Hours & Admission


Rural Retreat as it was first established was the home of Major John and Violet Davidson. John Davidson served in the American Revolution and was one of the original signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. The small homestead ultimately developed into a thriving plantation. It became known as one of the “Jewels of the Catawba River Valley”.

Today, this 265 acre historic farm boasts some of the last remaining rural vistas in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Rural Hill is open Monday-Saturday to the public and offers a variety of activities such as guided tours, educational programs, walking trails, and even hayrides with a prior reservation. There are also special events throughout the year.

Some of the things you’ll see when you visit Rural Hill is a reproduction of the type of home John and Violet first lived, the original plantation home ruins, smoke house, ash house, well house, barn, chicken shed and granary. At the base of the hill rest the family members of Rural Hill in the Davidson family cemetery. Two of the last remaining one-room schoolhouses in Mecklenburg County for white and African American children, the Davidson Schoolhouse and the Bethesda Schoolhouse are also located on the Rural Hill property. They serve as educational interpretive centers of early American education.

Historic Site and Tours Hours & Admission

Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm

Adults 13 and over$6.00
Children age 5-12$4.00
Children 4 and

Please note SPECIAL EVENTS have different dates, times, and admission prices from regular daily hours and admission prices listed above. Please check each Special Event page for detailed information. Thank you.

Historic Rural Hill is a restoration in progress. In making your plans, be aware that this has been and still is a working farm. The grounds of the present site extend 265 acres. However, the main part of your tour is located around the main farm house and outbuildings which are in close proximity of one another.

Improving accessibility while maintaining historical accuracy is an important part of our preservation plans at Rural Hill.

We do request that you take extra care in planning your visit for the elderly and children and those who have difficulty walking. Wearing good comfortable walking shoes and wearing clothing appropriate for the weather will help make your visit all the more enjoyable.

Handicapped parking and restroom facilities are available.

Special Notes:

  • ATV and other 3-4 wheel motorized vehicles are not permitted on Rural Hill property
  • Horseback riding and horses are not permitted on Rural Hill property, unless they are used for special events and have proper authorization from the Rural Hill staff.
  • Camping is not permitted on Rural Hill property

Thank you. We hope you enjoy your visit.


Although Historic Rural Hill is home to many special events there is plenty to see and do when the grounds of this historic site are peaceful.

Rural Hill has eight historic structures on site which includes two unique historic one-room schoolhouses, and three additional buildings of historic likeness to the original farm, which are used for interpretive educational purposes during living history events and educational programs.

We also have walking trails which you are invited to bring your family, friends, and pets to hike. You can begin your journey back in time down the old Mill Lane, an historic road that dates back to when John and Violet Davidson and others used it to come and go at Rural Hill.

As you head off down the road you will fade away into the nature trails that surround this magnificent 265 acre historic setting. You’ll walk up and down hills, cross creeks, and come out across the fields of the farm.

The trails continue to the Davidson Schoolhouse and beyond if you choose to continue your hike, or you can make your way by the Rural Hill Burying Ground and then back to the main house.

Historic Rural Hill is indeed one of the most relaxing and enjoyable places in Mecklenburg County where one can simply get away from the modern world and take in the tranquil beauty of nature.


  • Admission is required to enter the site
  • Picnics are allowed on site.
    We simply ask that you clean up after you have enjoyed your picnic.
  • Pets not allowed at special events unless specifically stated on the event page.. See Pet Policy.