Oak Ridge Estate
The mansion on this 5,000- acre plantation estate was built in 1802 and acquired at the turn of the 20th century by Thomas Fortune Ryan, a Nelson County native who had become one of the 10 wealthiest men in the nation. He made impressive alterations to the buildings and grounds - adding a formal Italian garden, rotunda greenhouse, railroad station and a horseracing track.
Along with other restoration projects and historical research by the present owners, the Oak Ridge Hunt Club, operating at Oak Ridge since 1910, has been reestablished. The Club was a nationally recognized hunt in Nelson County for three years; it was succeeded by the Bedford Hunt after World War I. In 1993, Rita Mae Brown, Master of Fox Hounds, re-instituted the Fox Hunt at Oak Ridge and there are approximately 50 members in the club currently.
The horseracing track was completely renovated in 2002 and Oak Ridge hosts several public events, including the Nelson County Summer Festival in mid June and the Virginia Rodeo in August. Visitors will enjoy a visit to the house, where a guided tour includes the first floor of the mansion and sections of the grounds. Admission is $10 per person.