Changing Fashion for Changing Times

November 11, 2015

With our Downton Abbey Casino Night coming up on Saturday, I decided to get into the mood with a visit to the Virginia Historical Society’s “Dressing Downton Abbey” exhibit. This exhibit will be at the VHS from October 2015 to January 2016. It is not only an exhibit, but open events to come and experience Downton Abbey style.

Here is a video of the wonderful costumes. While they are beautiful, the photos don’t do them justice. You really must see them in person.

Belle Grove Plantation’s Downton Abbey Casino Night will be on Saturday, November 14th from 7pm to 11pm. Tickets are still on sale for $55. This will be the first event for our new James Madison Belle Grove Foundation! Come join us for a night of great Food and Drinks from Clearwater Grill, Live Jazz Music from Abbe Buck and gambling all night with Always Fun Casino! We will be raffling off some really great items as well! Dress your best in “Downton Abbey” or “1920s” style or come in your finest.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Diary | Comments Off on Changing Fashion for Changing Times

Little Girl In Need

Maddison Swing
“You don’t know what strong is until being strong is the only choice you have”

Since being at Belle Grove, I have come to know many of the people that live and work around us. One of those people that we have come to know is Angela, a supervisor at Hornes in Port Royal. Angela is a wonderful person with such great attention to detail. And best of all, she can make one mean hamburger!

In getting to know Angela, I found out several months ago that she has a daughter named Maddison. Of course I took a liking to her immediately. I have had the chance to meet her once and in doing so, fell in love with her sweet disposition and angelic face.

Maddison Bubbles

But sadly, this sweet child is in the fight of her life. Maddison has Lymphoblastic Leukemia. In meeting her, you would never know the struggle she has been through. She is upbeat and loves to chat with anyone.

Maddison Hospital

Two weekends ago, Brett and I were visiting Hornes for a quick dinner. While there, we heard that Maddison had had a seizure that evening. Just a few days later, I met up with Angela again. The news wasn’t good. Maddison had made it through the seizure, but is showing signs of possibly having had a stroke. Her right side is not working as it should. At least conversation, they were taking her in for a MRI.

While talking to Angela, she informed me that they were having a fund raiser for Maddison’s medical bills. See, Angela still works full time and takes care of Maddison in between. In talking with her, she is dumbfounded at what our government requires for help. She pointed out to me that if she quits her job and moves into government housing in Richmond, the government will take care of 100% of Maddison’s bills. But if she continues to work and lives on her own, in a safe place, they will only fund 65%. That leaves a huge 35% bill to cover.

Angela has started a Go Fund Me Campaign for Maddison. I am asking, if you feel so incline, please visit and donate something. Even $5 will help. I am also asking that you please share the campaign. Only through word of mouth can we help them reach their goal of $10k.

There is also a fund raiser at Lou’s Soul Food on November 14th. The flyer is included. Please help them get the word out by printing copies of the flyer and sharing it. If you have anything you would like to donate for the raffle, they are looking for items to raffle off.

Maddison Flyer
Any help would be most appreciated. Let’s help this sweet angel in this fight!
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It’s Finally Happened!

October 27, 2015


The mission of the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation is to assist in the restoration, preservation, maintenance and improvement of the estate of Belle Grove Plantation, birthplace of James Madison to the highest standards and to educate the general public about the historic events that have shaped Belle Grove Plantation, so that its history will continue to inspire future generations.

There are many goals that the foundation is looking to complete. As a non-profit, we will be able to request grants and donations that will help us bring Belle Grove Plantation back to the grandest plantation in the area.

Please be on the watch for more information on the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation in the weeks to come. We will be launching our website soon and will have many opportunities for you to be a part of making history here at the plantation!

With the announcement of the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation, we would like to turn our Downton Abbey Casino Night into a celebration of this accomplishment!

Purchase your tickets for our Downton Abbey Casino Night on Saturday, November 14th at 7pm for just $55 and use it as a donation to the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation!

Help us celebrate and start our fund raising for the foundation!

To purchase tickets online, please visit our online store at:

Don’t wait, this will sale out fast!!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Diary | Comments Off on It’s Finally Happened!
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Pictures provided by Chamberlin Photography, Rebekah Beasley Photographs & DG Photography