Archive for the 'Events' Category

A Love Story – Morgan and Eugene’s Wedding – Guest Blogger – Morgan Hockensmith

Aug. 15th 2015

From mixed tapes every birthday to poems on gas station receipts, the story of Morgan and Eugene is a sonnet of love. A love brought together by music, getting caught in the rain, a Grandmother’s love and a little Dave Grohl. Morgan and Eugene, thank you for letting us play a part in your song.

Venue: Belle Grove Plantation

Coordinator: Brides of Belle Grove Plantation

Catering: Caroline Street Catering

Florist: The Floral Palette

Rentals: Paisley & Jade

Cake: Cakes in Art

Stationary: Beloved Paper

Hair: Carter Hair Design

Makeup: Kimberly Slagle

Photography: Hockensmith Portraits









































Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Events | Comments Off on A Love Story – Morgan and Eugene’s Wedding – Guest Blogger – Morgan Hockensmith

Press Release – The Amazing Race Belle Grove Plantation 2015

May. 23rd 2015

================ 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

New Years Eve Murder at Belle Grove Plantation

Jan. 3rd 2015


January 2, 2015

View our video on YouTube –

KING GEORGE, VIRGINIA – New Year’s Eve started off as a peaceful day as we prepared for the coming the New Year. We had hoped 2014 would quietly slip away and 2015 would herald a great beginning. Sadly this wasn’t to be for us. By the time the ball dropped and 2015 arrived, we would experience a “murder” at Belle Grove Plantation.

At 7:00pm on Wednesday, December 31, 2014, Belle Grove Plantation turned into Devonshire Manor in the quiet town of Pinehorn. Like Belle Grove, Devonshire Manor is an 18th century mansion on the outskirts of town. It had been owned by the wealthy Devonshire family and is a legendary estate to the citizens of Pinehorn. In their day, the Devonshires were beloved, and treated as royalty, as they owned more than half of the businesses in town.

The Devonshire Manor, like Belle Grove’s mansion, has exquisite architectural features, albeit weathered throughout the years. Weeds and high grass have long since replaced the flowering shrubs and ornamental trees that adorned the property in its day. The remaining Devonshire lineage passed away in the early 1900’s, leaving their estate in the hands of the town of Pinehorn. The townspeople have neglected to keep up with the place, mostly due to the legend that the Devonshires still roam the corridors at night.

The mayor of Pinehorn has made it her quest to remodel and reinstate the Devonshire Manor as a historical bed and breakfast. She believes that the old estate can generate tourism and an income for the town of Pinehorn. Most of the townspeople stand behind her, although a few people are adamantly against her pursuit – stating that the place is haunted and should be left alone.

The mayor cleaned up the dusty cobwebs and hosted a fundraiser bash for the townspeople of Pinehorn. She had hoped to raise enough funds for her remodeling endeavors.

The list of guests saw many of the prominent people of Pinehorn. By the nights end, one of these guests would lay dead on the floor of the library and the rest of the townspeople would all fall under suspicion.

Dakota Green, a college student arrived first along with Parker Tankus, a guitarist with the band, Armpit Anguish. Dakota is a nerdy math major at Pinehorn University. You can find Dakota spending most of her time at the library reading or tutoring students to earn a living.

Parker is a bit antisocial and has been known to have some severe anger management issues. He tends to be extremely judgmental of others and is somewhat of a germaphobe. Rumor also has it that he is considering a break with the band to start his own solo career.

Ashton and Reese Harvery arrived next at the manor. Ashton is a web designer and Reese is a muscle bound personal training. Ashton has created many of the websites for the businesses in Pinehorn. He is a dedicated friend and is ready to lend a hand. Reese, on the other hand is a recovering school bully. She spent most of her time in school scaring the student body. But she has recently seen the error of her ways and has been working hard to change. Ashton and Reese live together and spend most of their time playing video games.

While we aren’t sure when she arrived, Peyton Crownly must have split in behind our backs. Peyton is the peculiar receptionist at the Pinehorn Dental Office. The only way we knew she was here was her ear bending whistling. As a constant whistler, you always know she is around. And even if she isn’t whistling, you can still sense her being there by her uncomfortable stares. Though her periods of silence can make her seem unfriendly, she has surprised many of the townspeople with sculptures of her own making.

JackieDr Feathers
Last to arrive were Jackie Bean and Dr. Furen Feathers. Jackie is the Chief Financial Officer at the largest corporation in town, Greeto Lay Potato Chips, Inc. Jackie is a very friendly kind of fellow however you have to be a little concerned by his continuing rants about governmental conspiracies. Jackie believes the government is always watching and listening. He has discovered that putting tin foil on certain items will block the listening devices used by the government.

Dr. Feathers is the newest person in Pinehorn and certainly the most annoying. She has to always “one up” anyone else’s experiences. As the town’s new veterinarian, Dr. Feather has already made an enemy of Reese Harvey. Reese took her beloved sick snake to Dr. Feathers only hours later to have that snake die under the doctor’s care.

Just as the cocktail hour started, Officer Nelson of the Pinehorn Police Department arrived. This crabby, introverted police officer is the most highly decorated officer of the police department though most think he achieved this through intimidation. Lucky for us he was at the party this evening. Who knew that would need his services, for what they are worth, by the evenings end.

Officer Nelson

After cocktails, Officer Nelson took the townspeople around the manor to show off his knowledge of Devonshire. Moving room from room and deep into the explanation of the architectural features, little did he or others notice the coming and going of some of the townspeople. While upstairs with most of the group, Parker could be heard screaming down in the library for everyone.

As everyone came into the library, gasps could be heard as Peyton lay on the floor…. Dead.

Explanations started flying as each of the guest told of what they knew and where they were. None claimed to be anywhere near Peyton. Arriving on the scene were several detectives, who all started questioning the guests. While questioning went on, Officer Nelson received a preliminary forensic report from one of his officers. This report, while helpful in some ways, pointed the finger of suspense at several of the guests.

The group retired to the formal dining room for a break and time to question each other. Who knew that Peyton was spying on everyone in town? Who was sending out the blackmail notes? All the questions were interrupted by the appearance of Peyton’s ghost. Devonshire Manor really is haunted!

After much questioning, finally the guest list came clean. Each stood up and explained their reasoning for not liking Peyton as well as their regrets of actions they had committed.

Finally, the guilty party stood up and confessed to the crime.

The guilty party was …..

Now I can’t tell you the answer! Who knows we might want to play this murder mystery again!

Thank you to all who attended our first Murder Mystery. It was a lot of fun as each of our guests brought their great acting skills. And we can’t leave out of group of detectives! They would make any Law and Order detective look bad with their very detailed questions!
If you missed out on this Murder Mystery, don’t worry. With the success of this event, we have decided to have more throughout 2015! Watch our website and facebook page for coming Murder Mystery events!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Events | 1 Comment »

1st Wine Festvial

Oct. 20th 2014

This weekend was another first for Belle Grove Plantation!


We played host to the Hanover with Brunswick Wine Festival. This was a first for both the Parrish and us.  This Wine Festival was a fund-raising event for Hanover with Brunswick Parrish to continue to support area food banks (Fredericksburg Food Pantry and King George Love Thy Neighbor), out reach programs that provide meals for the homeless at the Fredericksburg Thurman Brisben Center, and support to Empower House for Domestic Violence. Part of their mission provides all five King George area schools funding that guarantees a lunch for children who cannot pay. Funds will also help Hanover with Brunswick to continue supporting the King George Opportunity Shop that provides outreach support to the community as well as supporting other organizations who benefit from this work. Funds will also help to offset the costs of restoring, conserving, and enhancing the churches within Hanover with Brunswick Episcopal Parrish.

emmanuel 46245crop  640

You may remember Emmanuel Episcopal Church, the church located at the entrance of Belle Grove Plantation. This is one of the three churches within this Parrish. The other two are St. John’s and Lambs Creek. Lambs Creek was built first in 1769. The inside of this church was destroyed by the Union Army during the Civil War. They removed the wood seating and burned the wood as firewood. The inside of the church was then used as a horse stable. St John’s is the mother church and was built in 1843. Emmanuel’s property was originally part of Belle Grove Plantation. One acre was donated in 1859 by Carolinus Turner. The church was built and opened in 1860.

During the Wine Festival, Belle Grove and Emmanuel opened their doors to the public for tours in the afternoon. Belle Grove is opened daily, but Emmanuel is not open except by appointment only. The public had a chance to see the original organ and to stand where families from Belle Grove worshipped since 1860.




The wine at the festival was flowing as attendees enjoyed the sights and sounds of Belle Grove. General’s Ridge Winery, Ingleside Vineyards and Oak Crest Winery were pouring their Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail vino for the lucky attendees at the festival.










Vendors from around King George County also came out to support this fundraising effort. Three food vendors brought their food trucks and offered food from Gourmet to Greek to just “Grub” to snack on.


The event finished up with the band “Save the Arcadian” playing their Indie and Folk Music with Belle Grove Plantation’s mansion all a glow.








We would like to thank Hanover with Brunswick for allowing us to be apart of this special event! We would also like to thank the vendors for coming and sharing their products and services with our guests. We would also like to thank those who came for the tours, wine, food and music! We appreciate all the support!


We would like to give a great big thank you to Lana! She along with her partners put in a lot of work to bring this together! She and her partners are to be commended for their efforts and for the wonderful time everyone had!

If you would like to help Hanover with Brunswick with their outreach efforts, please consider sending a donation to them. You can send your donation to:

St Johns Church

PO Box 134

King George, Virginia 22485


Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Events | 1 Comment »