Surprises around every corner

February 4, 2015

Wow what I day I had yesterday! I started out with two radio interviews, which of course I knew about, but ended up with several more surprises that I didn’t expect.

Thunder

I woke yesterday morning early so I could be in Fredericksburg for two radio interviews with Thunder 104.5 and Super Hits 95.9. We are the “Deal of the Day” for both stations this week. The “Deal” will be purchase a certificate valued at $50 for just $25 for Belle Grove Plantation. Then you can use the full face value towards rooms or events we are having throughout the year. They go on sale tomorrow morning (Thursday, February 5th) at 8:20am. They will open their online store at that time and the sale will go on until all the certificates are sold. Believe me, it will go really fast, so if you want one, you better be ready to hit it fast. You ca go to their online store through this link:

http://wgrx.halfoffdeals.com/index.php?index_type=promo-detail&h=8750078

Both Thunder 104.5 and Super Hits 95.9 have been promoting our “Deal of the Day” through their website and radio advertising. But yesterday, I got to come into the station and talk with Denny and Christal on Thunder and Dave on Super Hits. It was so much fun! Tammy Anderson, our Weddings and Events Specialist came along to video tape it for me and to have just as much fun as I did!

You can see the fun we had on our YouTube video of the event!

http://youtu.be/6qup9JU_m0E

Super Hits

And by the way, the final answer to Denny’s questions that stumped me was “Jemmy”. However in my defense, “Jemmy” was not a common nickname for James Madison by his friends. It was a family nickname.

After I left the radio station, I headed back to Belle Grove for a meeting at 10am with Charles Thomas of Central Virginia Television Network. CVTN is a public broadcasting channel that covers the Fredericksburg, Stafford and Spotsylvania areas. He is working on expanding into our area here in King George and beyond. Our Economic Development Director here in King George, Linwood Thomas, set up this meeting and frankly, I have to say a huge “thank you” to him.

It was a wonderful meeting! It started out as a one hour meeting, but ended up being over two hours! Ok, I have to admit, these happens a lot with our meetings. There is just so much to see and learn about while you are visiting us. By the end of the meeting, Charles and I were brain storming on not just one program for Belle Grove, but several! Who knows, we might even get to do a movie!

During our meeting, I had left my cell phone in my office so as not to disturb our meeting. But I had received several calls while I was away. One of them, well let’s just say was one of the great surprises of the day. This call came from the Virginia Living Magazine.

You may have remember last month, we were requesting everyone to vote for us during the “Best of Virginia” for the Virginia Living Magazine. We had asked everyone to please vote for us in several (five) categories. By us making at least one of those categories, we would receive recognition in their May Best of Virginia issue, which means free advertising having our name on a list.

Well….

We were informed yesterday that we had made three of those categories!!

I can’t tell you which ones just yet and they wouldn’t tell me if we made first, second or third on those categories, they want me to wait until May to find out. But we must have done well because they were asking for more information about Belle Grove Plantation, beyond our contact information!! This could mean that we might get a little featurette beside some of those categories!!

Brett and I have to send out a HUGE “Thank you” to everyone that voted, shared and shared again for us during the polling time. You cannot image how much this really means to us! We would have never made it without each of you!

During the day, I also received notification that an article by Nikki Ducas with the Fredericksburg Parent and Family had been published. Nikki had come to me and asked if I would contribute to her article about Romantic Getaways at Bed and Breakfasts. Of course I loved helping. Where else in the world can you find a more romantic location than Belle Grove Plantation. Of course I am a little bias. But really?

You can see the whole article at:

http://www.fredericksburgparent.net/read/travel/3027-bed-breakfasts-get-away-from-it-all-for-a-romantic-getaway

Our Civil War News ad also came out yesterday. We are so excited about our Civil War Weekend. We are combining forces with Port Royal and Caroline County for this very special event. It will be the 150th Anniversary of the pursue and capture of John Wilkes Booth this year, so this event is sure to be huge! We will be posting information on this event soon!

Well, what does today have to hold? I am not sure, but it is going to be hard to beat the excitement of yesterday!

 

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Diary | Comments Off

Its How the Cookie Crumbles

February 2, 2015

In 2013, just before we opened the bed and breakfast, we conducted our first Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation. It was a wonderful contest and we had recipes sent from around the world as entries.

We had President James Madison select the top ten recipes during his first visit to Belle Grove Plantation in April 2013. Wow, that sounds like forever ago! Out of the ten top one cookie won the honor of being our “Official Cookie” for one year. And believe me it truly came down to the wire with the votes on Facebook!

Modern Molasses Cookies - Alyssa D'Alconzo

The winner was Modern Molasses Cookies submitted by Alyssa D’Alconzo of New Jersey. We made Alyssa’s cookie for our guest’s turn down service for the first year. It receive so many compliments and was even fought over by some of our couples during their evenings with us.
Today we are opening up a new contest for another “Official Cookie” of Belle Grove Plantation!

We are looking for a cookie that “President James Madison would love” and will be unique enough to represent Belle Grove Plantation.
But we don’t want just any recipe! We are looking for a cookie that you don’t see often. So Chocolate Chip, Sugar, Peanut Butter and Oatmeal standards are out. We want something that people will look forward to having on their visit with us!

We have posted the details on our website Calendar page for you to see. Entries for this contest will run today until 11:59pm (EST) on Saturday, February 28, 2015. So don’t delay!

Once the entries are received, we will have a panel select the top ten cookies. Then from Saturday. March 7th to Friday, March 13th, the top ten will be receiving votes through Facebook. The top ten will also be served during our “President Madison’s Birthday Dinner and Social”. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to taste and see the top ten and vote for their favorite!

We look forward, especially Brett because he loves to taste test, to receiving your recipes and wish everyone good luck!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Diary | Comments Off

Where is the World was Brett and Michelle?

January 30, 2015

We are off on an adventure filled weekend. Saturday is my 49th birthday and this is my break before the year gets really going.

Happy Birthday to me

So we have been playing “Where in the World is Michelle and Brett?” today. Well, this time I haven’t stumped many people with the clues. That’s the problem with visiting the Williamsburg area. Everyone knows the area too well.

John Smith

dig

View of the fort and John Smith

fort

fort model

We started our trip with a visit to the archeological site of Historic Jamestown. I had visited this site many years ago, but I wanted to see all the changes that have come with the dig that has been going on since our last visit.

church entry

inside church

foundation info

foundation

As we walked up to the site, the first thing we saw was the old church building. Most people mistake this church as being the one that Pocahontas was married in. This church was a later church. The church that Pocahontas was married in is long gone, but they did find the post holes and have marked them.

20150130_142917

Church outling

 

James River view

I was a little sad to see the many crosses marking the graves that were found during the digs. You just have to wonder about the hardships they must have faced coming here. I was talking to Brett and compared what it must have been like to one of the reality shows where they drop you on a lonely island without a way to survive. Only difference is that they couldn’t tap out.

While we were walking the site, the cold and wind picked up and the snow started falling. So we headed over to the Archeology Museum to get out of the weather. As we were walking over, we noticed some mounded up areas that we found out was a fort. This was built up by the Confederate Army during the Civil War. How strange it was to think that the Civil War touched this area.

In the museum, we enjoyed looking at all the finds and discussing how much we wish we could find some of these wonderful pieces. They did have a few skeletons, which I am okay NOT finding Belle Grove. One was Bartholomew Gosnold. He was an English Ship Captain. He was the one that named Cape Cod, for the fish that he saw swimming there and Martha’s Vineyard for his daughter. Sadly he died shortly after he arrived at Jamestown. The other skeleton was “JR”. They don’t really know who he is. They do know that he died from a gunshot wound to the right leg. The big question was it an accident or not.

One displayed had the skull of a young girl that they named “Jane”. She died during the “starving years”. They discovered that after her death, those that remained ate her. There were cuts to her skull that told them this.

One story that touched me was that of a young girl named Anne. She came to Jamestown as a 14 year old maid servant to a Gentleman’s Lady. The Lady passed away shortly after she arrived. Anne was left to work making shirts for the servants. She would do this for food rations. While working one day, she came to the end of making her shirt and started running out of thread. So she unraveled the bottom of the shirt to complete the shirt. When the shirts of all the girls were looked at, hers was shorter than the others. They ended up whipping her for not completing the shirt right.

glass oven

glass oven 2

Glass Bottle

Next we headed over to the Glass Shop. How amazing to watch them create such wonderful pieces!

You have to check out our video on Youtube to see how it is done!

We also bought the bottle above for a future auction!

Brickhouse front porch

Brickhouse front door

Front Hall

Brickhouse front hall

Brickhouse door lock

The lock looks very familiar!

Brickhouse bed

Brickhouse floor

Look at these beautiful floors!

After Jamestown, we headed to Colonial Williamsburg to check in. We decided to have a true Colonial Williamsburg experience and stay in one of the Colonial homes. It has been something I have wanted to do for years. We are staying in the Brick House Travel right on Duke of Gloucester. Best part, we are the only ones in the Tavern…. Or are we? We will have to let you know tomorrow!

For dinner we headed over to the Fat Canary at Merchant Square. This was the third time we have eaten there. And it was just as good if not better than the other times! Brett started with a Wild Mushroom Broth with Black Truffle Gnocchi. Then Brett had a Mozzarella and Salted Virginia Ham appetizer with pesto, balsamic reduction and tomatoes while I enjoyed a salad with pears, almonds, goat cheese with a vinaigrette and almond cracker.

Moz Cheese, Ham, Bal Vine, Olive Oil, Pesto, Tomatoes with SP Basil with Oil

Mus Greens with Pears, Almonds, Almond Cracker, Bal Vineg and Goat Cheese

For our main entrée, Brett had scallops with a pork belly, couscous and tomatoes. I had a beef tenderloin with asparagus and French fried potatoes. For dessert, we shared a dark chocolate mousse pyramid, floured chocolate cake, cranberry shortbread cookie and chocolate and chocolate sauce. The best part was the waitress forgot it was my birthday so she bring me a candle on plate afterwards!

Scallops, Pork Belly, Tomatoes, Couscous

Beef Tenderloin, Asp, Steak Fries and Blue Cheese Butter

Dark Chocolate Mousse with Flourless Chocolate Cake, Shortbread with Cranberry and Cranberry and Chocolate Sauce

So back in our room, getting for a quiet night in a colonial home in beautiful Williamsburg. Tomorrow we are off for more adventures and new places to see and things to do.

We can’t wait to share the fun with you!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Diary | Comments Off
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Pictures provided by Chamberlin Photography, Rebekah Beasley Photographs & DG Photography