VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - A Virginia Beach landmark is opening its doors for the first time in over a year.
Ferry Plantation House will resume tours on Thursday, April 15, with a focus on teaching the history of the colonial-era home and the Tidewater area as a whole.
The name Ferry Plantation comes from a ferry service started along the adjacent Lynnhaven River in 1642. The house itself dates back to the 1730s when the oldest portion was first constructed as the Princess Anne County courthouse.
The remainder of the current structure was built in the 1800s and at one time was joined by living quarters for slaves forced to live and work on the property.
Just as plantations across the United States have received increased scrutiny in recent years, due to their role in slavery, Ferry Plantation has a complicated history.
Cody Green with the Friends of Ferry Plantation House says understanding that history is crucial.
"It's about education. We really want to educate people about the history, not just of the house, but of Virginia Beach," he said. "We talk about a lot of different things. We talk about the piracy, piracy was a big thing. Pirates were a huge deal, especially in the Lynnhaven, this was a big thing here. We talk about that. We talk about the slavery. This was a plantation."
Friends of Ferry Plantation House has been keeping up the property and giving tours since 1996.
They shut down the house in December of 2019 with the intention of reopening in the spring, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed those plans.
Upon reopening this week, tours will resume on Thursdays and Saturdays. Green says tickets must be purchased ahead of time on the Ferry Plantation website.
"Everybody has to wear a mask, we are giving out gloves because we are a very hands on museum. We want people to put their hands on history," he said. "You gotta wear the gloves now. That's the way it's going to be, otherwise I have to spray down 300-year-old antiques after every tour. I don't want to do that."
One thing Green would like to resume soon is ghost tours.
With 11 documented spirits, Ferry Plantation is known by some as the most haunted place in Virginia.
"Hopefully in September, we can do our Para-Con, which has big for us every year," said Green of the annual event attracting paranormal investigators and enthusiasts. "We usually have some mediums set up inside and speakers out back. It's a lot of fun."
If you're interested in touring the Ferry Plantation House, click HERE to book tickets.