The house is oriented to the Potomac and a strip of the forest is kept clear so the vista remains. This shot is the rear of the house as it faces the river, the smaller building is the Octagon.
Our tour guide for the main house was extremely informed and passionate about what he did. He made a real effort to relate our lives to those lived in the 1700's. My only issue about the tour and the visitor's center is the all too brief mention of slavery, in fact the tour guide kept using the word "servant" when "slave" may have been more appropriate. I had to finally ask how many slaves it took to run the plantation. He told us at one time the plantation had 130 slaves, as well as 130 indentured servants (so I became a little less indignant). I know this historical issue is a difficult one to convey, and there are many places, like Colonial Williamsburg, that have embraced the ugly parts of our history and have worked it into their interpretations.Well behind the main house, off on the edge of the woods is a cabin. In its small yard is a memorial to "Uncle Wes" and carved into the stone is what I am sure were well meaning words when they were written, but in 2009 they come close to sounding patronizing. Perhaps my preference for seeing the big picture was making me misread how history was interpreted here.
Stratford Hall is fairly close to other attractions in Virginia and nearby Washington D.C., and if you get the opportunity you should visit. The admission is very reasonable and the private foundation that owns and runs it could use the revenue. On a beautiful clear fall Sunday, when the place should have been very busy, we had it to ourselves.
(If you are interested, there are more pictures here.)