Part 3: American Revolution Road Trip: Day 3: Shirley Plantation

This is Part 3 of my American Revolution road trip story.  If you are just finding this page and want to start from the beginning and read my introduction, please go to  Part 1 American Revolution road trip introduction.


Shirley Plantation is located about 47 miles west of Colonial Williamsburg.   It was a must see for us to visit because this is one of the places that  AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies is filmed.  You may recognize it as Anna Strong’s lodge.

Founded in 1613, Shirley Plantation is the oldest plantation in Virginia.  It is also the oldest family-owned business in North America, for the same family has owned Shirley for eleven generations!  The history of this family is truly facinating , and I recommend touring the Great House.  In this tour, you will learn about all  the famous Hill Carters, as they travel with newly founded America throughout the revolution, civil war, and all the way to present day.  Honestly, I had no idea all the history this family was a part of and this tour was truly one of the highlights of our entire 2 week trip.  It is so worth it!! You can purchase tickets inside the Gift Shop.

After you’ve done the tour, visit all of the little buildings scattered around the property.  You can learn even more about how life was during this time,  and see how the plantation was maintained.  Behind the Great House you can see the mighty James River, and a beautiful, enormous almost 400 year old Willow Oak. Under the tree is a huge rock – which is the laundry rock that Anna Strong uses to wash that mean ‘ole Simcoe’s uniform.  When you’re done sightseeing and exploring, make sure to stop by the gift ship.  Buying merchandise here will help to keep Shirley Plantation maintained and fund other future projects around the grounds.  We bought several things, including a souvenir book detailing the history of the plantation – which you will learn during the tour.  If you do drop by the gift shop, make sure to say hi to Julian.  He is super friendly and gave us so much information about the filming of Turn: Washington’s Spies.


Below are some of the places around the grounds that AMC’s Turn: Washington’s Spies is filmed.

The Kitchen is shown in the picture to the left.  Near the right of the picture you can see a brick post surrounded by bushes.  In the the picture to the right, Anna Strong is standing in front of the very same post.

Inside the Kitchen is an exhibit detailing the making of food in the early days of Shirley Plantation.  The same room is used during the first episode of Turn: Washington’s Spies after Benjamin Tallmadge gets shot.  Notice the bake oven in both pictures.

The stables are used as the prison in Turn: Washington’s Spies.  Notice the 2nd from the left wooded gate in the picture to the left – Tallmadge and Brewster are having a discussion near it – I wonder what they’re talking about?

The interior of the stables is the prison to hold Abraham Woodhull in the first episode of Turn: Washington’s Spies.

The 400 year old Willow Oak is located in the rear of the property. Below the tree is the “laundry rock” that Anna uses to clean uniforms for the British soliders.

Shirley Plantation is open to the public but is also available for private events and weddings.  Make sure to visit their detailed web site for current dates and info here. 
Laurel Housden is a professional photographer based in Gainesville, Florida.

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