Fodor's Expert Review Berkeley Plantation
Virginians say that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated at Berkeley in December 1619, not in Massachusetts in 1621. This plantation was the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and of William Henry Harrison, who became president in 1841. Throughout the Civil War, the Union general George McClellan used Berkeley as headquarters; during his tenure, his subordinate general Daniel Butterfield composed the melody for "Taps" while here in 1862 with 140,000 Union troops. An architectural gem, the original 1726 brick Georgian mansion has been carefully restored and furnished with 18th-century antiques. The gardens are in excellent condition, particularly the boxwood hedges.