Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what tea cup you may find!

17/06/12 11:11 AM

Brett is traveling for business again this weekend and week, so you know what that means! More tea cup and antique shopping! Since Father’s Day was this weekend, I asked my father to ride along. I have pretty much checked all the local area’s antique stores and flea markets for tea cups, so I decided to change locations. We heading up Route 17 to Gloucester, Virginia and then jumped on to Route 33 and then to Route 3 (Kings Highway), which takes us up through the Northern Neck of Virginia and to Route 301 (James Madison Highway) that takes us to Belle Grove Plantation.

Our first stop was at an antique store that Brett and I have passed many times on the way to the plantation from our current home in Chesapeake. It is located in Saluda, Virginia, just outside Gloucester. It is called the Treasure Antiques Thrift store. I met the owner as soon as I came in. Once I told him what we were doing and what I was looking for, he quickly helped me locate several cups that met my needs. He even worked out a good deal for me so we could get all of them! What a score! I did have a picture of him and the inside of the shop, but sadly I lost it along with three other pictures when I downloaded some pictures last night. (Bummer) But I know we will be returning so I can get another one next time! John was also helpful in telling us where some other locations were that we might want to hit up! And he even had a map with all the antique stores in the area that we could take with us! I knew after this, it was going to be a good day!


After we left we hit up two of the locations John had recommended that were close, but sadly one we couldn’t find. The second one, we did find, but I was only able to find one plate there that fit my needs. There was a second plate that I was on the fence about, but decided to leave it. Now I wish I didn’t because it would have matched a cup and saucer perfectly. Guess I will have to go back and hope that it’s there!

From here we headed towards Kilmarnock across the Rappahannock River. Just as we crossed the river, I sighted a small house that had a sign that read “Revolutionary War / Civil War / Indian Artifacts”. I quickly made a U-turn and headed to the house. What a great stop!


As you walk into this store, you are greeted by a Union soldier’s uniform and Indian Shirt with beading. The front room is filled with anything and everything Revolutionary and Civil War time periods. It was overwhelming. I just didn’t know where to begin. The back door opened and I looked up half expecting Mel Gibson’s character, “Benjamin Martin” to appear. The owner, Chris Trimble greeted me and helped me locate several of his prized items.

The first was a portrait of Mary Ball Washington, mother of George Washington. This was really something to see! (It was also one of the lost pictures from my download) Chris explained that it was of Mary when George would have been just 1 ½ years old. He also told us that there was a companion portrait of Augustine Washington, George Washington’s father, that went with this portrait of Mary. That portrait is located in the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. The next piece he showed us was a snuff box. He told us that it had been handed down through his family and had once been owned by Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee and Robert E. Lee! (another lost picture). Then he showed us two buttons from the uniform of the paymaster on the Titanic. (another lost picture-but don’t worry! We are going back!)

Chris continued to show us around looking at buttons from the Revolutionary and Civil War time periods, swords, uniforms, dish, Indian Artifacts and so much more. Chris also makes and restores period furniture. I think we are going to have to look into this when we get the furniture for the house!

We left there and head to a restaurant we passed as we crossed the bridge called “Willaby’s on the Rappahannock” for some hamburgers and a great view of the river.

Then it was back to Route 3 and up towards Belle Grove. This drive was wonderful! It was filled with small towns and crossroads. But what struck me was the fact that this was the road that great men traveled. As we made our way up, we passed Stratford Hall, home of the Lee Family and Robert E. Lee (just 20 minutes from Belle Grove) and the birthplace of George Washington (just 15 minutes from Belle Grove) and the birthplace of James Monroe (just 10 minutes from Belle Grove). We also passed Vineyards and Wineries and antique shops!

Our last antique stop was just 10 minutes from Belle Grove. It is a big red barn set up in a flea market style. I scored big here!

Then we head to our favorite candy stop in King George, Mary’s Cakery and Candy Kitchen,  where my father purchased a small bag of candy. He told me that he was going to eat just a couple, but they didn’t last long. They were pretty much gone by the time we reached Belle Grove. I knew they wouldn’t last. They are so addictive!

Belle Grove – Plantation side

Belle Grove – River side

We made a quick stop at Belle Grove so my father could see it and I could get some more pictures of the house and “Dolley”, our resident osprey.  She was being her normal self, screeching and flying around because someone was there. As she flew off the nest, I walked around to the Riverside to take a few pictures of the house and of her flying and landing back on the nest. As I walked back around to the Plantation side, something caught my eye. I reached down and picked up what looks to be some kind of pottery. So I put it in my pocket and headed back to the car.

On a closer look of this piece, it looks like pottery and it looks like it has a barnacle attached to it. The barnacle is worn down somewhat. I am thinking maybe it was in the river at one point and it washed up during a flood. I am not sure. If anyone thinks they know what it is, let me know! I would love to figure this one out.

We ended our day with a visit to Hornes  Truck Stop in Port Royal for an old fashion hamburger. Anyone that travels Route 17 through Port Royal knows about this place! One of the best stops for fast food on Route 17. And it is only yards away from the site where John Wilkes Booth was killed at Garrett’s Farm.

All and in all it was a great day. Great finds, great food and good company. So now, on Father’s Day with Brett still away, I guess I have only one thing to do… go antique shopping.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 63 Comments »

63 Comments on “Life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what tea cup you may find!”

  1. I don’t know what picture to say i love first! thank you for sharing these. i adore antique stores and all the neat things you have posted! omgosh! and the hawk! that is so awesome!!

  2. Thank you! I have to say I really enjoy finding them too! Yes, our osprey are something to see. Dolley seems to be the only one hanging around in the nest lately. I am not really sure about osprey so I think I’m going to have to do some research on their habits. We haven’t seen James too much so we are hoping nothing has happened to him.

  3. oooo osprey ok! how neat! i hope james is all good. i like how you have named them 🙂 🙂

  4. We thought the names would fit well. We also hope James is okay. Dolley would miss him if he were gone.

  5. becca givens Says:

    Definitely a fruitful day shopping for treasures … you managed some awesome finds and photos … thank you for sharing them, your story as well as photos of Dolley. 😀 Happy Day!!

  6. Thank you it was! Sadly its almost over. I have just a few more tea cups to find to fit our needs.

  7. Wow – you’re keeping busy. Is the antique china to be used at the plantation or will you have it on display?

  8. It is to be used at the plantation. We are going to offer a tea event for social groups or bridal parties as well as an annual Holiday Tea.

  9. That’s super news! It’s a great shame when it’s look – don’t touch, especially with china when you’re dying to know more. We’re sure that visitors to the plantation will respect the honour. Do hope James comes back. Love the insistent call of Ospreys.

  10. I think using it should be fine as long as the tea doesn’t end up as a food fight 😉 You will need to watch for the surprise we have coming if you like the call of the osprey!

  11. Debbie Says:

    I had the same question as animalcouriers regardng the china? I also have no intent of saying this everytime I post but I so enjoy living vicariously through your blog. Among so many other things I would love to do high on my list would be opening a B&B! For me, living in the Pacific Northwest I envision an old Victorian or maybe a mountain hideaway or even a coastal cottage. Ahhh, so many dreams…

  12. We are going to use the china at the plantation for tea events for social groups or bridal parties and for an annual Holiday Tea Event each December. I am glad you are enjoying the blog and that maybe we can inspire others to pursue their dreams. I love Victorian homes! They have such details! But a mountain hide away would suit just as nice! I hope someday you might venture East and see ours in person! It is such a beautiful home and the history would take you breath away!

  13. lessandragr Says:

    Thanks for the wonderful pixs. I’m sure DH is going to love looking at your blog since he went to W&L in Lexington, VA many years ago and both his father and he love Robert E. Lee (his dad designed the first commemoration stamp with Washington and Lee’s picture on it in 1945). I’m right there with Debbie, enjoying the ride with you!!

  14. Wow that is so cool! I have always loved Stratford Hall and Robert E Lee as well as Arlington House in DC. I hope DH enjoys the blog and we would love any insight added!

  15. Looks like you had a fun day filled with antiques and food!

  16. Yes, it was a great day. I need to go back to two places next weekend to see if we can make a deal on several tea pots and tea cups at this one place. They only take cash and I didn’t have enough with me to make the kind of deal I need. Oh well, guess I just have to go shopping again 😉

  17. That’s not the worst thing in the world 😉

  18. Lillie Says:

    Your pictures of the new tea cups leave me drooling. I want to run out and find some too! I can’t wait to see what your next facet of antique collecting will be. Always love reading your blog. You’re a great writer!

  19. Thank you! Well, I hope that my next items to buy will have you just as excited! I know I have had a great time finding these! You will have to try and come to the plantation and see them in person.

  20. Love the tea cups!

  21. Thank you! It has been fun finding them!

  22. Dianna Says:

    Have you been in Kilmarnock Antique Gallery? Sometimes, hubby and I will take a Sunday drive up there. Looks like your collection of teacups and saucers is growing rapidly!

  23. You know we drove pass there yesterday, but did not stop. I was worried that the prices might be too high for me. But Brett and I are going to be heading that way next Saturday so I can show him that one antique store with all the artifacts. Maybe we will stop by there too.

  24. Dianna Says:

    I’ve never priced china there, but I have bought quite a few “rustic” pieces there. There haven’t been too many times that I’ve walked out empty-handed! 😉

  25. I will see next Saturday…fingers crossed!

  26. OH MY GOODNESS! More reasons to visit. Stops along the way, new tea cups, osprey. Fabulous!

  27. Thank you! We need just a few more and we will be set for tea soon!

  28. I want to give that pink cup with the little tiny feet a hug, as it is perhaps the cutest thing I’ve ever sen.

  29. *seen

  30. 😉

  31. That is sweet! It is a cute cup!

  32. foxress Says:

    I have always loved Virginia. Your blog really captures all that is wonderful about that beautiful state.

  33. You know, I am from South Carolina and I have always thought that would be the state I would want to be in. But since we have been here in Virginia, I have to say, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else!

  34. Alicia Says:

    Lovely, lovely, lovely!!!!

  35. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! 😉

  36. belocchio Says:

    Your Dad as your wing man. How absolutely perfect. The photographs of your day were enthralling. I traveled with you. Didn’t you hear me whispering… “buy that plate”. I’ll whisper louder next time. Virginia

  37. Haha! I almost did. I went back to it and thought about it. Whisper louder next time! But it gives me an excuse to go back. Yes having my father along was fun, but it was almost like having one of the kids with me. I was telling him over and over, you don’t need that. Put that down. haha

  38. belocchio Says:

    I’m chuckling. Now I’m reading your comment to The Good Husband. He’s laughing. Goodness knows what your Dad thinks about you curtailing his shopping. But then doesn’t he know what a wing man is supposed to do. Not shop for himself. Virginia

  39. Dad always wants to buy stuff and then it ends up in a garage sale or in a box at my house. haha He is too much of an emotional buyer.

  40. Congratulations Brett and Michelle on your new home. So much fabulous history! I wish you both well with your new adventure and if we ever make it over to the USA, will be sure to visit. Meantime I’ll just drool and sigh from Down Under. Love all your antique finds Michelle. Not averse to the odd cup myself!!

  41. Thank you! We look forward to sharing all the fun for our Aussie friends! Hope some day you can venture over to see us!

  42. Wow, beautiful teacups. Inspires me to take mine out and use them.

  43. Thank you! Yes, you should use them and enjoy them!

  44. samacwns Says:

    I love those tea cups and saucers! So pretty. 🙂 Tea cups are one of my favorite things to look at in antique stores.

  45. Thank you! We have enjoyed find them. Even better is when we get to use them of the teas at Belle Grove!

  46. Jen Says:

    Wow, thanks for sharing your adventures. I already know not to try and hunt down any teacups & saucers when we visit…! 😉 You really did score some fabulous goodies. And you are going to have one great list of places for people to check out! Loved the stop at Trimble’s Tavern. Historical things are right up our alley.

  47. Thank you! Trimble’s was something else. I don’t think you can see everything in one day there! I know my Dad had to pull me out of there to go get lunch. I wanted to stay just a little longer. I was so overwhelmed with it all.

  48. How exciting! When you said historic, I had no idea how historic. This is wonderful! Shopping for antiques is always a pleasure and the thrill of the hunt can’t be surpassed.

  49. Thank you! Yes, there is a ton of history here! We haven’t even scratched the surface yet! I agree about shopping for antiques! I look forward to it now!

  50. Ashima Says:

    Oh my God!! I love the tea cups :). I absolutely love tea-sets.. there is so much charm in serving tea in tea sets rather than just put them out in mugs which seems to be the culture many households have adopted in India. It feels nice to pour it out from a kettle…
    Whenever I go on vacation, I end up purchasing a kettle or a set :). But my husband doesn’t like anything with flowery design and I love them but since he has agreed on my fetish to buy kettles, I had to agree on staying away from flower prints 🙁

    totally love your’s!!! 🙂

  51. Thank you! You know, it wasn’t until we started working on the house that I bought my first tea cup. I drink hot tea for breakfast right now at work, but I have just a modern white pot and an antique blue flow cup without a handle that I use. I love my little cup with it’s flying crane on it. Sad that you can’t buy flowers, but there are some really nice patterns that are antique too!

  52. mlspell Says:

    Antique shopping–especially for dishes–is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m really enjoying your blog, and I can’t wait to see how everything turns out. 🙂

  53. Thank you! I really enjoy looking for the one piece that will become part of the history at the plantation. We can’t wait to really start filling it soon with beautiful furnture!

  54. Curls & Q Says:

    LOVE the teacups. Can see my favorite teas in them!

  55. Thank you! What is your favor teas? I am always interested to know so we can consider them for the plantation!

  56. Curls & Q Says:

    Love: regular black tea, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Darjeeling, and Silver Needles.

  57. Thank you! We will add those to the list!

  58. chrisstov Says:

    A rather splendid fox on that table in front of the rack of guns, especially when you bring it up close. Loved that picture of the osprey coming to land on the nest. Hope than chimney isn’t being used.

  59. That fox was quite a sight. You can’t miss him on the table in the middle of the room. Yes, I agree about the osprey landing. It is one of my favorite pictures. No the chimney isn’t being used. We are going to work with the game warren to help us move their nest after this season to a nesting pole close by so we don’t have to worry about them on the chimney.

  60. Somer Says:

    Beautiful teacups! I’m putting staying in your B&B on my bucket list! Gorgeous!

  61. Thank you! We look forward to seeing you soon!

  62. I love the hawk in flight pictures ! Good catch ! I could ea.sly go broke in that Civil War shop. Have you ever heard of Ironstone Pottery?

  63. Thank you! She wasn’t working too much with me that day and it took a few shots before I caught her coming in. I know what you mean about that Civil War Shop. I was just happy to see it and touch it! No what is Ironstone Pottery?