Sherwood Forest Plantation Foundation, Charles City

#6 of 7 in Things to do in Charles City
Sherwood Forest Plantation was the home of 10th U.S. President John Tyler from 1842 until his death in 1862. It is the only nineteenth century presidential home to have been continuously owned and occupied by members of the President’s family. The oldest parts of the house date to ca. 1660. Construction and renovations of the 18th and 19th centuries, completed by President Tyler and his wife Julia Gardiner Tyler in 1845, have made the house a classic example of Virginia Tidewater “Big House, Little House, Colonnade, Kitchen” architecture. At 301 feet in length it is the longest frame house of its age in the country.

The house is furnished with family heirlooms, antique furniture, paintings, silver, porcelain and oriental rugs. A few of the pieces in the home were used by President and Mrs. Tyler in the White House and were brought to Sherwood Forest after the President’s term in office. Though many furnishings purchased for the house by President and Mrs. Tyler were destroyed during the Civil War some still remain. Others are from the South Carolina home of Mrs. Harrison Ruffin Tyler who, with her husband, restored the house in the late 1970s. There are nearly twenty oil portraits of family members past and present on display in rooms toured by the public.

Sherwood Forest is considered one of the most complete plantation yards still in existence in America with outbuildings, or dependencies, dating to ca. 1660. They include a tobacco curing shed, a smoke house, a milk house and a privy among others. Julia Gardiner Tyler planned Sherwood Forest’s grounds according to the principles of New York landscape gardener and architect A. J. Downing. The 25 landscaped acres surrounding the house today include centuries-old trees, terraced lawn and gardens.
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Sherwood Forest Plantation Foundation Reviews
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  • Although the grounds are open daily, with a self guided map, a tour must be made personally by going to their website. We had an amazing tour with just two other people. This is a still used family no...  more »
  • This was the home of John Tyler the 10th president of the United States. Our tour guide, John Coyne was excellent. He told the stories of how John Tyler became the President and his many accomplishmen...  more »
  • Never knew about this place until we drove past the sign for the entrance and decided to stop in. Very informational about some of our nation's history. The kids loved it too! Kids are free.
  • Wonderful walk around the plantation property of the 10th president of the U.S., John Tyler. We paid $10 ea for an unguided walking tour but you can call ahead and arrange a private tour for $35 ea. Which takes you inside the home.

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