New Breakfast Dishes

Oct. 19th 2013

If you have been following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you have already seen these dishes.

But I wanted to share them with everyone else!

We have added two new dishes to our Breakfast Menu!

Raspberry Parfait with Greek Yogurt and Graham Cracker at Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Raspberry Parfait

Greek Yogurt, Graham Cracker, Raspberry Preserves and Fresh Raspberries

Belle Grove Plantation Eggs Benedict withCream Cheese Scrambled Eggs and Virignia Ham in Puff Pastry on Roasted Asparagus with Fresh Hollandaise Sauce at Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Belle Grove Plantation Eggs Benedict

This is an twist to the traditional Eggs Benedict. It is Cream Cheese and Scallion Scrambled Eggs and Virginia Ham in a Puff Pastry Shell seated on Roasted Asparagus and topped with Fresh Hollandaise Sauce.

To see more of the dishes we prepare, you can check out our Breakfast Menu on our website.

If you would like to see up to the minute dishes, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | Comments Off on New Breakfast Dishes

Our Next Event is Creeping Up on You!

Oct. 16th 2013

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast Spooky Ghost Story and Fog

As I drove down the lane, a thick fog seemed to be blowing in from the fields.  It was a dark night, darker than I had ever seen before.  Generally I can see the glow of the mansion’s lights at the entry, but tonight the thick curtain of fog only gives me just a few feet to view.

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast Spooky Ghost Story and Fog

As I passed under the Red Cedar trees that line the lane, I got a creepy feeling that many eyes were watching me. Could it be the soldiers that may have been in camped here during the Civil War? I almost expected a soldier to step out from behind a tree.

The wind that blew in the fog was a soft and gentle wind that moved the tree branches just slightly. Or was it the hands of the unseen moves branches for a better view? Were they standing there watching as I headed to the mansion?

Suddenly the two small white posted appeared from nowhere. It was almost startling. As they came into view, you could almost image two figures standing there, waiting… and watching. Had they been replaced with guardians cursed to stand picket for eternity? I found myself looking at them closer than I had ever looked before. And even as I pass them, still the mansion wasn’t in view. Where are the lights? I know I left lights on.

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast Spooky Ghost Story and Fog

I curved around the long driveway heading to my space in the parking area. Here the fog seemed to get thicker. And still I can’t see the mansion. Surely I should be able to see the lights. I curved around to my space and to my relief the security light’s motion detector turned on the light. I knew it wouldn’t stay on long. It would turn off soon. So I hurried to get my things and get out of the car.

Just as I stepped out, a bag fell from my grasp and spilled onto the ground. My mind raced as I quickly gathered the items and shoved them into another bag. The whole time, my mind is saying, “Hurry, the light is going to go out.”

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast Spooky Ghost Story and Fog

I rose up and started walking, almost running from my car. And then it happened. The light went out. All I could hear in my mind was… No!

“Okay, I can do this”, my mind tried to reason. Sure I can. I have walked this way hundreds if not thousands of times. “Just start walking”, my mind said. But my feet didn’t want to obey. What if I bump into something? What if there are people just standing on the edge of my view, ready to reach out and touch me, grab me… pull me into the dark fog never to be seen again.

“Stop it” my mind screamed. “You are being stupid!” You know this place; know it as if you have been here all your life. There isn’t anything here that will hurt you.” my mind reasoned with me. Okay feet, start moving. And then my feet took a step.

Crunch went the gravel under my feet as my eyes strained to see the lights from the mansion. Crunch, crunch, crunch… my feet took up a reassuring rhyme. Then I finally saw it… light. Just a faint glow, but it was there. I’m almost there. Crunch, crunch, crunch… same rhyme. The light seems to get stronger with each step.

Crunch, crunch, crunch… crunch/crunch. What is this? Did my feet add in some extra steps? I stopped and listened. Not a sound. Okay, it’s just my head playing games with me. I start walking again. Crunch, crunch, crunch… crunch/crunch. Now wait a minute. I know I’m not hearing things. I know I am hearing extra steps. Okay, it has to be because the fog is so thick. The sound is echoing off the fog. That has to be it. I start walking again.

In my mind, I keep telling myself, “Just walk towards the light. It will get brighter and it will give you some comfort.” Crunch, crunch, crunch… crunch/crunch. Under my breathe, I don’t know if it is out of fear or just getting feed up, I say aloud, “Stop it.” I wait, listen and hold my breath. Not a sound. I’m going crazy, I know it.

I start moving again. The light is getting brighter. I can almost see the door. Crunch, crunch, crunch… no extra sounds. Yes, I can see the door, I think. Crunch, crunch, crunch… I think I can see inside the mansion. Crunch, crunch, crunch… crunch/crunch.

I stopped and held my breath again. Did I hear it again? What is going on? What is making the extra sounds! I just want it to stop. I start walking again. Crunch, crunch, crunch… crunch/crunch/crunch/crunch. This time it sounds close. I can’t take it anymore. I turn and yell, “Stop it! I don’t want to play.”

And there it was. From the light reflecting on the thick fog, I could see the outline of a shadow. It was taller than me, so I knew it wasn’t my shadow casting against the fog from light of the mansion. I quickly turned and rushed up the sidewalk and took the steps two at a time.

As I stood on the porch, fumbling with my keys to open the door, the light of the mansion bathed me in a warm reassurance. In what seemed like forever, the key finally turned the bolt and I was inside.

Belle Grove Plantation and Southeastern Virginia Paranormal Investigation with Laine Crosby Event on October 25th, 26th and 31st. Paranormal Ghost Hunts, Workshop and Medium Event.


October’s Event for Belle Grove Plantation will be a Paranormal Workshop and Ghost Hunt. We will have three spooky nights of Ghost Hunting with a real Paranormal Investigative team! If you have ever wanted to be a Ghost Hunt like those you have seen on television, here is your chance! Equipment, video and recorders will be used to investigate Belle Grove Plantation. The Ghost Hunts will start at 8pm and end at 4am. You can Ghost Hunt on Friday, October 25th, Saturday, October 26th and for those who dare… Thursday, October 31st on Halloween. Space will be for just 25 people per night.

(Note – at this time – Saturday, October 26th Ghost Hunt has only 6 spaces left)

On Saturday, October 26th, Belle Grove Plantation will host a special all day Paranormal Workshop. The event will start at 10:30am with Special Guest Speaker, Laine Crosby, Medium Investigator. At 1:00pm, Special Hosts, Southeast Virginia Paranormal Investigations from Newport New will conduct special half hour classes on Paranormal Investigations.

Tickets are limited, so don’t wait until the last minute to get yours!

Please visit our Online Store at  for more information on the event and to purchase tickets.


Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | Comments Off on Our Next Event is Creeping Up on You!

Look who came to visit this morning at the plantation!

Oct. 16th 2013

This morning, I was up early to prepare breakfast for our overnight guests. As I was moving around the kitchen, I looked up as I always do to look out of our large window towards the river and the horizon. To my great surprise, there stood one of two twin deer. I ran from the kitchen to grab my camera. As I made it back to the kitchen, I noticed that she had moved over to the sun room just off the kitchen. There she stood just at my back door! It was as if she was thinking about coming in. It is the closest they have ever come to the mansion. It was just amazing!




She moved to the side of the mansion and joined her twin and grazed for a few minutes. I so much wanted a good shot of them as the grazed, so I quietly opened the door and stepped out. Just as I bent down to view them under the branches of the tree, I caught sight of their white tails as they bounded into the woods beside the house.


What a great start to the day!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | Comments Off on Look who came to visit this morning at the plantation!

Something is Cooking up with Stratford Hall and Belle Grove Plantation!

Oct. 10th 2013


Stratford Hall, home of Robert E. Lee and the Lee Family works with Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Stratford Hall, home of Robert E. Lee and the Lee Family will host a luncheon and lecture with

Farizia Lanza

on Saturday, November 16, 2013

Fabrizia Lanza to have lunch and lecture at Stratford Hall with discounted tickets for overnight guests from Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast

Chef Fabrizia Lanza

Sicilian Chef and Proprietor of the Case Vecchie Cooking School

“Fabrizia Lanza was born in Palermo on 8 March 1961. Feeling asphyxiated on the island, she left Sicily at 18 years old. She wanted to make her life outside of a protected and sheltered nest. She graduated with a literature degree in Art History and worked for twenty years in the museum world. Fabrizia went on to organize exhibits and to write, directing, at the end of her career, two small town museums in Feltre, located within the province of Belluno. At 45 she ended her life as an art historian and decided to move back to Sicily. Anna needed help, and Fabrizia’s food-impassioned roots were calling! The first step was to support Anna in Travel: Fabrizia set off for Delhi, Malta, London, Paris, New York, Boston, Philadelphia. Anna introduced Fabrizia to her American audience in 2007 and before long Fabrizia found herself speaking about Sicilian ritualistic foods at a conference at Boston University. Fabrizia slowly took matters into her own hands, helping Anna at the school, with travel, with the set up of school programs, with creating new contacts. Meanwhile, she was still studying and researching — Sicily is a continent in terms of culinary traditions, and some are still amazingly intact.

Fabrizia then went on to produce two small video documentaries on food cooked for the feast of St. Joseph and that of Saint Lucia. Then, in the company of two friends and botanical anthropologists, she began to study the Aeolian processes and created the foundations for what will become an archive of videos focusing on the techniques of foods in danger of extinction. She has filmed those elderly cooks who still knot, fry and knead their dough. Fabrizia has since begun to travel independently to the United States to produce events focusing on Sicilian cuisine in the best restaurants on the East and West Coast. These have included Alice Water’s Chez Panisse and Mario Batali’s restaurant, to mention only the most famous. Nowadays, Fabrizia receives and teaches young talented chefs at the school, teaches annually at the Masters in Gastronomy at Boston University, and hosts interns who work for her at her cooking school. She has published her first book “Olive, A Global History” with Reaktion UK in 2011 and her first cookbook, “Coming Home to Sicily”. She is also following in her mother’s footsteps in curating a “vegetable garden” of citrus and antique roses.”

Chef Lanza will give a lecture at 11:00am on Saturday, November 16, 2013 in th DuPont Library at Stratford Hall. Symbolic hors d’eouvres and wine to be served. At 12:30, lunch will be served in the Dining Room and will be followed by a book signing at 2:30pm. If you wish to take a tour of the Grand House, tours will be offered after the book signing. Chef Lanza’s book will be available in the gift shop.

The Menu for this luncheon is:


Sfincione – Palerrmitan Pizza


Minestra di Cavoloe – Spinach and Potato Soup with Fresh Mint and Parsley


Spezzatino di Agnelllo alla Menta – Stewed Lamb with Fresh Mint

Pasta Con Broccoli Arriminati – Pasta with Cauliflower, Pine Nuts and Currants


Insalata Verdi con Parmigiani a Sacaglie


Cassata – Sponge Cake with Ricotta Cream, Marizipan and Candied Fruit

Exciting News!

If you stay at Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast, you will receive discounted tickets to this event!!

You can book on our website or call us to check for availability and book over the phone!

Call 540-621-7340

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History, Food and Recipes | Comments Off on Something is Cooking up with Stratford Hall and Belle Grove Plantation!

A Revolution at Belle Grove Plantation

Oct. 10th 2013

On Tuesday we were honored to host

the Daughters of the Revolution

President James Madison of Montpelier visits Belle Grove Plantation and gives a presentation to the Daughters of the Revolution.

at Belle Grove Plantation!

We were also honored to have

President Madison

Presidet James Madison visits Belle Grove Plantation and gives a presentation to the Daughters of the Revolution.

return to Belle Grove Plantation to give a presentation to the group!

Thank you to all that attended!

It was a great honor to have you here!

To see more upcoming events at Belle Grove Plantation

Please visit our Event Calendar on our website


For up to the minute information

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | Comments Off on A Revolution at Belle Grove Plantation

And it just keeps coming!

Oct. 6th 2013

I am sorry, but I am a little behind in getting this out. I think I am still catching up on my sleep!

After my all night fun at the auction, I had a wonderful deliver to wake up to!


Gates Antiques arrived at 12:00pm

(I asked for a later delivery so I could sleep a bit)

with some of our last furniture.

Check out what wonderful things they brought me!


Finally our Grand Hall upstairs has somewhere for people to sit!


This settee is just like the one downstairs in the Grand Hallway.

We found them at two different times and there are just slight differences in them.


I just love this Victorian chair!

The arms of the chair just seem to wrap around you as you sit in it. All I need now is a couple of small tables, lamps and an area rug for this space! Of course a little decor would also make it just a cozy spot to curl up on a quiet afternoon at the plantation!


They also brought the two gold chairs we won at the auction on Thursday.

We weren’t sure which room we wanted to use them in; either Madison or Turner Master Suites. So it really helped seeing them in the spaces to get a good feel for which they worked best in. We tried the Madison Master Suite first, but these two chairs are just a little too dressy for the Madison Suite. I think we will need to find a more “Federal” style chair. I have been listening to “A Slave in the White House” by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor about Paul Jennings, James Madison’s Man Servant. In the book, she talks about an “English Chair” that Madison preferred in his old age. I would really like to figure out what that would look like and add it to the room. Of course we could always get a Campeche Chair like he used during his retirement. I will tell you more about this chair later. But we tried the gold chairs in the Turner Master Suite and I have to say they look wonderful there!

When Dolley Madison (Dr. Lynn Uzzle) was visiting the last time, she had suggested we build in a small seating area in the Turner Master Suite by the riverside windows. This would allow our guests to sit and read and gaze out at the beautiful river. I think I have to agree with Mrs. Madison. It is just what this room needed. I just need to get another small rug, small table and lamp to complete this area. And being that these two chairs are in a “French” style, I think Mrs. Madison will be pleased on her return.

And for those of you who have visited the plantation already, don’t worry about our wonderful settee from Baltimore! It will have a perfect space at the end of the bed once the chairs are done and returned. We do need to get the gold chairs reupholstered. I was talking to Jay Gates, of Gates Antiques, our lead designer. We are doing the Turner Master Suite in whites, golds and pinks, but I don’t want to use these colors on the chairs. We need to bring in a different color and pattern so we can brighten the room without over doing the pink and white. The area rug we have in there now is a pink with two shades of blue. So I asked for them to look for something that would pull out the blues in the rugs. I can’t wait to see what they will find.


They also delivered some of the items we won in the auction!


The small area rug found a space in our Ladies Parlor!


And the Presidential Gold Mirror, crack and all, arrived.


It has found a space over the English slant top desk in the Madison Master Suite.


I had the option to send it back and have them replace the bottom cracked mirror, but you know, I don’t think I am going to do that. It is just perfect with the original mirror in it. The details on the painted mirror are not ones that I would want to part with.

James Madison (John Douglas Hall) will be returning on Tuesday for a meeting here at Belle Grove Plantation. I can’t wait for him to see how wonderful the room is starting to look! I even got the wood mirror with the old Colonial style eagle placed next to the bed.


All I need to do now for the Madison Master Suite is get two portraits of James Madison and one of Dolley Madison. It has been really hard finding just the right ones. I have the two portraits of Madison I want and the one of Dolley, but the trouble is finding someone that can copy them without killing me in cost. And it has to be almost perfect because I am really picky about that. I have looked into maybe doing a photo on canvas of them. This method allows you to place the photograph on the canvas and make it look like a painting. This way I could get the exact copy I want without killing our budget. If anyone knows anything on this process, please let me know. I need input.

Our next deliver will be on Friday this week. We are getting the curtains for the Conway and Hipkins-Bernard Junior Suites! The canopies won’t be ready then, but to have curtains in there will really start making these rooms looked more like a home!

I can’t wait!

Can you?

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 1 Comment »

Inspirations from other great minds

Sep. 29th 2013

This morning, I prepared a dish that I found while reading some of the blogs I follow.

(yes… I finally have a moment to read…)

This dish came from urbancamillia and her blog post

I started with a Maple Baked Apple and then presented my take on her dish,

Bacon and Cheese Crepe on Asparagus, topped with a Poached Egg and Hollandaise Sauce


It was really good!

I am sorry but I didn’t get a shot of the Maple Baked Apple.

It went to the table before I could get a shot. Next time!

Thank you Urbancamillia for inspiring me today!

To see more of the menus we are making at Belle Grove Plantation

Please visit our Website at

Home Page

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 4 Comments »

Anyone Hungry?

Sep. 28th 2013

For tonight’s appetizer we are serving

Mediterranean Bruschetta

Mediterranean Bruschetta 9-28-13

Anyone hungry yet?

To see more foods we serve at Belle Grove Plantation

Please visit our Website at

Home Page

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 9 Comments »

Seeing Red… and Purple

Sep. 26th 2013

Belle Grove Plantation would like to thank 

The Red Hat Ladies

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For coming to see us at the plantation!

It was just wonderful to meet each of you and we look forward to having you back soon!

To see more of what is going on at Belle Grove Plantation

Please visit our Official Website at

Home Page

Please share us with your family and friends!

Thank you!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 7 Comments »

The Madison Suite Gets Its Crowning Glory

Sep. 24th 2013

Today our seamstresses arrived with the Madison Master Suite’s Canopy for the Full Tester Bed!

Wow what a difference it makes for the bed!

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It really makes the bed look taller than before and really dresses the suite up!

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All we have left to do is add some portraits, pictures and small decor and we will have a finished room!

Thank you to Gates Antiques, most especially Mrs. Jo Gates for putting so much time into getting the details right for this suite! It looks beyond beautiful! Any President would be over joyed in staying here!

Gates Antiques

12700 Old Buckingham Rd  Midlothian, VA 23113

Now I wonder who will be the first to sleep under this canopy!

At this moment, the suite is available for this coming weekend!!

To see more pictures of our Suites or to Book a Suite with us

Please visit our Official Website at

Home Page

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 14 Comments »