I was able to experience Ferry Farm first hand while on a business trip to Fredericksburg, VA. A few coworkers and I stopped in on our way from the trade show back to Dulles Airport. While there, we toured the visitor center and grounds.
The visitor center contains a small exhibit on Washington's childhood and an archaeology lab where archaeologists work Monday through Friday. Beyond being George Washington's childhood home, Ferry Farm was also used as a staging ground for the Union Army's invasion of Fredericksburg during the civil war. The archeologist site contains both colonial era and civil war era finds. The exhibit displays findings outside the lab. The lab itself is behind glass which allows the public to view the archaeologists at work. The Washington exhibit contains a series of placards describing different points in Washington's childhood.
Directly outside the visitor center is a small historical garden that contains colonial-era plants. The colonial-era plants are interesting, but I would need a guided tour to fully appreciate it. I have no idea how rare the plants are or how representative they are of what Washington may have grown.
To the West of the garden is the site of the Washington house, which was discovered on July 2, 2008. When I was there the site was covered, but the location was well marked. The foundation of the house is not very deep. It is a bit surprising that the site wasn't discovered until 2008. In addition to the Washington house foundation there is a surveyor's shed and markings for the site of the slave quarters. The surveyor's shed dates back to the 1800s and was not used by Washington. The slave quarters is a 10 foot square structure that housed up to 20 people. It is hard to even imagine living in such cramped quarters.
Continuing West past the Washington house site are stairs that lead down to the banks of the Rappahannock River. The stairs were closed the day I visited. The bank of the river was the only site worth seeing at the bottom of the stairs so I don't think I missed much. Since we needed to catch a flight home and weren't dressed for a hike, we ended our visit after walking out to the stairs. While we only had time for a brief stay, we felt we were able to see most of what it had to offer.
Have you been to Ferry Farm? Share your experiences and pictures here.