History and Wine Trolley Tour to visit Fort Germanna


The History and Wine Trolley Tour will make its next stop at one of Culpeper County’s oldest settlements.

Fort Germanna was built by Lt. Gov. Alexander Spotswood in 1714 for German settlers who were coming to the country for a mining operation.

The July 21 tour is unique because the the Germanna Foundation, owners of the Fort, usually do not open it up to the public.

“We did the trolley tour at Salubria, and they decided they wanted to do something different,” Ashley Abruzzo, membership development manager for the Germanna Foundation said. “We thought this would be a unique opportunity to tour an archaeological site literally in their backyard.”

The tour will begin at the Depot where visitors will load into a trolley and travel to the Germanna Foundation, which maintains a genealogical reference library, historical archive, exhibits and a database all dedicated to the 1714, 1717, 1730s and 1740s immigrants.

From there, Germanna Foundation archaeologist Eric Larsen will lead a tour of Fort Germanna and then visitors will be taken to Old House Vineyards & Distillery for a tasting.

Foundation Archaeologists will be on hand to show and explain current excavations as they search for the remains of the 1714 Fort walls. Tour participants can watch the excavations and even search the screens as the archaeologists recover artifacts from the different time periods.

“We hope to bring more awareness to the foundation,” Abruzzo said. “Most people think of the college when they hear Germanna, and not the foundation. We have a great story to be told here and we know we have something remarkable here.”

The foundation has more than 1,000 active members and thousands of members throughout the world.

“A majority of our members are descendants, but we encourage the public to learn about the story of Germanna as well,” Abruzzo said.

This is the third trolley tour offered this year and several more are planned through the Department of Tourism. They were first offered four years ago and picked up steam last year when four tours were extremely successful.

“This tour offers ‘behind the scenes’ access to an active archeological dig on one of America’s oldest settlements – Fort Germanna,” Culpeper Director of Tourism Paige Read said. “This year marks the 300th anniversary of the second colony. Come explore Governor Alexander Spotswood’s Enchanted Castle remains, and learn how these early German-American immigrants helped shape the western advance of Colonial Virginia.”

The tour will be held July 21 from 3 to 7 p.m. To sign up for tickets, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fort-germanna-old-house-vineyards-tickets-35204343138

About Jeff Say 274 Articles
Jeff Say is the editor for the Culpeper Times. He can be reached at jsay@culpepertimes.com