Patrick Henry was one of the most famous of our nation’s founding fathers, and sites in and around Richmond, Va., provide insight into this outspoken orator and his times.
Richmond is 290 miles from Charlotte, about a five-hour drive.
To see and do
A few miles north of metro Richmond is the 1735 Hanover County Courthouse, where Patrick Henry first achieved public acclaim. His 1763 “Parson’s Cause” speech asserted that the jurisdiction of the Virginia colonial legislature superseded that of the ministers of King George III. Although the brick building itself is not open to the public, visitors can walk the grounds of this historic site.
Across the street is historic Hanover Tavern. Guests may enjoy lunch or dinner in a period setting or treat themselves to a self-guided tour of the sprawling structure.
A few miles from the courthouse and tavern is Scotchtown, the stately, white-frame house owned by Henry from 1771 to 1778. It’s operated by Preservation Virginia. Scotchtown’s eight first-floor rooms include a central passage, two dining rooms, two parlors, and three bed chambers. Among the interesting items displayed is a table believed to have belonged to Henry.
The Virginia revolutionary is best known for his electrifying “Liberty or Death” 1775 speech given inside St. John’s Church in Richmond. The church is open to visitors year-round, but an especially fine time to visit is on Sunday afternoons Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Re-enactments of Henry’s speech are presented beginning at 2 p.m. Free tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis beginning at 1 p.m.; a half-hour music program starts at 1:30.
Early arrivals may find themselves seated next to the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Richard Henry Lee or even Patrick Henry himself.