James Monroe’s Highland
Formerly known as Ash Lawn, James Monroe’s Highland boasts a newly revamped guided tour featuring a collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century furnishings. Many of these artifacts were originals of the Monroe family, providing an equate level of authenticity. With a presidential guest house, self-guided outbuildings, and gardens and grounds, there is plenty to explore at Highland. Come see the property once owned by the fifth President of the United States.
A humble figure, James Monroe played a crucial role in many of our nation’s accomplishments. Before graduating from the college of William and Mary, Monroe dropped out to join the American Revolution. After shedding blood and rising through military ranks, Monroe proved his dedication to American independence. Later, Monroe successfully negotiated the Louisiana Purchase with Thomas Jefferson and demonstrated his underrated political vigor. By working behind the scenes in pursing the Missouri Compromise, securing U.S. borders, and issuing the first American hemisphere-wide foreign policy statement know as the Monroe Doctrine, James Monroe left his legacy on Virginia and United States history.
As a great proponent of France, Monroe featured combined his passion for his own nation with French influence. The house features numerous French-inspired items, including dish wear, a clock, and a bust of Napoleon Bonaparte given to Monroe by the Emperor himself. Whether returning from a day at Monticello or looking for another scenic site near Jefferson Vineyards, James Monroe’s Highland provides an additional worthwhile stop on the Virginia presidents tour.
James Monroe’s story is only one aspect of Highland. Enslaved women and men lived on the property for several generations, and had deeper connections to this place than did Monroe, who was often away in public office. Like other plantation owners and members of the founding generation, Monroe enslaved as many as 250 enslaved persons in his lifetime. He freed only one: Peter Marks, who was manumitted during the last days of Monroe’s life.
Guests can learn more about the enslaved workers at Highland through the drop-in program Slavery at Highland, offered during the months of April through October, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays. Slavery at Highland offers a discussion of historic slavery in the United States with special focus on the men, women, and children enslaved at Highland. Visitors can browse images and historic documents while discussing slavery and its legacies with a specially trained museum interpreter. We invite you to visit and learn more about the past—from a variety of perspectives.
The Full Experience: Guided Tour and Augmented Reality
See Highland with traditional spoken interpretation and through innovative technology! The two parts of this experience offer a full introduction to James Monroe’s Highland through a guided tour (either Welcome to Highland or a specialty tour) and augmented reality. Visitors should plan a minimum of 90 minutes for their visit.
- Adults: $19
- Youth (6-11): $13
- Children under 6: Free
- Local: $13
The augmented reality tour is not recommended for children under six. 10% discount for Seniors (60+), Military (Active, Former, and Retired U.S. Military with ID-extended to one accompanying family member), and AAA Local Rate includes residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle, Augusta, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson, Orange, and Rockingham counties)
Self-Guided Discovery and Augmented Reality
Guests can explore the grounds through our newly designed self-guided tour and enjoy the augmented reality experience. Visitors should plan on a minimum of 40 minutes for their visit.
Adult and Youth: $13
Special Discounts and Community Members
- Active U.S. Military and dependents with ID, guided tour only – FREE Armed Forces Day to Labor Day through Blue Star Museums (Can be extended to up to five family members. The augmented reality experience can be added for $7.50 per person.)
- William & Mary (Students, Faculty, Staff, and Alumni) – Full Experience – $13.00
- University of Virginia (Students, Faculty, and Staff) – Full Experience – $13.00
For school group questions and reservations, contact Nancy Stetz at email@example.com or 434-293-8000.
For more information on prices and tours at Highland, click HERE.
Location & Hours
2050 James Monroe Parkway, Charlottesville, VA 22902
James Monroe’s Highland is open for tours year-round.
Hours of Operation
11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., November through March. (Last tour: 4 p.m.)
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., April through October. (Last tour: 5 p.m.)
Highland is closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day.
Phone: (434) 293-8000
Itinerary – Plan Your Day
Come explore the newly revamped guided tour of James Monroe’s Highland, consisting of the fifth president’s guest home and former residency. Learn more HERE.
Come see the ornamental and utilitarian gardens, as well as the outdoor kitchen, just as they were in the early 1800s. Learn more HERE.
Continue your day touring the homes of former presidents and stop into Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Learn more HERE.
Michie Tavern, located down the mountain from Monticello, provides hearty midday fare especially convenient for famished tourists looking to extend their day in Charlottesville. Learn more on the Charlottesville Guide Listing our blog.
Enjoy Charlottesville’s beautiful views over a glass of Jefferson Vineyard’s wine and relax after a long day of tours. Learn more on the Charlottesville Guide Breweries & Wineries Listing HERE.
After touring Highland, come visit the University of Virginia, the site Jefferson coined “the Hobby of [his] old age.” Learn more on the Charlottesville Guide Attractions Listing HERE.