Every Day is Historic at Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s Final Home
I got to spend Independence Day 2017 at Red Hill, Patrick Henry’s final home. Though July 4th is a historic date, every day of the year is historic at this gem in southern Virginia. The home and burial place of one of America’s most notorious founding fathers is situated adjacent to the Staunton River near Brookneal in rural Charlotte County. Guests are welcomed year-round to enjoy this property imbued with American history and to learn about the life and times of the man who famously proclaimed, “Give me liberty or give me death!”
Travel Back in Time
Readers of PullOverandLetMeOut know I love visiting historic locations and being swept back in time. Red Hill is just such a place. No, I’m not talking time travel, but rather via historic re-enactments, programs, and well-informed guides, guests are transported back to the 18th-century to get a glimpse into the life of Patrick Henry, his family, and insights into his contributions to the American Revolution.
Patrick Henry’s law office is an original building on the grounds of Red Hill.
Patrick Henry the Man
“I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.” ~ Patrick Henry
This is one of my favorite lines from Patrick Henry’s famous speech made on March 23, 1775, because of its profundity. Learning from the past is crucial and at Red Hill it’s the specialty. Spending time in his home, his law office, exploring the property, and stopping at his tomb, gives an understanding of Patrick Henry the man.
Patrick Henry Jolly is Patrick Henry at Red Hill.
An Awesome July 4th
If you can swing it, plan a July 4th visit to Red Hill. It’s a fun and unique way to commemorate the nation’s birth. The day is special, full of living history, food, music, and culminating with a fireworks extravaganza.
Our visit was dampened slightly by what the Weather Channel called isolated thunderstorms, but the weather didn’t impede the celebration. Only moments after Patrick Henry’s 5th-great-grandson, Patrick Henry Jolly, finished a poignant rendition of Henry’s “Give Me Liberty” speech, the sky opened up. Everyone waited patiently in their cars and promptly at 9:15, despite a slight drizzle – Fireworks! An impressive 20-minute display rivaling most I’ve seen at larger venues.
If you haven’t heard Patrick Henry’s entire “Give Me Liberty” speech, give it a watch. Patrick Henry Jolly, Henry’s 5th, and 6th, great-grandson does an outstanding job.
Bring lawn chairs and claim a spot for viewing an impressive fireworks display.
Something For Everyone at Red Hill
Granted, I was there on a day filled with special events, but the folks at Red Hill are dedicated to teaching about Brookneal’s most famous citizen year-round. Their calendar is filled with programs and events including Living History Days for Homeschool Students, an Annual Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival, and Holiday Open House.
Turning flax into linen, one of the living history demonstrations at Red Hill.
Plan Your Visit
Patrick Henry was a major landowner and of all the property he acquired, he chose Red Hill near Brookneal, Virginia as his final home. The verdant acreage in rural southern Virginia hasn’t changed all that much since Patrick Henry’s time and that’s part of its appeal.
Red Hill is about 38-miles south of Lynchburg, VA, two-hours southwest of Richmond, and a little over 2-hours north of Raleigh, North Carolina. It’s open Monday – Saturday 9 am to 5 pm and Sunday 1 pm to 5 pm with winter hours November 1st through March 31st.
Admission is reasonably priced with the most expensive ticket being $8 for adults. Lower rates apply for seniors, students, military, and AAA. Groups are welcome but in order to procure a group rate, call ahead.
In addition to Red Hill, there are several other points of interest in the area to consider when planning an itinerary such as the Southern Virginia Wine Trail, Appomattox, and the Tobacco Heritage Trail. There’s also an array of choices of accommodations in nearby Lynchburg, South Boston, and Appomattox listed on the Red Hill website and a brand new B&B, The Pruitt House, in Brookneal.
Patrick Henry, his wife Dorothea, and several other Henry family members are buried at Red Hill.
What I Loved
I love spending time strolling beautiful historical locations and my time at Red Hill allowed me to do just that. Yes, I was there on one of the busiest days of the year, however, it was never uncomfortably crowded. Quite the opposite; the gathering was delightful and the staff cheerful. I also love how the staff genuinely appreciate every one of their guests. That’s a gift and for me, it didn’t go unnoticed.
Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation Red Hill 1250 Red Hill Road Brookneal, Virginia 24528 434 376-2044 www.RedHill.org