Update to the Virtual Housewarming Party

Jul. 19th 2013


The library is starting to fill up. It is so wonderful to see the shelves with such great books on them! We want to thank everyone that has sent books to our historic library! It has meant so much to us!

But we aren’t done yet!

We still have several shelves left and sadly the James Madison section is really looking empty compared to the other sections. General Interest is starting to over flow. I can’t even reach the upper shelves to place the new arrivals there!

If you have any books or would like to donate some of our Wish List Books, please send them to us at:

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

9221 Belle Grove Drive

King George, Virginia 22485

Please don’t forget to inscribe them with your name, state or country and the date so we can make it a part of this beloved plantations history!

We would like to break each section down to catalogs.

Here is what they are:


Books that James Madison would have had in his library – These are books that James Madison would have had to read in his personal library. See the Wish List below for books that Montpelier recommended for this section.


Books on the Founding Fathers (and Mothers) and the Constitution – These are books that are about the great men and women who help form America. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, Martha Washington, Dolley Madison and on. We would also like to have books on the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.


Books on the military events and American History – Since Belle Grove’s history spans every period in American history, we would like this section to have books about the periods in American History. Of course the American Revolution and Civil Wars touched Belle Grove because they happened here, we would like to have several on these. But we would also like to have the rest too because it would have touched each family in some way.


Books on Virginia and American Life – These books would talk about life in Virginia and in America. Send us a book about your great state or your favorite Virginia sights.


General Interest Books – These can be of any interest. Fact or Fiction. Good stories that you think people would like to read. You may also like to send us a copy of a book you have had published.

A Couple of Requests

Because these books are going to be placed in this historic home, we would like to acknowledge you for making this donation to our library. In the front of the book, we ask that you place the following information:

“This book was donated to Belle Grove Plantation by (your name) from (City, State and Country) on (date) to help complete their library.”

This will help us preserve your place in our history.

We would also like to request that your book be a hardback book that isn’t too large. If the book is too large, it may not fit on the shelf. Paperback books are nice and inexpensive, but as people read them, they get worn over time. We would like your book to last as long as possible.

Books we already have

The Asent of George Washington – John Ferling

Madison Writings – Jack N. Rakove

A Slave in the White House – Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

The Debate on the Constitution – Bernard Barilyn

James Madison – Garry Wills

War at Our Doors – Rebecca Campbell Light

Images of America Virginia Presidential Homes – Patrick L. O’Neill

Places I Have Known Along the Rappahannock River – Beverley C Pratt

Come Retribution – William A Tidwell

A Perfect Union – Catherine Allgor

Gordonsville Virginia – William H.B. Thomas

Orange Virginia – William H.B. Thomas

Dearest Friend  A Life of Abigail Adams – Lynne Withey

Patriots of the UpCountry – William H.B. Thomas

The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas

Dolores Claiborne – Stephen King

The Dead Zone – Stephen King

Pet Sematary – Stephen King

The Tommyknockers – Stephen King

Diana Her True Story – Andrew Morton

Memoris of a Geisha – Arthur Golden

Favorite Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne – The Scarlet Letter and The House of Seven Gables

Selected Poems – Walt Whitman

Autobiography – Benjamin Franklin

The Law of War and Peace – Hugo Grotius

Fathers and Sons – Iva S. Turgenev

Five Great Dialogues – Plato

On the Nature of Things – Lucretius

Essays and New Atlantis – Francis Bacon

Paradise Lost and Other Poems – John Milton

Anne Boleyn – Anthony Crowell

Selected Lives and Essays – Plutarch

Discourses – Epictetus

Utopia – Thomas More

The Iliad – Homer

On Man in the Universe – Aristotle

Jake Lingle – John Boettiger

The Letters of Madame – Volume I and II – Gertrude Scott Stevenson

100 Dastardly Little Detective Stories – Weinberg, Dziemianowicz, and Greenberg

Best Little Stories of Virginia – C Brian Kelly

Titanic – Colonel Archibald Gracie

Rhett Butler’s People – Donald McCaig

The Gold of Exodus – Howard Blum

The Sum of All Fears – Tom Clancy

Faith of our Founding Fathers – Tim LaHaye

Gun – A Visual History – Dr. Chris McNab

American Soldier – General Tommy Franks

Wild at Heart – John Eldredge

How Did You Do It, Truett – S. Truett Cathy

Gettysburg – Newt Gingrich and William R Forstchen

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All – Allan Gurganus

Me My County My God – Dr. C Thomas Anderson and Don Enevoldsen

Lincoln on Leadership – Donald T. Phillips

The Civil War Battlefield Guide – The Conservation Fund – Frances H Kennedy

Gettysburg  An Alternate History – Peter G. Tsouras

Leadership Lessons of Robert E. Lee – Bil Holton

Run to the Roar – A Fable of Choice, Courage and Hope – J. Randy Forbes

His Excellency George Washington – Joseph J Ellis

Dear Catherine, Dear Taylor – The Civil War letters of a Union Soldier and his Wife – Richard L Kiper

Debt of Honor – Tom Clancy

Tale of a Tiger – R.T. Smith

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger – David Gregory

Command Attention – Col. Keith Oliver USMC (Ret)

Leadership Excellence – Pat Williams with Jim Denney

War – Sebastian Junger

How – Why HOW we do anything means everything – Dov Seidman

Psalm 91- Peggy Joyce Ruth

Team of Rivals – Doris Kearns Goodwin

No Higher Honor – Condoleezza Rice

Extreme Dreams Depend on Teams – Pat Williams

The Ambition – Lee Strobel

Secrets of the Millonaire Mind – T. Harv Eker

Rembrandt – The Old Testament – Thomas Nelson Publishers

Rembrandt – Life of Christ – Thomas Nelson Publishers

Profiles in Courage – John F. Kennedy

Lady Bird – Jan Jarboe Russell

Dawn’s Early Light – Elswyth Thane

Ronald Reagan and the American Ideal – Steve Penley

Jane Austen’s Persuasion – Jane Austen

Back in the Day – Michael Powell

Enough Good Men – Charles Mercer

Presidential Campaigns – Paul Boller Jr

To Make a Nation – Samuel H. Beer

Turning the World Upside Down – John Tebbel

Washington’s Crossing – David Hackett Fishcher

I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, A Novel of Lewis and Clark – Brian Hall

Undaunted Courage – Stephen E. Ambrose

Legion of the Lost – Jaime Salazar

The American Patriots Almanac – William J. Bennett & John T.F. Cribb

Almost A Miracle – John Ferling

Hurricane of Independence – Tony Williams

The Bold & Magnigicent Dream – Bruce Catton & William B Catton

One Day of Civil War, April 10, 1863 – Robert L Willett Jr.

Grant – William S. McFeely

The Bedford Introduction to Literature – Michael Meyer

A Man on the Moon – Apollo Astronauts – Andrew Chaikin

Einstein – Walter Issacson

Atlas of the World

Law in America – American Hertiage

Don’t Stop the Carnival – Herman Wouk

The Hunt for Red October – Tom   Clancy

At Dawn We Slept – Untold Stories of Pearl Harbor – Gordon W. Prange

The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown

The National Geographic Society – 100 years of Adventure and Discovery

Civil War Parks – The Story Behind the Scenery

Life (or something like it) at Mallard High – Greg Martini and Lisa Chelkowski

James Madison – Champion of Liberty and Justice – John P. Kaminski

Slavery at the Home of George Washington – Philip J. Schwarz

50 States of Amercia  – Rosanna Hansen and Jan Bloom

Slaver and Freedom in the Age of the American Revolution – Ira Berlin and Ronald Hoffman

The Negro in 18th Century Williamsburg – Thad W. Tate

Race and Revolution – Gary B. Nash

The Federalist – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

Madison and Jefferson – Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg

Just Added!

Thank you James Madison Museum from Orange, Virginia!

Check them out at



Civil War Letters of Major (Chaplain) James McDonald Campbell – James McDonald Campbell

Thank you Greg and Karen from Williamsburg, Virginia!

Don Quxote – Miguel De Cervantes

Our Times – The Twenties – Mark Sullivan

Thank you Alexandria Quaker Meeting from Alexandria, Virginia!

Take Our Advice: A Handbook for Gardening in Northern Virginia – Margaret Fisher & Friends

Thank you Grand Lodge of Virginia – Colonial Beach Lodge #199 from Colonial Beach, Virginia!

The American Revolution and the Craft – I. Lewis Langley

Thank you Katherine from Alexandria, Virginia!

Keep What you Earn – Terry Coxon

See I Told You So – Rush Limbaugh

A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-Central North American – Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny

Island in the Sun – Alec Waugh

Miss Manners – Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior – Judith Martin

The Best and the Brightest – David Halberstam

Pentagon – Allen Drury

The Family – The Real Story of The Bush Dynasty – Kitty Kelley

Personal History – Katharine Graham

The Rivalr – Mystery at The Army-Navy Game – John Feinstein

Home Front – Patti Davis with Maureen Strange Foster

Meditations – Marcus Aurelius

A Field Guide to the Birds – Eastern Land and Water Birds – Roger Tor Peterson

Washington Behind Closed Doors – John Ehrlichman

The Puzzle Palace – James Bamford

The James River in Richmond – John Bryan

Virginia Living – February 2011

Virginia Living – April 2011

Old Town Crier – January 2013

O Zahir – Paulo Coelho

The New York Times Magazine – June 2013

The Living White House – White House Historical Association

Biblia Sagrada – Nova Traducao and Na Linguagem De Hoje

Dear Socks, Dear Buddy – Hillary Rodham Clinton

The Wit and Wisdom of the Royal Family – Marianne Sinclair and Sarah Litvinoff

New Complete Guide to Executive Manners – Letitia Baldrige

The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving – Dawn Bryan

Whitehall – Peter Hennessy

The Book of Virtues – William J Bennett

Ike – An American Hero – Michael Korda

Dearest Friend – A Life of Abigail Adams – Lynne Withey

Harry S. Truman – Margaret Truman

An Imperfect God – Henry Wiencek

God and Ronald Reagan – Paul Kengor

Lincoln – Jan Morris

The Diplomacy of The American Revolution – Samuel Flagg Bemis

Simon Bolivar – Gerhard Masur

Thank you Debbie from Puyallup,Washington!

Treasure Island – Robert Lewis Stevenson

The Wit and Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln – Anthony Gross

Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte

Frankenstien – Mary Shelley

Twice- Told Tales – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Four Shakespeare Plays – William Shakespeare

Wish List

These are books we would like to have for the library.



Adams, John Defence of the Constitutions
Burns, Robert Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect
Crevecoeur, J. Hector St. John de Letters from an American Farmer
Filson, John Discovery, Settlement, & Present State of Kentucky
Gibbon, Edward History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
A. Hamilton, J. Jay, and J. Madison The Federalist – RECEIVED!
Jefferson, Thomas Notes on the State of Virginia
Ledyard, John Journal of Captain Cook’s Last Voyage to the Pacific Ocean
Locke, John Treatises on Government
Longacre, James Barton National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans
Montesquieu The Spirit of the Laws
Morse, Jedidiah Geography Made Easy
Shakespeare, William Hamlet
Plato The Republic
Raleigh, Sir Walter History of the World
Ramsay, David History of the American Revolution
Vattell, Emerich de The Law of Nations
Warville, J.P. Brissot de The Commerce of America with Europe

 Books about Madison

Ketcham, Ralph James Madison: A Biography
Banning, Lance The Sacred Fire of Liberty: James Madison and the founding of the Federal Republic
Brookhiser, Richard James Madison
Burstein, Andrew and Nancy Isenberg Madison and Jefferson – RECEIVED!
Madison, James Notes of Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787
Mattern, David and H. Schulman The Selected Letters of Dolley Payne Madison
Mattern, David B. James Madison’s Advice to My Country
Rakove, Jack James Madison and the Creation of the American Republic
Stagg, J.C.A. Mr. Madison’s War: Politics, Diplomacy, & Warfare in the Early American Republic
Wood, Gordon Empire of Liberty

To see what we are up to at Belle Grove Plantation

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 10 Comments »

The Great American Small Town Diner

Jul. 12th 2013

You know as Brett and I prepared to open Belle Grove Plantation, we have worked hard to “research” places to eat for our guests. Yes, it is a true “hardship” to go to these fabulous restaurants and sample all these great foods. But we do it for the good of our guests. And nothing is too good for them!

But during the week, while I am here alone, I like to go to one of the local diners for breakfast. It gives me a chance to enjoy seeing and talking with others. Not that I don’t get visitors at the plantation. But this is a little more laid back and casual. And since I will be cooking others breakfast soon, it is nice to have someone make it for me now.

I started out going to a place located in Port Royal called Hornes. It is a landmark diner on the corner of Route 17 and Route 301. The staff there is wonderful and the food is good. But I found another place that I have been drawn back to over and over again.

Howards Store Front

This little diner is called Howard’s Bakery and Restaurant. It is located in King George (about 5 or 10 minutes away from Belle Grove) along Route 3. Now I tried to do some research on the history of Howard’s, but of course there isn’t much on the internet about it. What I did find is that it had changed hands a few times over the past 40 plus years. It once was called Clift’s and then Shirley’s and now Howard’s.


To see it today, you wouldn’t give it a second glance.  The outside isn’t flashy and it is saddled up next to a car garage. But as Brett and I have learned through our travels, looks can be very deceiving.

Howards table

Inside you will find what you would expect of a small town diner. Booths, tables and a lunch counter in a small room. No fancy decorations and no frills. The only decorations for July is the banner of American Flags hanging in the front windows and the paper party decorations for the 4th of July.

Howards Frieda

I have come to know the staff at Howard’s and they have come to know me. I come in and have a sit and they walk over with my morning beverage before I even sit down. Talk about a good memory! Then they ask me if I am going to have the same breakfast as last time, which I always seem to do. Then she starts writing it down as she repeats each items from before. It is as if I just ordered it! You think about the number of faces they see and to remember a single order is just amazing! How many places in the larger cities do you know that remember you name, let alone your order from two or three days before!

Howards Bar

Over time, I have come to understand the back lunch counter is where it is at. Howard’s isn’t just a diner that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is where the locals come to meet and talk. It reminds me of the coffee houses and taverns in Colonial America. This is where the citizens of our new country would go to get news of what was going on. That holds true to Howard’s. One of the first times I came in, just after moving up in April, I was at the lunch counter to pay for my breakfast. There sat two gentlemen enjoying their meal. As I stood waiting for the cashier, one of the gentleman asked me how the bed and breakfast was coming. Now mind you, I have never met this person before, never seen him, and yet he knew who I was and what I was doing in King George. I am learning that news and gossip travels faster here than on Headline News television.

Today, almost every time I go in, I see someone that I know or meet someone new. I hear about what is going on in King George as I sit alone in my booth enjoying my breakfast. You can’t help but eavesdrop in a room this size. But I see the same faces almost every time. And believe it or not, it is comforting. It is great to know that Small Town America is still alive and well. That a  pleasant “hello” from a stranger is a sincere greeting and that stranger won’t be a stranger for long.

Yes, Howard’s food is good. Best Down Home Cooking you can wrap your lips around. But it isn’t just the food, its the people inside that makes this place somewhere you don’t want to miss. Cracker Barrel doesn’t have anything on this Small Town Diner.

To see more places we have been

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 30 Comments »