The Virginia’s Retreat region of South Central Virginia offers travelers meaningful history attractions and abundant outdoor recreation. Boasting the nation’s first Civil War History Trail, the Lee’s Retreat driving tour and Wilson-Kautz Raid Civil War driving tours, as well as the stirring Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®, Virginia’s Retreat is comprised of 12 localities in cooperation to share South Central Virginia’s unique hospitality with visitors.
Virginia’s Retreat’s mission is to increase tourism, economic activity, preservation, enhancement and education about the region’s natural, recreational and historic resources.
Virginia’s Retreat was organized in March, 1993 to explore ways that the Counties of Amelia, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Dinwiddie, Nottoway, Prince Edward and the City of Petersburg could work together to promote the region’s rich abundance of natural and historical resources. Representatives from each of the eight localities, working closely with the Virginia Division of Tourism, the Virginia Division of State Parks and the National Park Service, held a planning retreat in April, 1993 to design a strategy for accomplishing the Consortium’s mission. Virginia’s Retreat’s mission is to increase tourism, economic activity, preservation, enhancement and education about the region’s natural, recreational and historic resources. Since 2000 these additional jurisdictions have joined the consortium: Brunswick, Charlotte, Halifax, Lunenburg, Mecklenburg, and Powhatan.
30 miles from Richmond, Amelia is a place of rolling hills, historic buildings, and much history – especially the last days of the American Civil War. Amelia is home to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park, where the last major battle of the Civil War was fought.
In the “Heart of Virginia” is this charming area, well-known for its role in the final days of the Civil War. Here, history lives side-by-side with pristine nature, offering a timeless appeal to visitors.
Colonial history and modern recreation reside comfortably in the area credited as the birthplace of the satisfying regional favorite, Brunswick Stew. Traditionally cooked outdoors, it is a fitting representative of this diverse region.
This county at the geographic center of Virginia is home to natural beauty and the Civil War-era Historic Village at Lee Wayside. The area’s frontier spirit comes to life each year in Buckingham’s Cowboy Day.
Home to Patrick Henry’s Red Hill and Staunton River Battlefield, this area offers outdoor recreation that is entirely at home with historic sites. A favorite annual event is the Ride in the Heartland, cycling a course through scenic rural Virginia.
From Colonial times to the longest siege of the Civil War and beyond, the city of Petersburg has a storied past. Much of it is retold in the Old Towne area, including Civil Rights history.
The beauty of its agricultural heritage provides the backdrop for this area’s rich Civil War history, including the popular Pamplin Historical Park. Beautiful Lake Chesdin is central to recreation here.
Boasting Jeffersonian architecture, Civil War history and many surviving homes, schools and businesses from an earlier area, this area is a favorite for outdoorsmen and adventurers – particularly skydivers.
Home to Buggs Island Lake and Lake Gaston, this area offers watersports of all kinds, along with state parks and easy-going small towns. Native American history is well-represented here, as is the African-American experience at Prestwould Plantation.
Open spaces and tree-lined small town streets set the tone for Southern hospitality here. Revolutionary War era history lives alongside transportation history in Blackstone, in the midst of great fishing and hunting opportunities.
This area can lay claim to being where the last battles of the Civil War were fought, and the Civil Rights Movement began. Its history is told at various sites, and its rural and small-town nature invites outdoor recreation year-round.
Eight of the current thirty-six Virginia State Parks can be found within the borders of Virginia’s Retreat: James River, Holliday Lake, High Bridge Trail, Sailor’s Creek Battlefield, Twin Lakes, Staunton River Battlefield, Staunton River and Occoneechee State Parks await visitors year round.