Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

016-0032 Gay Mont

Gay Mont
Photo credit: Brad McDonald/DHR, 2018

*Click on image to enlarge.

For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 01/18/1972

NRHP Listing Date 05/19/1972

DHR's Virginia Board of Historic Resources easement

NRHP Reference Number 72001387

Gay Mont, on a terraced ridge above the Rappahannock River valley in Caroline County, preserves an extensively documented historic garden. The garden was the creation of John Hipkins Bernard, who during an 1818 visit abroad became impressed by French landscape and garden design. Upon his return he laid out a geometric garden, the shrubbery-lined gravel paths of which are intact. Bernard ordered many plants and seeds from Europe, the records for which survive in the Bernard papers. Gay Mont’s house, built ca. 1800 for Port Royal merchant John Hipkins by Richard and Yelverton Stern, burned in 1959, but the 1820 stuccoed wings and Tuscan colonnade added by Bernard, his grandson, survived and were incorporated into the reconstructed house. Gay Mont was owned by Bernard descendants until 1976 when it was deeded to the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (now Preservation Virginia) with a life tenancy for the donors.

Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: December 29, 2021