Day Off for Meeting

09/01/13 9:37 PM


On Tuesday, Brett and I had a meeting back at the plantation with several of the key people we need to get through our zoning process. As we drove up to the plantation, I spent the time playing with Twitter and learning some of the functions on my Twitter app. By the time we arrived at the plantation, I think I have figured some of it out.



I am not sure if you notice, but we also got “Pinned”!


The first person to arrive was Doug from Fredericksburg Paving. He is going to be doing the paving we need at the entry from the highway. Then we had two officials from King George arrive, followed the representative from the Virginia Department of Transportation. As we were waiting, we were talking with everyone about the history of the plantation. And just as if it were on cue, over our head flew five eagles.


As we walked down the long driveway, I was talking to the VDOT rep and Doug. I asked them if they knew who all had rode or walked down this plantation drive. It was so much fun watching their faces as I told them about General Ambrose Burnside during the Civil War and the escape route of John Wilkes Booth and the detachment that followed and had stopped at the plantation to rest. I have to say for me, I still get chill bumps knowing the history that has passed through our plantation.

After viewing the drive and entry and reviewing the plan for the parking area, we got our answer as to what we needed to do for each. For the entry from the highway, we are not going to have to move the entry twenty feet to the north…whew! We just need to widen it as far as we can without adding a new covert or moving any utilities. As for the long driveway from the entry to front gate entry, we will be expanding the drive to 18 feet. We are currently at 14 feet. We may have to trim some of the limbs of the Red Cedars that line the drive, but at least we won’t have to cut any of these historic trees down. As for the circle drive around the bowling green, we will need to expand it out to 16 feet. It is also at 14 feet like the long drive. We will use the circle drive as a one way so we won’t need to have places for two cars to pass.

After all the zoning talk, Brett and I walked everyone through the Mansion. Only one of the visitors had ever been in the house. He had come during the restoration, but had not seen it since it was completed. As we walked around, we shared history and our ideas for each room. Giving tours of this grand house is one thing I have to say I just love. To be about to share the history that walked these halls is just…. priceless.

Ferry FarmBoyhood Home of George Washington

Ferry Farm
Boyhood Home of George Washington

After we said our “good-bye” we decided to head to Historic Fredericksburg for a bite to eat. But being that we were here during the week, I talked Brett into stopping at Ferry Farm, George Washington’s boyhood home to see our favorite archaeologists, Mara and Jason. WE also got to meet a new friend Melanie. I brought along our new finds to see what we had. Of course, all the small items were all 2oth century, so no excitement there. But I know Mara is really into bottles, so I couldn’t wait to see if our bottle was something special.



First intact artifact!  Bottle with screw top

First intact artifact! Bottle with screw top

After examining it, she thought it could be an extract bottle or medicine bottle dating somewhere around 1925-1928. Ok, so it’s not Civil War or Colonial, but I could take that. Plus it was the first item we had intact. After we arrived home, she had sent me an update on the bottle. Here is her final outcome:

The bottle is indeed an extract bottle, although from what company remains to be seen.  It does not appear to be utilized by Sauers, however. The reason we can never be sure of what company utilized this bottle is that the form is still prevalent today. So, the company that made the bottle was the Brockway Glass Company.  This mark was utilized since 1925 so the bottle dates anywhere after that.  They merged with Owens-Illinois Glass Co. in 1988 and that’s when that mark when out of use.”

So it could be anywhere from 1925 to 1988. Darn! But that’s okay. We are going to find so much more as we start doing landscaping!

Capital Ale HouseFredericksburg

Capital Ale House

We decided to stop at Capital Ale House on Caroline Street in Historic Fredericksburg for a bite. We have been here several times and it didn’t take long to figure out what we wanted.

Bavarian Pretzel with Sweet Bavarian Mustard

Bavarian Pretzel with Sweet Bavarian Mustard

Fried Potato and Cheese Pierogies with Onion and Applewood Bacon Bits topped with Melted Havarti Cheese and Herb Sour Cream

Fried Potato and Cheese Pierogies with Onion and Applewood Bacon Bits topped with Melted Havarti Cheese and Herb Sour Cream

The best part was that we were able to see the manager we had meant the first time we came. Because it was in the middle of the afternoon and everyone else was at work, we were able to talk and catch up on things. When you come to see us, you have to stop in and see Jason and grab some awesome food!

As we headed home, we took a road that cuts through our plantation called Port Conway Road. We made a quick stop in an area called Dogue. Down the road from this area is another old plantation that dates back to the Colonial period called Cleves Plantation.

Cleves Plantation

Cleves Plantation

I had found it one day when I was exploring the area. You can’t really see the plantation house, but you can just image what it must look like. I found out today though that the original Colonial home burned down and that the house we saw was built in the early 1900s. I may have to do some research to find out more for you later.

As we arrived at our plantation and headed over the James Madison Bridge, I was able to catch the sun slipping down behind the trees across the river from our plantation.

Sunset as we cross the James Madison Bridge. Belle Grove is to the right on the opposite bank.

Sunset as we cross the James Madison Bridge.
Belle Grove is to the right on the opposite bank.

The sunset continued as we passed through Caroline County into Essex County.

Sunset across the Virginia  Country side in Essex County

Sunset across the Virginia Country side in Essex County

It was just so beautiful and wonderful end to our day of skipping work.

See more pictures and updates about Belle Grove on our Facebook Page!

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 40 Comments »

40 Comments on “Day Off for Meeting”

  1. Reblogged this on Simon Sundaraj-Keun.

  2. John Says:

    Great post! The other plantation looks abandoned, and glad your zoning went better than expected. Always government agencies meddling right?

  3. Thank you! Cleves Plantation does have someone living there from what I was told. I am hoping one day to see it inside. I don’t think I would care what it looks like, just to be there where history happened!

  4. terry1954 Says:

    you had some good news, good sights and good foods today. Awesome!!!!

  5. It was all good! And I got to talk to some good friends tonight! 😉

  6. terry1954 Says:


  7. Wow, must be amazing seeing those 5 eagles passing by, like the picture and glad it went well. The food looks very good too 🙂 btw, love the beautiful pictures you have on Pinterest, like Hurley’s pictures a lot 🙂 he’s too cute 🙂

  8. Thank you! It was funny with the two from the county, They see eagles all the time so it was no big deal. But because we don’t we get excited to see them. I am just getting things on Pinterest. I think it is going to be good so people can see different parts of the blog and some of the things we are doing and seeing.

  9. true 🙂 btw, I have never seen an eagle in person so I would’ve been surprised to see so many 🙂

  10. It is wonderful to see. Maybe one day you can come and just watch them.

  11. Very nice that you don’t have to take such drastic measures with the drive! And I don’t care how often I see eagles, I still think they are neat to see. I hope I never have a ho-hum attitude about the beauty in this world!

  12. Me too. I still get thrilled to see them. They are just so beautiful. Thank you!

  13. vanbraman Says:

    I hope that a bottle collector will drop by your post and be able to tell you more about it. By the time I worked in a pharmacy in the 80’s, most medicine bottles were brown. My guess for this one would be late 20’s to early 40’s. Not a very educated guess though :-).

  14. It was a good guess! I’m thinking the same too! Thank you!

  15. Mara Kaktins Says:

    Yes, that is my estimate as well. Although it is based solely on my ‘feeling for it’ as there really isn’t any morphology that gives it a hard and fast date. As an archaeologist, I could not assign a true end date for it, although it’s beginning date is 1925.

  16. Either way, I still love my first intact bottle!

  17. vanbraman Says:

    As usual you have me off on a history quest. This time another genealogical one. I have Brockway ancestors, so decided to figure out where the Brockway name came from. The bottle company was started in Brockway, PA. The original name was Brockwayville and was named for three Brockway brothers that lived there at one time. They were half-second cousins of my fifth great grandfather Peter Tubs.

  18. Oh how cool! We are just so connected aren’t we! 🙂 Thank you for the information!

  19. Thank you for visiting my blog. I have just come across to your beautiful blog and I have fallen in love with Belle Grove Plantation house. It is amazing! Food also looks amazing and the eagles! How special.

  20. You are so welcome! We hope to see more of your blog in the future! Thank you! We hope you will join us on this wonderful journey! It is a beautiful plantation with so much to see and learn about!

  21. cc2001 Says:

    I have been following your blog forever and can’t wait for the grand opening! I live in F’burg and am a Civil War buff, so was delighted to learn the Burnside connection to your magnificant place. Also, from your previous post on your late mother I know you are a Boykin. Are you related to Mary Chesnut Boykin, the great diarist? The quality of your writing suggests you may be, in spirit if not genetically. Looking forward to March!

  22. Thank you so much for your loyal support of our blog! It really means so much to us! We just love Frederickburg and love all kinds of history. I can’t make up my mind. lol My mother had remarried when I was about ten or eleven to my stepfather Charles Holle Boykin. So I am not a Boykin. My maiden name is Murphy. My grandmother, from whom all my love of cooking, history and entertaining comes from told me as a child that the Murphy side of the family comes from County Cork in Ireland. And that somewhere down the line we are related to Princess Grace (Grace Kelly). I don’t know about that, but I still haven’t gotten my invitation to the wedding for Prince Albert and his new wife. 😉 But thank you for your wonderful comments. They are really sweet!

    If you live in Fredericksburg, you know we may be able to give you a “sneek peek” at the plantation before. Would you be interested?


  23. Cheers to a great day…

  24. It was a great day… just no wine. 😉

  25. That pretzel looks divine! I can only imagine how much red tape y’all are swimming in- good luck!!

  26. It was so good! The mustard is to die for too! It isn’t too bad. We aren’t looking at the whole, just the pieces. It helps keep us sane! Thank you for stopping by!

  27. Amy Says:

    Thank you for keeping us updated every step! I’m falling in love with your plantation!

  28. I have to tell you it is hard not to! It just draws you in and the next thing you know you are addicted! The feeling there is just so happy and peaceful. I can’t explain it. I just miss it when I am not there. Thank you! I can’t wait to share it with you one day! I know you will feel it too!

  29. David Says:

    That must’ve been relief regarding your long driveway.

    The history on your plantation sounds quite interesting. Looking forward to more.

  30. It was a relief. The cost would have killed us! But we are moving right along! Finger crossed we will be in the first of the two meetings in about one month. OMG – one month! I have so much to do! lol Thank you! We have so much more to share!

  31. I hadn’t realized that James Madison was born at Belle Grove!

  32. Yes, on March 16, 1751. His mother also was born and raised there. She traveled back there to have him on the plantation with her mother.

  33. pommepal Says:

    Good news, one step closer…

  34. Yes.. one step at a time and we will get there! Thank you for the support!

  35. After I wrote the comment the other day about the screw-top bottle, I got to thinking and realiced it must have been after about 1920. Archeologists found hundreds of (McCormick?) extract bottles up here when my friend excavated various sites. All i can think is someone drank Vanilla extract. Dianne

  36. Dianne, when I first saw it my first thought was vanilla extract. I have had a plastic bottle shaped that way with vanilla in it before. To found out that it is an extract bottle made it so much cooler. We are going on the hunt again tomorrow at the plantation. This time I will have a few archaeologist there from Ferry Farms. I can’t wait to see what we discover!

  37. Mara Kaktins Says:

    It is indeed post 1925 based on the maker’s mark.

  38. 🙂

  39. Those pierogies are just naughty. Gimme. lol The bottle is still a great find.

  40. I just love pierogies! I could eat them everyday if I didn’t have to worry about gaining weight! Yes, we still love our first intact bottle! Thank you!