Historic Kenmore and George Washington’s Ferry Farm are Reopening!

Date: July 2, 2020

Staff Contacts:
Jessica Burger, 540-373-3381 x24, burger@gwffoundation.org

The George Washington Foundation is pleased to announce the reopening of its sites. Historic Kenmore will reopen for guided tours on Tuesday, July 7. George Washington’s Ferry Farm will reopen for guided tours of the Washington house on Friday, July 10. The grounds at Ferry Farm will also be open to those with tour tickets, and feature new pathways, which were recently created to make the property more accessible.

A cleaning schedule has been established that is above and beyond the daily cleaning methods. This will ensure that all surfaces encountered by the public are wiped down thoroughly several times a day. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be available at both sites. No one with a fever or other symptoms of COVID-19 is permitted on-site.

Both the Ferry Farm and Kenmore Visitor Centers will continue to be closed to visitors. At Ferry Farm, check-in for tours is at the garden at the rear of the Visitor Center. At Kenmore, the check-in is at the Washington Street gate. Tours for both properties are available daily Monday-Saturday at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m., and Sunday at 1:15 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 4:15 p.m. We strongly suggest that you purchase tickets in advance of your visit to ensure availability, as tour size will be limited. Go to the Kenmore and Ferry Farm pages of our website to purchase tickets online (www.kenmore.org).

The new pathways at Ferry Farm are now durable and environmentally sensitive with a fixed and stable surface, and replace the previous gravel paths. The pathways are made of a red-toned aggregate sourced from a nearby quarry, making the material indigenous to the Ferry Farm area. They are compatible in appearance with the historic landscape, yet sufficiently stable to provide ADA access and enhance visitor learning, comfort, and safety.

The interactive nature of the Washington house tour at Ferry Farm has been temporarily modified. Guests are asked to refrain from touching or coming in contact with objects, furnishings and fabrics in the Washington house, which are normally hands-on. Tours will be limited in size at both properties to ensure proper social distancing. Masks are required while inside both Kenmore and the Washington house, and outdoors while in proximity to others.

We look forward to safely welcoming visitors back to Historic Kenmore and Ferry Farm! Happy Fourth of July from The George Washington Foundation. George Washington moved to Ferry Farm in 1738 with his parents, Mary and Augustine, his sister Betty, and their siblings. Young George lived at the farm from age 6 to 22. Referred to as the Washington home farm in George’s day, the property was later known as Ferry Farm—a historic ferry adjacent to the Washingtons’ house once linked it to the city of Fredericksburg via the Rappahannock River.

George’s experiences at Ferry Farm were influential in shaping the man that he would become.  George was eleven when his father died in 1743. Augustine left Ferry Farm to George, for him to inherit when he reached the age of 21. The site was the setting of some of the best-known stories related to his youth, including tales of the cherry tree and throwing a stone across the Rappahannock River.

Mary Washington continued to live at Ferry Farm until 1772, when she moved to Fredericksburg to live closer to Kenmore and Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis.

In 1996, Ferry Farm was saved from commercial development through the hard work and determination of the Regents and Trustees of The George Washington Foundation (known then as the Kenmore Association), a long list of individuals, and several organizations.

In 2008, the Foundation announced that its archaeologists had located and excavated the remains of the long-sought house where Washington was raised.  In 2015, the Foundation broke ground on a replica of this house and construction was completed in May 2018. Using information from the probate inventory and archaeological evidence, the Washington house replica is currently being furnished with reproduction furniture and ceramics of what was in the original home.  The Washington house interpretive replica is an interactive and hands-on experience for all ages.

 The George Washington Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization. The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the public understanding and appreciation of the lives, values, and legacies of George Washington, Fielding and Betty Washington Lewis, and their families. Please visit www.ferryfarm.org and www.kenmore.org for more information on its two National Historic Landmark sites, George Washington’s Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore.

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