Press Release – The Amazing Race Belle Grove Plantation 2015

23/05/15 5:47 PM

================ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ==================

Belle Grove Plantation Hosts The Amazing Race Fund Raiser
Fund Raiser for Preservation and Restoration of 1720s Summer Kitchen, Ice House and Smokehouse

The Amazing Race Logo

May 23, 2015, KING GEORGE, VIRGINIA. Belle Grove Plantation, historic site and the birthplace of James Madison, fourth president of the United States, author of the Bill of Rights and the acknowledged “Father of the Constitution”, hosted their second annual “President Madison’s Birthday Dinner and Social Event.

Established in 1670 on the banks of the Rappahannock River in King George Country as a tobacco plantation, Belle Grove has played a part in the nation’s history, starting with James Madison’s birth, and continuing through the civil war when it became a resting place for the regiment pursuing John Wilkes Booth after Abraham Lincoln’s murder in the Ford Theatre.

Since the civil war, Belle Grove Plantation has been privately owned, and over time fell into severe disrepair. With the 1791 mansion restored in 1997 by the Haas/ Belle Grove Corporation, Brett and Michelle Darnell opened Belle Grove Plantation as a luxury bed and breakfast, special event venue and tourist attraction in August 2013. One of the Darnell’s visions for Belle Grove is to bring living history to the public.

On July 18, 2015, Belle Grove hosted Amazing Race Belle Grove Plantation 2015 as a fund raiser to restore and preserve the 1720 Summer Kitchen, Ice House and Smokehouse. Last year’s July 4th fund raiser, Red, White and Blues with the Alexis P. Suter Band raised $662 for this project. Since then, Michelle and Brett Darnell have located a Amish contractor that will be doing the restoration work. The cost of restoration of the Summer Kitchen and Smokehouse will be $20,000. With the Ice House, their goal is to raise $30,000.

The Amazing Race Belle Grove 2015 will see teams of four racing from Belle Grove Plantation down the Northern Neck to Warsaw and back. They will be required to stop at ten local businesses and historic sites to complete a challenge to earn points. Along the way, they will be give other opportunities to make more points to build their score. The event will end back at Belle Grove Plantation with a Finish Line Celebration and Award Ceremony. Trophies for first, second and third will be awarded as well as “Best Dress Team” and “Best Location Stop”.

The Darnell’s are looking for teams of four to sign up for this event. Friends or Co-Workers are encourage to join this exciting event and to prove that they can hang throughout the race. Local business and historic sites are also encouraged to join in the fun. To register your team, register as a local stop or to get more information on this event, please visit Belle Grove Plantation’s website at and look for the Amazing Race page at the top of the home page.

Belle Grove Plantation is in the process of completing their 501C Non-Profit for the Belle Grove Plantation Historic Site. It will be through this Non-Profit that Belle Grove Plantation will preserve, restore, maintain and educated the public about the history of Belle Grove Plantation from the birthplace of James Madison to life on a Southern Plantation for children and school groups. Through the Non-Profit, Belle Grove Plantation will is fund archeological digs to discover Belle Grove Plantation’s past. While Belle Grove Plantation is in the process of completing their 501C Non-Profit, at this time, donations may not be tax deductible.

Michelle Darnell said about the Amazing Race Belle Grove Plantation 2015,

Since arriving at Belle Grove Plantation in 2013, we have long wanted to restore the Summer Kitchen, Ice House and Smokehouse. This priceless pieces of history have slowly deteriorated before our eyes. The Smokehouse is currently without walls on two sides and is standing only on its studs. The Summer Kitchen, which is half kitchen, half slave quarters has been sliding off its foundation and is losing exterior bead boards as well as the brick nogging on the interior. It is our hope to restore and preserve these outbuilding for future generations to see.”

“We hope that we will be able to establish a small museum inside the Summer Kitchen to house all the artifacts that have been found through our effects of uncovering the past. The kitchen side would house the artifacts as well as the history of the plantation and the families. The slave quarters side would become a historic display of life for the enslaved people of the plantation as well as a memorial for these slaves we have been able to uncover through our research.”

“These outbuildings were standing on the plantation when President Madison was born here. These buildings are 295 years old and we would like to see them last for another 295 years.”

Belle Grove Plantation continues to not only bring Living History to the plantation, but to provide opportunities to connect and support the local community. Future public special events may be viewed in detail on their website at Belle Grove Plantation provides public and private events such as dinners, luncheons and weddings. For more information on these and other events or gathering, please contact Belle Grove Plantation via email at or call directly at 540-621-7340.

Belle Grove Plantation is located at:

9221 Belle Grove Drive King George, Virginia 22485 – King George County

For more information, contact Michelle Darnell, 540-621-7340, . Please visit our web site at

Pictures of the 1720 Summer Kitchen, Ice House and Smokehouse



















Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Events | Comments Off on Press Release – The Amazing Race Belle Grove Plantation 2015

Comments are closed.