days with warm sunlight during the summer followed by the grand colors that our native forest gives us in the autumn. Some would say that the winter is only cold, wet and grey …

A Celebration of Virginia History Part II

In my blog, A Celebration of Virginia History, a few months ago, I focused on the precedent that the Lee family set for political leadership in both Virginia and America. As we continue celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Virginia Governor’s Mansion- specifically the Year of the Historic Home, it is important to recognize just how many historic structures are …

Window Workshop

Stratford Hall’s Preservation Department hosted a group of six students from the Historic Preservation Program at Mary Washington University for a weekend workshop covering wood window restoration. The workshop was organized by Professor Michael Spencer of Mary Washington University and Stratford Hall’s Director of Preservation Phil Mark. The lead instructor for the workshop was Benjamin Curran, an instructor in the …

A New Perspective

We are always looking for books that enable us to see the Lees in a new way. Elizabeth Varon’s new book, Appomattox: Victory Defeat and Freedom at the End of the Civil War does just that. The conventional view of the surrender at Appomattox portrays the event as a moment of reconciliation between north and south when Grant’s magnanimity and …

With the Holidays Upon Us

With the holidays upon us, most topics of conversation revolve around the culinary world. What to serve to your family and how to serve it. The one thing everyone forgets to think about is, “how to make this a special meal.” My words of advice are, “it’s your family, do what you do best.” Families all across the nation are …

Stratford Hall and The Washington Winter Show

Stratford Hall has been offered the exciting opportunity to be the focus of the Loan Exhibition for The Washington Winter Show from January 10-12, 2014 in Washington, DC. The theme for this year’s show is “Southern Celebrations: Traditions Handed Down”. The theme of Stratford’s exhibit will be “Celebrations at Stratford Hall: Family, Food, and Festivities”. The exhibit will be a …

Agricultural Initiatives at Stratford Hall

Agriculture has always been an important part of Stratford Hall, even before Thomas Lee bought the land from Nathaniel Pope in 1717. The rich soil and temperate climate provides a wonderful environment in which plant life can thrive. It is very evident by the cornucopia of vegetative species that grow here at Stratford, which in turn provides food and shelter …

Thomas Lee’s Vision for Virginia

Where were you born?  A simple question with many different answers, but, if Thomas Lee had had his way, many more of us would be answering “ Virginia.” Thomas Lee, President of Virginia (yes, that’s what he called himself),  reported to the British Lords of Trade on September 29, 1750: Since I have had the Honour to serve His Majesty …

A Spooky Evening at Stratford!

We are just down the road from you and we will be having a “Spook-tacular” good time this Saturday! We are excited to announce that L. B. Taylor, author of over 13 books on paranormal happenings in Virginia, will be here sharing stories and tales from the Northern Neck. Whether you are a true believer or are just curious about …

Celebrating Our Boy Frank

Birthdays. Some of us hate them (Another year older?), while others of us adore them (A whole day for me?!). This week we celebrated the birthday of our own Francis Lightfoot Lee, born October 14, 1734. I suppose we could have waited one more year to highlight his 280th birthday, but doesn’t 279 sound like such a better age? Frank …

The Investigation Continues

The investigation that will support the Dining Room restoration is in full swing. In order to facilitate the investigation and find as much pertinent evidence as possible I have removed most of the wood work from the room which mostly dated to the late 1930’s restoration. In this picture you can see what the Dining Room looks like currently. Physical …