News & Announcements

The latest news and announcements from Friends of Happy Retreat.

Historic Letter from Frances Bassett Washington to Martha Washington (March 1793)

Historic Letter from Frances Bassett Washington to Martha Washington (March 1793)

Introduction: HISTORY AT IT’S BEST FROM INSIDE HAPPY RETREAT, by Marjorie Gaestel Those that know me know that one of my favorite Happy Retreat subjects is the portrait of the lovely Frances Bassett Washington that hangs in one of our ... read more

May 2021 Rising Sun Newsletter

May 2021 Rising Sun Newsletter

Friends of Happy Retreat, like the rest of the world, is gradually emerging from the pandemic. Although we were not able to hold events over the past year, work on restoration and planning continued. As reported in our last newsletter, read more

Historic Sewing Machine Donated to Happy Retreat

Historic Sewing Machine Donated to Happy Retreat

Friends of Happy Retreat is appreciating a personal donation given to us by a descendant of Charles and Mildred Washington. This sewing machine belonged to Francis Washington, Jr. and his wife Lucy Walters Washington and their daughter read more

December 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

Over the past year, we have been exploring ways to leverage historic preservation tax credits to finance the remaining restoration of Happy Retreat. In a nutshell, combined Federal and West Virginia state historic preservation tax ... read more

Fall 2020 Update

Fall 2020 Update

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 ... read more

August 2020 Update

August 2020 Update

Hello again Fans and Patrons, Another update from all of us here at Happy Retreat. We are still working toward being able to open up the house for your visiting pleasure. Of course we are still under the social precautions due to the ... read more

July 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

July 2020 Rising Sun Newsletter

It is with great sadness that I report the death of Kevin Lee Sarring, the generous and multitalented architect who gave so much of his time and talent to the restoration of Happy Retreat. Kevin was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s ... read more

July 2020 Restoration Update

July 2020 Restoration Update

Restoration of the smokehouse and stone kitchen is nearing completion. Over the winter, master carpenter Dave Kardok prepared the framing for the new roof. Many of the original rafters were simply split logs with the tree bark still on read more

Another History at its Best

Another History at its Best

A little trivia about Happy Retreat. Hello from inside Happy Retreat on Her 240th Birthday My favorite thing to do as the historian of Happy Retreat is look behind Happy Retreat’s walls, under her floorboards, in closets, read long ... read more

December 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

December 2019 Rising Sun Newsletter

The year 2019 has seen us make continued important progress at Happy Retreat as we build on the success of the past. The most important progress has been the restoration of the smokehouse and stone kitchen, which nears completion as ... read more