Berkeley’s Georgian mansion, built in 1726 of brick fired on the plantation, occupies a beautifully landscaped hilltop site overlooking the historic James River.
The date of the building and the initials of the owners, Benjamin Harrison IV and his wife, Anne, appear in a datestone over a side door. The mansion is said to be the oldest 3-story brick house in Virginia and the first with a pediment roof. The handsome Adam woodwork and the double arches of the 'Great Rooms’ were installed by Benjamin Harrison VI at the direction of Thomas Jefferson. The outside walls are 36 inches thick. The roof is slate and a spacious hall divides the building. There are three floors above the basement, four great rooms on a floor.
Costumed guides conduct tours of the mansion. The mansion is furnished with a rare collection of eighteenth century antiques. The Chinese porcelain, English silver and Waterford crystal are authentic to the period. The first floor, including the central hall, north and south Great Rooms, the dining room, gentleman’s room and basement museum is open to the public.
The tour includes a short introductory film and museum of Colonial and Civil War artifacts and historical paintings by well-known artist, Sidney King.
Explore the magnificent gardens and grounds at your own pace
Berkeley’s gardens and lawn extend a full quarter–mile from the front door of the mansion to the river banks. The 100 year old Boxwood garden gracing Berkeley’s buildings and 10 acres of formal gardens are one of the most extensive in Virginia. While strolling the gardens, stop by the brick monuments where you will learn the story of America’s First Thanksgiving and hear the sounding of "Taps" echoing across the grounds as it first did over 150 years ago.
Benches are arranged throughout the gardens to sit and enjoy this delightful and peaceful setting.