Decking the Halls

Dec. 14th 2013

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This year will be our first Christmas at the plantation. We are having several events here during December so it was important for us to dress the mansion in style. After giving it a lot of thought, we decided to go back into the history of the mansion to find a way to dress it as it had been in years past.

In a past blog, I talked about Christmas in Colonial Days. When we think of Colonial Period Christmas, one thought always comes to mind… Colonial Williamsburg. Now before you say anything about their decorations, I want you to know I love visiting Colonial Williamsburg anytime during the year. But during the Christmas season, a visit to Colonial Williamsburg is just one of those special times that really helps us get into the Christmas Spirit. But yes, I know they use fruit in their decorations, which is something that would not have been done in the Colonial Period. But it is still just beautiful. So I knew I wanted to go in that direction with our decorations.

I did have a guide of sorts from Belle Grove Plantation’s past. In January, 1906, a newspaper article from the Daily Star gave us a glance into what Christmas was like for the Thornton Family and Belle Grove Plantation.

Daily Star


Article Text

When we started looking into decorating the house, I knew my talents were never going to get us far. I can make a dinner plate into a work of art, but don’t ask me to arrange flowers or make a swag. It just wouldn’t be pretty. So our search began . . . I knew I wanted someone from the local area to help us. Using local talent is important to us, not just because is supports our community, but because most of the families in the area have been here for many generations. These families, whether they know it or not, have connections to the plantation. So for me, it is like bringing the “spirit” of the past back to the mansion.


After several weeks of searching, we met with a wonderful lady named Cindy. She came to us from Bowling Green, Virginia which is about 15 miles from us. She is the owner of a wonderful craft store called “Cindy’s Corner”. In this store, you can find many other talents ladies who range from floral designers to woodworkers. ¬†Cindy and several of these ladies came to meet with us with the understanding that they were going to just decorate one room. But by the time they left, they had committed to decorating the whole house . . . ¬†inside and out!

After only two weeks, they arrived the Saturday after Thanksgiving to start decorating. Cindy and the ladies knew we wanted to keep it as ‘Colonial’ as possible. That meant that they had to go into wooded areas and cut fresh greens and hollies to make our window swags. They even found a wonderful center point for the swags with Osage Oranges. How unique that was!! They pruned our Southern Magnolia trees to use the leaves in our decorations.

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After just in a few days, they turned our mansion into a festive place that hearkens back to days gone by.


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Brett and I would like to thank each of the ladies for all their hard work and for giving of their talents to help us make our first Christmas at the plantation very special.

Cindy's Corner

100 South Main Street

Bowling Green, Virginia 22427


Please help us show our appreciation to these ladies by stopping by their store when in the area or by going to their facebook page and giving them a “like” or leave a comment.

Thank you to Cindy and the ladies at Cindy’s Corner!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 4 Comments »