Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, and Monticello, which Thomas Jefferson designed for himself, are Virginia’s most noted historic homes. Other fine examples of 18th-century architecture are Ashlawn, the home of James Monroe, which was also designed by Jefferson; Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights; and Stratford Hall, the ancestral home and birthplace of Robert E. Lee. There are many historic churches and buildings, including Fort Monroe, at Old Point Comfort, where Confederate President Jefferson Davis was confined after the Civil War; and Saint John’s church in Richmond, where Patrick Henry delivered his famous “liberty or death” speech.
Among the most popular natural scenic attractions in Virginia are the limestone caverns in the Shenandoah Valley, such as Luray, Skyline, and Endless Caverns, that were carved from solid rock by the action of underground streams. Natural Bridge, south of Lexington, is a huge arch of stone. Natural Tunnel, near Gate City, was cut through a mountain by a creek and is 260 m (850 ft) long and 30 m (100 ft) high. The Natural Chimneys, at Mount Solon, are seven huge towers of rock that rise about 100 feet above the ground.
The best-known annual events in Virginia are the Apple Blossom Festival, at Winchester, and the International Azalea Festival, at Norfolk. Both take place in spring.
During April hundreds of houses and gardens are opened to the public during Historic Garden Week. In May Jamestown Landing Day commemorates at Williamsburg the founding of the first permanent English colony in North America. Old-time fiddlers gather in Galax every August as they have since the 1930s. Competitors build unique sand castles during the Neptune Festival each September in Virginia Beach, while seafood lovers travel to Chincoteague Island each October for the Oyster Festival. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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