Farmers have long been drawn to Virginia’s fertile piedmont. In 1720, a group of Quakers settled in at Green Springs, a lush, 14,000-acre pasture surrounded by wooded hills. Over the next century, more families moved in and began tilling the rich soil, raising children, and erecting homes, barns, and outbuildings along the gently rolling land.
More than 250 well-preserved examples of 18th- and 19th-century rural Virginia architecture still dot the farmland on either side of Route 15. The Green Springs National Historic Landmark District was created to protect representative structures, such as the 1888 St. John’s Chapel, a classic example of the Carpenter’s Gothic architectural style.
You’ll find many of the 200-year-old buildings are still in use. Prospect Hill, a plantation home built by the Overton family, now operates as a country inn. Boswell’s Tavern, a popular coach stop, is now a private residence.
All of the land in Green Springs National Historic Landmark District remains privately held, but many of the historic structures can be seen from the road. Start at Bracketts Farm, run by a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving sustainable uses of the land. They can give you information about important sites in the region that are accessible to the public.
If You Go:
Birdwatchers will find much to see in the trees and on the fence posts throughout Green Springs. Depending on the season, look for ruffed grouse, red-headed woodpecker, yellow-billed cuckoo, rusty blackbird, and many other colorful species.