First-hand experience is the best kind! Once again, I got to go exploring. This time to the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society and I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. One may call it Surprising Sophistication… See what I did there? Anyway, I started at the Hollingsworth Mill which works as the headquarters, there you will find artifacts, information, and tickets. From the Mill, I walked over to Abram’s Delight, such a gorgeous property!
A brief history, in 1728, Abraham Hollingsworth arrived in the Valley. He received a grant to purchase 582 acres of land, which he would come to double later on. Abraham built his first dwelling, a log cabin. It is believed that he broke ground on the house that currently sits on the property several years prior to his death in 1748. Through lineage succession, this house stayed in the same family for 200 years! The home was purchased by the city of Winchester in 1943, by this time the lot had diminished to 35 acres. You have to check out this house. The walls are 22 and ½ inches thick!! Also on the property is an 18th-century log home which is much bigger inside and much colder than one would think.
I love history, it was my first major when I started college, however, even I get bored walking around simply viewing things from the past. Sometimes history can feel boring, but that’s just because it is hard to actually experience it. Which is why Living History is a wonderful way to fully enjoy something so crucial to each of us. What set my experience at Abram’s Delight apart is that I received a guided tour. I now want guided tours at every museum, I highly recommend it. My guide was full of so much knowledge and her enthusiasm for the site was infectious.
However, there’s more to this adventure than just Abram’s Delight, the log cabin, and the Hollingsworth Mill, there are two other must-see places to experience! George Washington’s Office, which was used as a military office from September 1755 to December 1756, is located in downtown Winchester. This is the perfect time to visit, stand in the same place our first President stood 260 years ago! There is also Stonewall Jackson’s Headquarters, which holds the largest collection of Jackson memorabilia.
This was one of those adventures I wouldn’t typically plan, yet it was so much more than I had expected. History is important to remember and this is an area that is rich in it. Plus, I have a new fun fact for when I meet people (walls built 22 and 1/2 inches thick!). I used to love going to museums with my parents as a kid. It can be fun and can foster a love of learning. The Winchester-Frederick Historical Society also will be holding tours by candlelit this Holiday season, give yourself and your family the experience of Christmas past.
There are many different places to experience the past in the Valley. In October, Cedar Creek has its 151st anniversary of the Battle of Cedar Creek. In honor of this, The National Park Service and its partners, have planned a series of special events, programs, reenactments, living history and other activities to commemorate the battle from October 16-19. Another event is being held at beautiful Belle Grove Plantation on Oct. 3rd.This will give visitors the opportunity to see a “behind the scenes” look of the Overseer’s Cottage, attic, outbuildings, and a sip of the past in a Belle Grove 1797 Whiskey tasting. It is not hard nor unusual to find history alive and well in the Shenandoah Valley.