Festival of Lights 2020

We are turning Happy Retreat into a Festival of Lights for the holidays. Due to the pandemic, we are not able to host our annual Christmas Open House this year. Instead, we want to turn the outside of the house into a holiday celebration.

Fall 2020

Hello Everyone,

Thank you for checking back with us. Here we are approaching Fall already and we are all anxious to get back to normal. Hopefully it’s in the near future for us. Unfortunately we were unable to celebrate the birthdays of Happy Retreat (240 years), Harewood (250 years) and Claymont (200 years). We’re looking forward to that in 2021.

We will also be dedicating the newly restored Stone Kitchen/Smoke House. We look forward to sharing these events and more with you.

We would like to thank those of you who continued to support our efforts to keep Happy Retreat a great place to visit for entertainment, history and education.

Thank you for following us in these difficult times
Please be sure to check back with us for our Christmas and winter updates,

Walter Washington and the Board of Friends of Happy Retreat

Col. Charles Washington

1738 – 1799

Founder of Charles Town and brother of our first President. Portrait courtesy of Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association.

Welcome to Happy Retreat

Happy Retreat, the stately Federal/Greek Revival style home of Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town and brother of our first President, stands on a hill overlooking Charles Town, surrounded by 12 acres of sloping lawns and woods. In 2015, the non-profit Friends of Happy Retreat (FOHR) partnered with the City of Charles Town to acquire, restore, and preserve Happy Retreat for public use. Under this innovative partnership arrangement, the City bought ten acres of the Happy Retreat property to incorporate into a grand park that will extend throughout the west end of Charles Town along scenic Evitts Run. FOHR bought the Happy Retreat mansion, out buildings and surrounding two acres of land. FOHR is restoring the house and its outbuildings to use as a center for history, heritage tourism, scholarship, culture, and other events.

“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.”

Walter Washington
President of Friends of Happy Retreat

Home of George Washington’s brother becomes a national treasure

Happy Retreat

News & Announcements

Fall 2020 Update

Fall 2020 Update

August 2020 Update

August 2020 Update

July 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

July 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

July 2020 Restoration Update

July 2020 Restoration Update

Another History at its Best

Another History at its Best

December 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

September 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

September 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

Charles Washington Day

Charles Washington Day

April 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

April 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

Event Cancellation Announcement – Happy Retreat Book Series

Event Cancellation Announcement – Happy Retreat Book Series

September 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

September 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

Volunteers for the Craft Beer & Music Festival – Thank you!

Volunteers for the Craft Beer & Music Festival – Thank you!

Historic Mansion Comes to Life Through Wine & Jazz – WV Public Broadcasting

Historic Mansion Comes to Life Through Wine & Jazz – WV Public Broadcasting

Volunteers for the Wine Festival – Thank you!

Volunteers for the Wine Festival – Thank you!

Preview of Wines at the 2018 Happy Retreat Wine & Jazz Festival

Preview of Wines at the 2018 Happy Retreat Wine & Jazz Festival

The Max Kool Quintet

The Max Kool Quintet

Happy Retreat Wine & Jazz Festival on WEPM on Panhandle Live

Happy Retreat Wine & Jazz Festival on WEPM on Panhandle Live

The Happy Retreat Wine and Jazz Festival receives sponsorship from Kilmer’s Farm Market

The Happy Retreat Wine and Jazz Festival receives sponsorship from Kilmer’s Farm Market

WE STILL NEED VOLUNTEERS! (Updated)

WE STILL NEED VOLUNTEERS! (Updated)

The Happy Retreat Wine and Jazz Festival receives sponsorship from The Spirit of Jefferson

The Happy Retreat Wine and Jazz Festival receives sponsorship from The Spirit of Jefferson

April 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

April 2018 Rising Sun Newsletter

SHPO Archaeology Grant

SHPO Archaeology Grant

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! (Updated)

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! (Updated)

April 2018 Restoration Update

April 2018 Restoration Update

December 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2017 Restoration Update

December 2017 Restoration Update

September 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

September 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

Newly Renovated Charles Washington Hall, Fall, 2017

Newly Renovated Charles Washington Hall, Fall, 2017

September 2017 Restoration Update – Smokehouse/Kitchen

September 2017 Restoration Update – Smokehouse/Kitchen

April 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

April 2017 Rising Sun Newsletter

April 2017 Updates

April 2017 Updates

Archeology at Happy Retreat’s Summer Kitchen/Smokehouse

Archeology at Happy Retreat’s Summer Kitchen/Smokehouse

December 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2016 Restoration Update

December 2016 Restoration Update

Happy Retreat Craft Beer and Music Festival Announces Musical Lineup

Happy Retreat Craft Beer and Music Festival Announces Musical Lineup

Home of George Washington’s brother becomes a national treasure

Home of George Washington’s brother becomes a national treasure

Happy Retreat named National Treasure

Happy Retreat named National Treasure

Piecing the Past Together

Piecing the Past Together

Setting Restoration Priorities

Setting Restoration Priorities

April 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

April 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

Historic Structures Report Underway

Historic Structures Report Underway

Charles Town Art & Revitalization

Charles Town Art & Revitalization

January 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

January 2016 Rising Sun Newsletter

Progress on Welcome Center

Progress on Welcome Center

Happy Retreat Progress

Happy Retreat Progress

PAWV Award

PAWV Award

California Couple With Local Ties Helps Secure Happy Retreat’s Future

California Couple With Local Ties Helps Secure Happy Retreat’s Future

History

Explore the history of Happy Retreat and Charles Washington, founder of Charles Town, West Virginia, and President George Washington’s youngest brother.