With the continued rise in fuel cost many people may be looking for alternative destinations for summer vacations this year. Staycations have become more popular recently as people look for things to do within driving distance of their home to save on fuel and entertainment costs. Living in the Old Dominion there is no shortage of things to go do for a day trip as our state offers both beaches and mountain fun.
I was born in and have lived in Virginia for 35 years and there is still much I have not seen. I am always finding new places to see and explore that are unique to my state. With the first permanent settlement in 1607 at Jamestown being close by I grew up surrounded by history. So many historical places are in Virginia it’s hard to decide where to visit first. I always tell people a visit to the historical triangle including Williamsburg and Yorktown are wonderful places to have a day trip, a weekend stay or staycation.
I enjoy traveling and sharing my travels with others. I feel history, especially comes alive when you are immersed in it. Recently I traveled to Appomattox, Virginia for work. I had not been prior and during my stay I made time to explore the Appomattox Courthouse village and Historical Park areas. Appomattox, Virginia is a beautiful area with a small town feel and a history buff’s dream. The downtown has multiple shops and restaurants to visit. In addition the town also, is home to several food trucks and stands. Consider supporting these small businesses while you’re in town.
Appomattox Inn and Suites
While in Appomattox, Virginia I stayed at the Appomattox Inn and Suites . I found the hotel to be very clean, comfortable and economical. The lobby had some nods to the Civil War as do the hotel rooms which are decorated with pictures from the nearby battlefield and grounds. The hotel has a bar area that was open till 10pm for drinks and a restaurant named Cannonball for appetizers and small bites.
If you’re into history or Civil War sites this hotel is perfect because it is very close to the Appomattox battlefield and Appomattox Courthouse village where the American Civil War came to an end in April of 1865. The American Civil War museum is a close by area attraction to this hotel as well. If you’re unfamiliar with the American Civil War or what the area has to offer the hotel staff are very friendly and the hotel has available maps and information on local attractions.
The Appomattox Courthouse village and Historical Park areas are very well laid out and it is easy to follow the information trail to understand what took place here in April 1865. Even someone unfamiliar with the American Civil War will feel educated on the topics after visiting thanks to the labels, maps and informative signage. The area can be explored at one’s own pace or one can choose to join an on-site tour. The grounds also, include trails to walk and there are maps and signs available to follow for them.
The buildings that make up the village grounds of the Appomattox Court House (some seen above) are well preserved and maintained. There were multiple guides dressed in period costume to explain the layout of the grounds and to answer any questions. The courthouse itself has a museum in it with a 17 minute video I would suggest watching it during your visit as it explains what took place on the grounds and leading up to the end of the American Civil war.
For me seeing the markers for the last shot fired during the American Civil War and the marker for the spot where Grant and Lee met was very humbling and thought provoking. No matter a person’s views about the America Civil War I believe we can all agree that the people who fought in it were American and it is a travesty the lives that were lost on either side. The American Civil War is part of our history and I believe it is important that people educate themselves about it and preserve these hollowed grounds.
The layout and information provided at the Appomattox Courthouse village is very thorough and attention to detail is given inside the buildings. The Clover Hill Tavern for example, is set up to show what it must have looked like when one of its rooms was made into a makeshift printing press. It was here during the surrender Federal officers printed over 30,000 parole for surrender documents to be signed by Confederate soldiers. To be able to stand within the walls of this building is especially memorable for someone that loves history.
Besides the buildings the story of the people involved in the battle comes to life on the grounds. There is a small family style graveyard on the grounds, a single grave under an old cedar tree belonging to Lafayette Meeks an area resident and a 19 grave cemetery a short walk away which has several unknown confederate soldiers, plus one unknown union soldier. It is interesting to read the documented history of these individuals and it helps to bridge the human connection to these past lives lost.
A short walk from the Appomattox Courthouse village one can also, follow signage and learn more about the events leading up to the surrender. There is an area with information about Grant’s Headquarters, open fields to walk and a small monument to see as well. Following signage by car the battlefield continues into the town of Appomattox, but wasn’t open when I visited (June 2022). The gate was locked and the area didn’t look maintained, but hopefully will open back soon to the public.
There was plenty to see and explore on the ground of the Appomattox Courthouse village, the surrounding areas and the town. I think a day trip or weekend staycation in Appomattox, Virginia would be perfect for a history lover or someone wanting to learn more about the American Civil War. I enjoyed my visit to Appomattox, Virginia and learning more about American history.
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