Menokin

Menokin

Menokin was the home of patriot Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his wife Rebecca Tayloe Lee, of nearby Mt. Airy. The Menokin Foundation owns the 500-acre property, more than half of which is in the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

At Menokin, you will experience an 18th century house like never before -- feel hand wrought nails; observe how joists, girders and posts fit together to create the framing; and look behind the interior woodwork to see the construction techniques of the 18th century artisans. Enjoy the property's scenic beauty by hiking on our trails to Cat Point Creek. Menokin is a learning center for heritage and natural resource conservation. Our programs reflect our commitment to educate the public on the built and natural environments of the past...and the future.

Menokin is located along the shoreline of Cat Point Creek, a pristine tributary of the Rappahannock River and a part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Also a designated Chesapeake Bay Gateway, Menokin offers access to the water for kayaks and canoes, where a paddle along the creek provides a view of bald eagle and wildlife habitat that is virtually unchanged over time.

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Image Credit: Menokin

Hours

VISITOR’S CENTER

OPEN 
Wed | Thurs | Fri:  10 am – 4 pm
Sat: May – September: 12 pm – 4 pm

CLOSED
Sun | Mon | Tues

PROPERTY & TRAILS 

Open Year Round Unless Otherwise Posted on Calendar. Gates open at 7:00 am and close at 7:00 pm.

HOLIDAYS

The Menokin Foundation observes the following national holidays: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day.  Please check our Calendar for Closure Announcements before coming.

(Note: Many places fill to capacity on busy, nice weather days, especially holiday weekends. Please call ahead or visit the official website to get the most up-to-date information before visiting.)

Fees

There is no fee, but donations are graciously accepted.

Activities

Enjoy the property's scenic beauty by hiking on our trails to Cat Point Creek.

Menokin is a learning center for heritage and natural resource conservation. The programs reflect a commitment to educate the public on the built and natural environments of the past and include such topics as oyster gardening; native plant research; Native American culture and studies; rain barrel construction; architectural conservation; and many more.

Menokin is home to many native species of birds including wild turkeys, bald eagles, bluebirds and Canada geese. There is a bluebird trail consisting of over 50 nesting boxes that is monitored by a dedicated volunteer corps of Master Naturalists.

Menokin is located along the shoreline of Cat Point Creek, a pristine tributary of the Rappahannock River and a part of the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. Also a designated Chesapeake Bay Gateway, Menokin offers access to the water for kayaks and canoes, where a paddle along the creek provides a view of bald eagle and wildlife habitat that is virtually unchanged over time.

HARD HAT TOURS include an in depth guided tour through the visitor’s center, the conservation barn and a hard hat tour through the house. Tours usually last from 1 to 1.5 hours.

TIME:  2:00 pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. No appointment needed. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early and wear comfortable shoes and weather appropriate clothing.
COST:  $15 Per Person; Children under 12 are admitted at no charge
SPECIAL REQUESTS may be accommodated based on staff availability. Please call 804-333-1776 to make arrangements.

SELF-GUIDED tours are available during regular Visitors Center Hours. There is no fee, but a $5 donation per person is suggested.

Facilities

Menokin's facilities include:

  • A visitor's center with restrooms and a full-service kitchen; a large meeting room for group use; and exhibits of the interior woodwork that was extracted from the house before its collapse in the early 1960s.
  • A conservation barn that houses the remains of the construction timbers from the house, and that is also used as teaching space for architectural conservation classes.
  • A walking trail with complete trail guides identifying plants, trees and wildlife that can be found on the property.
  • Menokin’s newly improved road to Cat Point Creek featuring a “soft” kayak and canoe launch site is now open.

Accessibility

The Menokin visitor’s center is handicapped accessible.

History

Menokin was built c. 1769 on the occasion of the marriage of Francis Lightfoot Lee and Rebecca Tayloe. Rebecca was the daughter of John Tayloe II, who built neighboring Mount Airy. John Tayloe II gave the couple the large plantation on Cat Point Creek, approximately five miles upstream from the Rappahannock River, and financed construction of the two-story stone Menokin and its dependencies. Soon after, Francis Lightfoot Lee joined the cause of American independence, serving in the Continental Congress from 1775 to 1779 and signing the Declaration of Independence (together with his brother Richard Henry Lee) and the Articles of Confederation. Both Francis Lightfoot and Rebecca Tayloe Lee died in the winter of 1797. Menokin was then owned by Rebecca's nephew John Tayloe III, who lived at Mt. Airy and later built the Octagon House in Washington, D.C. Between 1809 and 1819, John Tayloe Lomax lived at Menokin with his family. Lomax would later become the first Professor of Law at the University of Virginia. During the 19th and 20th centuries, Menokin passed hands several times and went into serious decline around 1935 when it lay, for the most part, vacant before coming into possession of The Menokin Foundation in 1995.

Weather

Last updated: April 30, 2019
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