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“On the track of a Confederate Spy - The Belle Boyd House”
Review of Belle Boyd House

Belle Boyd House
Reviewed 25 November 2013

To really enjoy this venue, you have to be a history/Civil War enthusiast like myself or have time to kill. Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy whose activities were focused in Martinsburg and Front Royal. This is the family home built by Belle's father and used as a small business as well as the family dwelling. To be fair, the house has been maintained very well, and contains plenty of period pieces for authenticity. To a history junkie like me, touring any of these old houses is a good time, to tour the homestead for such a notable character is doubly satisfying. The tours are led by a town historian so there is more than enough detail to make the visit worth while. If I have any dislikes, it is the fact that the house is a catch-all museum, which detracts from the history of the house and family itself, and is a bit cramped on the second floor. However, a body cannot fault the historians for setting up a museum, and probably, that was the only location available to them. At least I can say that before the end of my tour I had touched an actual table once owned by Confederate General A.P. Hill. In any event, it is a decent little outing and I would recommend it. There is no fee, but contributions are accepted. Got some time on a Friday and want to do something educational and relaxing on your own or with the kids? Go there.

3  Thank jdangiel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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28 - 32 of 35 reviews

Reviewed 2 October 2013

Living in this town, we have been to the Belle Boyd House several times. It's always a pleasure. It's an old house with several small exhibits from the local historic area, some of which rotate (like Victorian Toys, or the Valenltine collection) and some of which are permanent (like the Hack Wilson baseball exhibit and the Belle Boyd clothing and items).

There is always a docent to give a brief tour, telling you about the history of the house, about Belle's story. It's a small house, a small museum, easily done in 45 minutes or so, so not too time-consuming.

Personally, I love it because I love old houses. So while the docents speak, I'm checking out the architecture and wood molding, but the history is cool, too. My granddaughters loved the little Civil War dioramas, husband loved the baseball exhibit, something for everyone. There is a small gift shop.

When you are in the room that housed the original kitchen, be sure and ask the docent to show you the unusual cellar door.

Note: it has been a while since we visited, but at that time, it was operated on donations only. You might check before you go. It is not handicap accessible.

2  Thank wearinganapron
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2013

The Belle Boyd House, home of the Berkeley County Historical Society, looks like a regular house but is surprising for its size and scope of exhibits. It has by far the best Hack Wilson exhibit anywhere, period clothing from most wars, an extensive local indian artifacts collection from Thornton Hilleary, a train exhibit, a children's antique toy room, a room of local black history, and drawings from David Hunter Strother,Martinsburg's superb graphic artist of the 19th century. Of course there are several exhibits relating to Belle Boyd, the famous Confederate spy who aided Stonewall Jackson, and who was put on a boat to England to keep the North from having the nasty task of hanging a woman .The best part, is the Archives Building next door, which keeps local history alive and which is open to the public for research on Thurs., Fri., and Sat., from 10am to 4 pm. It includes dozens of unique and scholarly books and pamphlets researched, edited and published by the Society. The Archives used to beat the Belle Boyd House, but is now across the street, where its rare documents are now housed in climate controlled rooms.It is considered one of the premier research facilities in West Virginia.

2  Thank CalliopeClio
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 January 2013

Take time ti visit and learn the perils of a young girl that eaves dropped on General's Conversations and then would risk her life to deliver messages of the opposite side. You can't even imagine living during that time.

2  Thank Jtingle13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2012

Like two other reviews I feel that the Boyd House is lacking in many ways. The tour and displays try to make up for the lack of represented history throughout the Eastern Panhandle, not the Boyd House. With a little professional help and public education about Boyd herself this house could be a great visit for everyone, especially parents of elementary and middle school students. Being born in Martinsburg and moving to Colorado made me realize how little most people know about the Civil War. This is a site that could spark interest and excitement in the hearts of young people if portrayed right. For instance the Hack Wilson display is history but in no way belongs in the Boyd House. This is a prime example of the "Well it's OK" attitude of the Eastern Panhandle citizens instead of making things great. I'm moving back to the Panhandle soon with my new child in tow, and will make sure I tell them the the truth about Boyd and other civil war heroes. Not just a nice house with random displays but a true revolutionary.

1  Thank Bryan G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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