Save the Date!
Sunday, October 8th, 2023 1PM
Doing Choreography: dance variations in music past and present.
Works by Reena Esmail, W.A. Mozart, Garth Knox, Handel-Halvorsen, and more.
Seated in the intimacy of the parlors at Happy Retreat, audiences can enjoy chamber music played in a 19th Century parlor, where the acoustics of the space are perfectly suited to experience these dynamic and engaging performances. Curated by the Appalachian Chamber Music Festival, the concerts assemble high-caliber musicians of both regional and international renown. Only 50 tickets will be sold for each concert.
Open for Tours
October 7th, 2023 2PM-4PM
Our doors will be open on October 7th 2PM to 4PM for our monthly free tour. Come and see our progress. We have moved the Octagon House to it’s new location. We are not finished but we are getting there. We also have our newly restored Stone Kitchen/Enslaved Quarters open. We look forward to seeing you.
Happy Retreat is open for tours on the 1st Saturday of every month 2PM to 4PM.
Exciting Opportunity to Double your Donation to Happy Retreat!
One of our greatest needs at Happy Retreat is a new HVAC system. The house has an outdated oil-fired hot water radiator system for heat and no air-conditioning. The lack of air-conditioning severely restricts our use of the house for almost half the year, since we only schedule indoor events during the cool weather months.
We are excited that a Save America’s Treasure Grant from the National Park Service has provided matching funds to provide a unique opportunity for you to double the impact of your gift to update Happy Retreat’s heating and cooling system and to upgrade the electrical system in the house. There is a limited window in which to participate – before December 31 of this year – and your gift will be matched on a one-to-one basis. (All donations will be matched up to a total of $132,000.)
Please donate now to help us meet this important goal. You’ll be playing a vital role in making Happy Retreat a center of history and culture for the entire community to enjoy. You can make your check payable to Friends of Happy Retreat, P.O. Box 1427, Charles Town, WV, 25414 and note “matching gift” on the memo line. Contributions can also be made via our website. Gifts of stock are also welcome. If you would prefer to make a gift of stock, please contact us by email at email@example.com and we will provide you with the necessary information. Thank you for you continued support of Happy Retreat by helping us reach this important fundraising goal.
WV Humanities Council Grant to Further Study of Enslaved Community
In October 2022, the WV Humanities Council approved a grant to enable further study of the enslaved community at Happy Retreat, an important element of African American history in Jefferson County. In 2019, Happy Retreat facilitated and participated in the presentation “What We Found When We Came Together: Shared Roots Beneath Jefferson County Walls.” The presentation at Fisherman’s Hall recounted a compelling and powerful story about intertwining family histories of six women with roots in Jefferson County. As a result of that presentation, FOHR retained noted historian and genealogist Jane Ailes to research African American history in Jefferson County. Ms. Ailes’ work, funded in part through the support of an anonymous donor, sought to identify African Americans who lived at, worked at and helped build Happy Retreat, both before and after Emancipation and also sought to identify current descendants of those enslaved. The recent WV Humanities Council grant will support continuation of Ms. Ailes’ work, thereby providing a significant expansion of our knowledge about the role of the enslaved at Happy Retreat and in our community.
Charles Town Revitalization
“We are restoring Happy Retreat to become a cultural community center and heritage tourism destination, a hub for arts festivals, orchestra music celebrations, heritage fairs, teaching and other cultural activities.”
President of Friends of Happy Retreat
News & Announcements
October 7, 2023
October 8, 2023
October 29, 2023
November 12, 2023
December 1, 2023
December 2, 2023
December 3, 2023
December 17, 2023
Explore the history of Happy Retreat and Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town, West Virginia, and President George Washington’s youngest brother.