Exploring Colonial Virginia at Rippon Lodge

Exterior of Rippon Lodge Historic Site
Exterior Rippon Lodge Historic Site

Exploring Rippon Lodge, a Colonial Gem in Prince William County, VA: Podcast Episode + Travel Tips

In this episode of the Travels with Darley podcast, Darley explores Rippon Lodge in Prince William County, Virginia. Dating back to 1747, this historic home served as a key landmark during the American Revolution. Site interpreter Nate McDonald guides listeners through the well-preserved colonial house, offering insights into the lives of the Blackburn family, particularly Thomas Blackburn, a Revolutionary War figure. As the nation nears its 250th anniversary, this episode highlights the importance of preserving America’s rich history through sites like Rippon Lodge. Listen to this episode here!

Podcast episode:

The episode begins with an overview of Rippon Lodge’s historical significance, including its role as a landmark along the King’s Highway during the American Revolution. The lodge, owned by Revolutionary War figure Thomas Blackburn, provided essential supplies for the Allied armies on their way to Yorktown. 


Darley and site interpreter Nate McDonald exploring Rippon Lodge
Darley and site interpreter Nate McDonald exploring Rippon Lodge

As Darley and Nate walk through the lush grounds, Nate explains the transformation of the property from a colonial plantation to a 20th-century vacation home, highlighting the contributions of the Ellis family in preserving the gardens. Inside the house, they explore rooms lined with wooden walls and adorned with old paintings. The main room, or “best room,” served as a hub for socializing and political meetings, crucial for Blackburn’s rise to political and military prominence. 

Interior of Rippon Lodge
Interior of Rippon Lodge

Continuing through the house, Darley learns about the Blackburn family’s lifestyle, from their wealth derived from carpentry and tobacco farming to their ownership of enslaved people. Nate points out how the property connects to the broader historical narrative, mentioning the Washington Rochambeau Trail and the march to Yorktown. 


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A post shared by Darley Vacations & Travel TV (@darleynewman)

Watch a video from Darley’s visit on Instagram.

In the back room, they encounter a timeline of Rippon Lodge’s history, emphasizing its resilience through the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War. The episode concludes with Darley reflecting on the importance of preserving such historical sites as the nation approaches its 250th anniversary.

Facts and tips:

  • This house is listed on the National Register of Historical Places
  • Rippon Lodge Historic Site is open for self-guided tours Friday-Monday from 10am-4pm with guided tours offered at 11am and 2pm. Grounds are open from dawn to dusk
  • Tours are only $5 per person, and free for children under 6 years old
  • The house is situated between Neabsco Creek, the Potomac River, and the historic King’s Highway (present day Route 1)
  • Richard Blackburn is rumored to have served in battle when he was only 16-17
  • The back of the house used to be considered the front

It’s special places like these where the past truly comes to life!

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