Highland is the beautifully preserved home of James Monroe, fifth President of the United States. Located near Charlottesville in Virginia, next to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, Highland is a renowned historical site and unique events venue, continuing Monroe's favorite tradition of welcoming and entertaining friends and visitors from around the world.

Also known as Ash Lawn–Highland, James Monroe's Highland was purchased by James Monroe and his wife, Elizabeth Kortright Monroe, who permanently settled on the estate in 1799 and lived there for the next 24 years. The plantation was sold by Monroe in 1825 due to financial problems, after which Monroe lived out his days at Oak Hill. The estate was just known as Highland during Monroe's residence there, with the additional name of "Ash Lawn" added by another owner after his death.

The estate was opened to the public in 1931 by Jay Winston Johns who, upon his death, bequeathed Highland to the College of William and Mary, the College where James Monroe studied. The estate is now owned, operated and maintained by Monroe's alma mater.

Nestled in the rolling landscapes just outside of Charlottesville, James Monroe's Highland covers more than 500 acres of natural pastures and woodlands, providing a unique backdrop of pristine beauty for the plantation. The historic estate offers visitors a compelling glimpse into this extraordinary period of American history in which growth was rife, as well as provides a beautiful venue for special celebrations.

The house at James Monroe's Highland consists of a commodious one-storydwelling house with an original frame section. The structure is connected to a central hall addition by another short wide hall serving as a parlor, and the façade of the home faces north toward Thomas Jefferson's Monticello. Other buildings on the estate include an ice-house with a gable roof and a cabin with a brick chimney and a quaint smokehouse.

The original Smokehouse, used for curing meats and fish, can be found in the neat kitchen yard, as well as the Overseer's Cottage (the plantation's oldest outbuilding), and a renovated three-room dwelling. The Monroe home features an amazing collection of period furniture collected and owned by the Monroes, including Napoleonic-era French furnishings from Europe, as well as handcrafted American furnishings.

James Monroe's Highland is home to acres of beautifully manicured and maintained ornamental and utilitarian gardens, as it in the early 1800s. The house has a kitchen yard and vegetable garden that yields numerous kinds of greens, beans, cabbage, squash, corn, and tomatoes. Planted over a century ago and graced by a magnificent white oaktree, the estate's mature Boxwood Gardensprovide several peaceful garden settings with deciduous trees and flowering shrubs for themuseum and private social events.

Guided tours are offered year-round and explore the beautifully restored guest house and the rich collection of period furnishings that belonged to the Monroe family. The tour emphasizes Monroe's numerous contributions to the country's early history and takes an in-depth look at his multiple terms as Governor of Virginia, his various political roles in the Continental Congress and the U.S. Senate, and his two-term presidency. Highlights of James Monroe's life covered on tour include the southern and western expansion of the country, early foreign policy, the American Revolution, and critical issues surrounding slavery such as the international slave trade and the anti-slavery movement.

James Monroe's Highland also presents numerous educational programs and community workshops designed to engage visitors of all ages, inspire and educate about the role James Monroe played in the history of the nation. Activities range from period craft demonstrations and history talks to interactive glimpses into early nineteenth-century life.

James Monroe's Highland is located at 2050 James Monroe Parkwayin Charlottesville and operates as a working farm, public museum, and site for performing arts. The Estate is open from Monday through Sundayyear-round, with limited hours out of season.

The Highland Fare offers a variety of snacks, light meals and drinks to enjoy at picnic tables around the grounds, as well as complimentary picnic blankets. The Market at Mill Creek serves a selection of homemade sandwiches, freshly made salads, and delicious baked goods between April through October.

The Museum Shop sells a variety of Monroe memorabilia, books, early nineteenth-century style souvenirs, and Virginia-made foods such as hickory syrup and honey.

Back to: Best Things to Do in Charlottesville, Virginia

2050 James Monroe Parkway, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902, Phone: 434-293-8000

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