Almost a Dream Come True

Jul. 17th 2013

After we finished at Caledonia Farm 1812, Tamara and Sam decided to head back to Fredericksburg. I knew that we weren’t too far from Washington, Virginia, so I decided to head there instead.


Washington, Virginia is a tiny village in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This town is a National Historic Landmark and has been called “Little Washington” since the 1800s so it could be distinguished from Washington DC which is less than 70 miles away. This town, which is more like an English village than a town has less than 150 people in its population which includes two horses, one llama, a flock of sheep and a dozen chickens who live in an ornate chicken house with stained glass windows in the Historic District. The history and architecture has landed this town in the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.


Today there are 28 different “Washingtons” in the United States, but in July 1749, Little Washington was laid out by a young surveyor with the assistance of two chain men in the same five blocks by two block grid that still exists today. In his journal, the young surveyor wrote, “In the Blue Ridge Mountains… I laid off a town.” That young surveyor was a 17 year old George Washington. Officially being established by the Virginia Assembly in 1796 makes this town of Washington the first of all Washingtons.



While quaint, this town is also the site of one of my dream Inns. I have long dreamed about and aspired to be like this Inn. Created in 1987 by Patrick O’Connell, the Inn at Little Washington had its humble beginnings as a car garage. But to see it today, you would never know! Chef O’Connell is one of the chefs that I have longed wanted to be like. I have both of his cook books, “The Inn at Little Washington” and “Refine American Cuisine: The Inn at Little Washington” and I cook from them quite often. But to hear his story is just amazing!

Chef O’Connell was not a classically trained chef. He began his training at fifteen in a neighborhood restaurant in Washington DC. In the 60s, he spent a year traveling Europe where he realized the “potential for artistic fulfillment as a chef” He saw in Europe how chefs were treated differently than in the United States at the time. They were treated more as performing artist or athletes.

After returning to the United States, he had a new appreciation for the culinary arts. But still he wasn’t sure of his direction. So he left Washington DC for the country to clear his head. He lived on a farm, ate from his garden and bathed in the river. He would spend winter nights in the library for the heat and would bring home cookbooks. He would bake at night to keep warm using a wood cook stove.  He would cook all the time in these days and would have friends and even lost hikers over for a meal.

In 1972, he joined forces with Reinhardt Lynch and opened a catering business out of their farmhouse kitchen using the wood cook stove and an electric frying pan that they had purchased for $1.59 at a yard sale. Their clients were those locals who were a little more adventurous than the average. Before they knew it, they were catering garden weddings and dinner for three hundred. They recruited the local “Flower Children” living in the nearby woods, bathed them and brought them to parties to be waiters and additional kitchen help. They bought all their food from a Safeway that was 40 miles away and would have to carry it across a foot bridge to the house. There were even times when the foot bridge washed out and they had to waded across. In winter this bridge would be covered in ice. They made “slithering” popular before Harry Potter did. When the bridge was icy they would lay on their stomachs holding the icy bridge with their left hand and holding a heavy bag of groceries with their right hand while squirming across like a caterpillar to the other side. Then they would do the reverse carrying out finished dishes for a catering event.

Four years later, in 1978 they opened the Inn at Little Washington during the worst blizzard of the decade. In a car garage with a rent payment of $200 a month, they managed to pull together $5,000 in savings and borrowed enough to build a kitchen. They transformed the front of the building into a dining room and cooked in the back of the building.

Out of these humble beginnings, Chef O’Connell built a restaurant and hotel that today has been a member of the Relais & Chateaux hotel group since 1987 and is ranked 52nd in the Elite Traveler World’s Top Restaurants Guide in 2012. The waiting list for a dinner reservations is around 6 months. Rooms at this Inn range between the Standard Queen at $440 to Claiborne House at $2575.  Not too bad for a little bit of winter “slithering”.

When I arrived in town, I quickly scanned the area for the blue building. When I saw it, it almost took my breath away. I have longed wanted to come here. Just to be close and hope that some of the “vibe” rubbed off. I was so taken by it, that I even passed the parking area twice.  Once I parked, I headed over to the gift shops. Of course I was overwhelmed and couldn’t bring myself to walk into the Inn first. I needed to take “baby steps” and at least get my composure back.


When walked in, I was greeted warmly by Sue Ellen. I explained to her who I was and what I was doing and why I was there. Thinking back on it, she must have thought I was a crazy fan because I can remember starting out talking as if I was out of breath. But she was polite and warm and quickly set me at ease. When I told her how much I adored Chef O’Connell and his story and how I have aspired to be like him, she smiled. Then she told me that Chef was going to be in that day.

I think I stopped breathing.

Then she told me that she thought he might be in around 3pm (it was 12:30 at this point) and if I could wait, she could see if she could arrange for him to meet me.

Okay at this point, I did stop breathing.

And my heart stopped too!

Really? Are you kidding? OMG!!

I quickly told her that I would wait until 5pm if I had to. I just couldn’t believe it! She asked me for my business card so she could call me. Then she directed me to a good location for lunch. I asked her if I could stop over at the Inn to take a quick peek at it. She told me that I could go over and meet up with Andrew, the general manager. To tell him that I was sent by Sue Ellen and he would show me around.

OMG! Really! I get to look inside too!

It was too good to be true!

So I thanked her and off I went. I met up with Andrew at the front door, which he held for me. I explained who I was and if he would mind allowing me to look around and maybe even see one of the rooms. He told me he would love to show me around once he finished his quick errand. He directed me to go inside and to have a look around the first floor until he got back.

Then I walked in…..

I cannot describe how beautiful this place is! The decor and furnishings are to die for! I think I almost tippy toed through most of the first floor because I was just so amazed. When I finished looking around I sat down in the lobby and waited for Andrew.









This is the ceiling!

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When he arrived he took care of two guests and then showed me upstairs. We went into a Superior Room with a King size bed and a balcony that overlooked the small garden in the courtyard. This room rents for $665 a night. I didn’t get any pictures of this room because I was so busy looking around. Andrew told me that Chef O’Connell had a London Theater Designer design and furnished his Inn. And the decor was just so dramatic!

When we finished looking around, Andrew pointed me to Stoneyman Cafe just a block away for lunch. So I caught my breath and heading over to eat. Stoneyman Cafe is just a block from the Inn at Little Washington. It is in an old mercantile with wonderful old doors and floors. It was like walking into Colonial Williamsburg. Executive Chef Chris Brown was wonderful and took time to talk to me.



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I ordered a BLT with a chilled Tomato Soup. I even got a little French dessert, whose name escapes me. The soup was cool and creamy with some croutons and rosemary. It was just right for the warm day. The BLT was on thinly sliced French bread with heirloom tomatoes. The dessert was like cool custard that tasted of vanilla.




After I finished up lunch, I headed back to the Inn. Of course it was only 1:30 by this time, so I had a seat in the small garden and fountain across from the Inn. As I sat there, I thought about all the struggles Brett and I have had to endure. Of all the setbacks and all the delays that have been beyond our control. Then I thought about all that Chef O’Connell has had to endure. I thought how small our struggles have been compared to those he had to go through. While they are hard on us, I know that through this, we will grow to be stronger and more determined. How many times we could have just walked away and didn’t. It made me proud that we have endured and know like the Inn at Little Washington, we too have good days ahead. We just have to live through the hard days first.



When I looked at my phone, I realized that I didn’t have a signal! What if she called! OMG! So off I went back to the Gift Shop. There I met back up with Sue Ellen. She was showing another sales person around when I came in. I informed her that I didn’t have a signal and hoped that she had not tried to call. She hadn’t… whew! But she did find out that Chef O’Connell was in fact not going to be in that day. It was his day off.

Balloon Popped…..

But I held up my chin and said that it was okay. That I could come back again sometime and even bring my husband. We talked for a few more minutes and I told her about how I wanted to turn our plantation into a beautiful place for weddings. She asked me how many people could come and I told her that we had 694 acres so the numbers could be endless. Then she said something that made my day!

She asked me if I had business cards with me. Of course I did a whole stack in my purse. Then she asked if she could have some of them. Which I handed her most of the stack. She then said, “I want to keep these. We get wedding requests all the time and some of them are too large for our area. So what I am going to do is refer those to you.”

Okay at this point, I was light headed and think I just about passed out! I couldn’t believe it! The Inn at Little Washington was going to refer people to…. us! Okay, I thought, where is the camera? I’m on some “punked” joke show right?


She then told me that she would keep one or two for herself and that she would give one to Chef O’Connell and ask him to look us up. (OMG!) And that she was going to make time to come to Belle Grove Plantation to see it! (OMG!) And that she would see if Chef O’Connell might like to come. (OMG! OMG!) I thanked her and headed back to my car. Or at least I think I did. At this point, I don’t remember much. I was so “high” on it all that I don’t even remember much of the drive home.

Okay except calling Brett and pretty much screaming in the phone. I think he remembers that part better than I.

But … WOW!

While I didn’t get to meet Chef O’Connell (which I think it is good because I don’t know if my heart could have handled it) I had one of the most memorable experiences. On all my little adventures off the beaten path, I have discovered some of the most wonderful places and people. There is so much to be said about taking the road less traveled.

I plan on taking it for the rest of my life. 

To see what we are up to at Belle Grove Plantation

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 16 Comments »

Surprises around every corner… part two of four parts

Aug. 1st 2012

View of the Mountain Range
Hite Family Cemetery

From the Hite Family cemetery, we headed out to find a place to stay for the night. We ended up in Winchester, Virginia. As we drove we used my cell phone to look for bed and breakfast locations. There we found three and chose to stay in the oldest place.

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

This was the Nancy Shepherd Inn. The history of this inn according to the inn’s website is:

“The Nancy Shepherd House Inn was built as a dwelling in the 1700s on the south end of Winchester’s main street, lot 213 on South Loudoun Street. So far, our earliest findings of its existence are from insurance policies from 1792, but it was certainly built much earlier. In 1792 the building was listed as a one-story wooden dwelling.

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

It is constructed of log and was originally one and a half stories high with two rooms and a large central chimney. In 1798, the house was bought by Robert Cochran who considerably enlarged and embellished it for the purpose of an ordinary or tavern. He also added the fine moldings and a grand three-story staircase.

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

Nancy Shepherd Inn
Winchester, Virginia

In 1814, the inn, now enlarged and greatly improved, was passed on by Robert Cochran to his daughter, Mary (then Mary Schenck), for $500. She, her husbands, and her children ran the inn until it was sold to O. M. Brown for $1,500 in 1840, a considerable amount of money at the time, indicating that the business was quite successful.

Front Parlor
Nancy Shepherd Inn

The property remained a thriving tavern until the war, but since Winchester repeatedly changed hands between union and confederate forces, the local economy was crushed and so was the tavern business. During the war, the building was used as a rooming house for occupying soldiers of both sides, and also as a hospital for the injured from surrounding battles. By the end of the war the property was listed in city records as a “two story wooden tenement”. After its glorious pre-war days as an inn, the building began a slow process of deterioration as it changed owners over the years. From the 1860s until we acquired it, Robert Cochran’s old tavern remained a rooming house or multi-unit apartment building. To this day, it has not been a single family dwelling since 1798!

Dining Room
Nancy Shepherd Inn

The property was bought at public auction on the Winchester courthouse steps in early 1987 by Nancy Shepherd McLaughlin who realized that most of the building’s original fabric still lay intact under aluminum siding, dropped ceilings, drywall, and plywood & carpet floors. She decided that its preservation was critical and that it was too important to allow it to continue to deteriorate. Her mission was to bring the tavern back to life as a historic B&B inn, just as it had originally been during it grandest days between 1798-1861.

Wood Floor
Nancy Shepherd Inn

Nancy Shepherd McLaughlin (1927-1996) put her son David in charge of the restoration. David has had a life-long interest in the preservation of America’s early buildings. As the steward of the Nancy Shepherd House Inn, he has worked non-stop for twenty years making the old tavern suitable for a true historic bed & breakfast inn, undoing alterations and unsympathetic modernizations. He has brought it back to its early 19th century state, preserving everything that is original from the Robert Cochran period, and has done so without removing its essence of ‘old.’”

Back Parlor
Nancy Shepherd Inn

We met David and he walked us through this wonderful old building. It is filled with antiques from David’s family. Our room, located on the second floor was very comfortable. Unlike the grand rooms we have been staying in, this room had charm and atmosphere. It wasn’t large and gave us the feeling of what it would have been like staying in a tavern inn. Our bath was just across the hall and would have been a shared bath if another guest had been staying on the same floor. But since we were the only ones on the second floor, we had it to ourselves.

Our Room
Nancy Shepherd Inn

After showing us the room, David informed us that he was on his way to a concert he was performing in with friends just a town over from Winchester. He walked me through the house and showed me the kitchen area where he invited me to take anything we needed. As we were walking through, his friends were in the front parlor room playing banjo and preparing for their night. They were playing folk music at the concert. What a treat to hear the music and to see such a wonderful place.

Front Door
Nancy Shepherd Inn

Once David left, Brett decided to take a quick nap and I headed out to an antique mall I saw as we were coming over to the Inn. Sadly, I didn’t find any tea items to add to my collection. When I arrived back to the Inn, Brett was just waking. Our bed was like a Tempurpedic, but not a name brand Tempurpedic. It was glorious! We have a Tempurpedic at home so when we travel now, I find it hard to go back to a spring bed. I end up with sore spots from the springs. I think we could have slept the whole next day because it was so comfortable. Brett and I have been talking about what mattress to purchase for the plantation and I am sure we have to have at least two Tempurpedics.

Old Towne Walking Mall
Winchester, Virginia

We headed out to find some dinner at the Winchester Pedestrian Mall. This mall is located on Loudon Street and is about three or four blocks that has been closed off and is now a nice open air mall area. We have been here before, so we had a good idea where we wanted to go. It was up to two choices, Union Jacks, which is a British Pub and Violino’s Italian Restaurant. We had eaten at Union Jacks before, but never at Violino’s so we head that direction.

Godfrey Miller House – Built in 1785
Old Towne Walking Mall
Winchester, Virginia

As you walk down the mall, you can see limestone buildings dating back to the 1700s, brick building dating to the 1800s and early 1900s. There is a courthouse which is now a Civil War Museum as well. We stopped there first to check the hours, which we found that they would be open until 9pm, just for a special night that night. So off to dinner and we would return to see the museum after.

Winchester, Virginia

Violino’s was quite the place. It is fine dining, but it is open for both formal, business casual and street wear. Brett and I were in blue jeans. The atmosphere is wonderful. They have both indoor and outdoor dining. The wait staff went over and above in their service. As we walked up to the door, the hostess opened it before I could and welcomed us. We had a cozy table for two and were surrounded by Italian pictures and musical instruments hanging on the wall.

After reading the menu, our waitress tempted us with delicious specials of which we tried one of the appetizers. This plate was fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with mascarpone and mozzarella cheese, a zucchini fritter, caramelized figs and fresh slices of tomatoes. As we delighted in this appetizer plate, I heard someone walk by with a strong Italian accent.

Brett and I have friends who own an Italian restaurant here in Chesapeake that are from Sicily, so we are familiar with that accent. I asked our waitress if it was one of the owners and if she was from Italy. She told us that it was an owner and she was from Italy, but wasn’t sure where. So she asked the owner, who came to our table to talk with us. Her name was Marcella and she was from Torino, Italy in the Northern Region. She told us that her husband, Franco was the chef and he was from Friuli, Italy. Brett has traveled to Italy with his job in the Navy and his current job so he and Marcella were able to talk about places in Italy that he had been and food he had eaten. We talked with her about why we were in the area and about our Belle Grove. She told us that she would love to come see us once we opened and that she and her husband would jump on the motorcycles and take a ride over soon.

Our dinner came shortly after our conversation with Marcella. Brett ordered the basic spaghetti with Bolognese sauce and I had manicotti filled with ricotta cheese and asparagus and topped with a cream sauce, fresh basil, pine nuts and red currants. What a meal! It was beyond delicious! As I sat there enjoying the meal, I was working out in my head how to make this dish into a savory breakfast dish. So I am going to make it using crepes instead of pasta and call it “Crepes Marcella”. So next week, you may see my new menu item!

We finished up and were offered desert. As wewere eating, we had seen the deserts coming by and could not say no. We decided on the Chocolate Hazelnut Torte with Raspberry and Whip Cream. It was heavenly! What made it even better was as we were eating our desert, they had a violinist come out and play. It was a great dinner!

Winchester, Virginia

Old Courthouse Civil War Museum
Winchester, Virginia

After dinner, we headed over to the Courthouse Civil War Museum. The Courthouse was built in 1840 on the site of the previous 1741 Courthouse. The tour started with a small speech located in the court room of the courthouse. The room reminded me of the courtroom in the movie “The Patriot” with Mel Gibson. You could almost see him standing there expressing his views. After the speech, I was able to talk to the director and we talked about how the Civil War affected the Winchester area compared to our plantation. Afterwards we headed upstairs for a self guided tour of the artifacts and history of this area.

Old Courthouse Civil War Museum
Winchester, Virginia

Old Courthouse Civil War Museum
Winchester, Virginia

During the Civil War, Winchester, just like Belle Grove in Middletown, Virginia, exchanged hands many times. Most of the local buildings and churches in the area were destroyed by the Union army. The courthouse had been spared and had been used for a hospital and prison. When it was in the hands of the Union army, they had housed 1500 prisoners in the front yard area.

Civil War Cannon

The collection upstairs was a range of items from guns, cannons and artillery to personal items like belt buckles and buttons. One of the most interesting parts was the graffiti that the soldiers left behind. During the restoration of the courthouse, they have preserved this graffiti and have it on view to the public.

Civil War Graffiti
Old Courthouse Civil War Museum

Civil War Graffiti
Old Courthouse Civil War Museum

Civil War Graffiti – Jefferson Davis Curse
Old Courthouse Civil War Museum

One of the most interesting pieces was a curse on Jefferson Davis. It reads as follows:

“To Jeff Davis -May he be set afloat on a boat without compass or rudder then that any contents be swallowed by a shark the shark by a whale whale in the devils belly and the devil in hell the gates locked the key lost and further may he be put in the northwest corner with a south east wind blowing ashes in his eyes for all eternity.”

As we walked out, I felt sad by the loss of so many. You know Brett and I poke fun at each other because he was born in the North and I was born in the South. He likes to point out that they were the ones who won. But you know I don’t look at it that way anymore. I look at it as we all lost. So many died, so many came back without arms and legs and families were torn apart. It truly was a sad part of our history.

Confederate Memorial
Front Lawn – Old Courthouse Civil War Museum
Winchester, Virginia

We arrived back at the Inn and settled down for the night. Our room was without television so I grabbed a book and settled into bed to read for awhile. As I lay there, I realized how quiet and peaceful this place was. I tried to imagine what it would have been like with the Inn and Tavern next door to each other and how the people who came to stay felt. I thought about the solders from the Civil War that hid out in the Inn. One thing David had told us was that they had found both Union and Confederate uniforms stuffed into the walls. I thought about the fear of discovery for those men. And what the owners felt as they watched this drama unfold around them.

I finally turned the light off and drafted to sleep. This time, my mind wasn’t racing with the thoughts of what we needed to do for our Belle Grove. This time, it was quiet and peaceful.

The Story Continues Tomorrow…

Going Sky High!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 18 Comments »

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

Jul. 9th 2012

Swan Tavern – Yorktown, Virginia

On Sunday, we decided to head up to Yorktown and Gloucester, Virginia to look at some antiques. Our first stop was at an antique store in Yorktown, the Swans Tavern. This location is on the waterfront of Yorktown in a historic district. The building itself is an 18th century colonial and it offers 18th and 19th century antiques. I think I could have bought the whole place, but our budget would not allow us to. But it was a great place to see and gave us some ideas for our décor.

Then we headed up to Gloucester to an Antique Market that we have passed many times on our drive to and from Belle Grove. It just seemed that we could never make it back in time to walk this antique mall before it closed. As we were driving, I started thinking about the colonial homes in the Yorktown area and it dawned on me that there was a colonial home not too far from Gloucester. So as we were driving I pulled up my GPS and looked to see the location of this home. Score! It was only four miles from the market we had planned to go to. So I made the suggestion to Brett that we might detour to see what this house looked like. We knew it was an inn and as future Innkeepers, we are always looking to see what others are doing so we can get ideas of what we want to do. Research… it’s so much fun sometimes!

Augustine Warner, Great, Great Grandfather of George Washington and owner of Warner Hall

The inn is called The Inn at Warner Hall and was built sometime in or around 1642. It was a 600 acre land grant given to Augustine Warner for transporting twelve people to the new colonies from England. Sound familiar? Belle Grove was part of a 5,000 acre land grant for transporting 162 people from England.  It was here that Augustine Warner lived and expanded the property to several thousand acres until his death in 1674. The house would pass to Augustine Warner II and then to his daughter, Elizabeth and her husband John Lewis. As the family grew so did the plantation. The house would extend with two side brick dependencies wings. One wing was the plantation kitchen and laundry and the other was the school, tutor’s room and the shipping office.

There were two fires that would destroy the main house, one in 1740 and one in 1849. After the 1849 fire, only the brick dependencies and outbuildings remained. Before the turn of the century, the Cheney Family would purchase and rebuild the Colonial Revival mansion on the same foundation and using the same floor plan as the Lewis home.

Augustine Warner was George Washington’s great, great grandfather through his father’s mother, Mildred Warner Washington. Mildred was the daughter of Augustine Warner II. Augustine Warner is also an ancestor of Robert E. Lee. He is also a direct descendent of Queen Elizabeth I through the Bowes-Lyon family and the Earl of Strathmore. It is for this reason that Warner Hall is called the home of the Queen’s American ancestors.

Drive way into Warner Hall

When we arrived at the front gate of Warner Hall, the grounds and house were hidden behind some larger bushes that line the road. But it makes for a spectacular first view! Again we were awe struck by the beauty of the grounds and house. Brett pulled into the drive and I quickly called to see if we might be able to come in and view the house. We were greeted warmly by Amanda who quickly welcomed us to come on to the house.

Inn at Warner Hall

As you drive up to the house, you have long white fencing lining the drive. At the entry gate, you pull into a small courtyard and with views of the fields and river just beyond the house. We got out and walked up to the door, making note to ourselves of things we really liked and thought that would work well at Belle Grove.

Front Door

The large front door opens to the main hallway and grand staircase. Amanda came out and greeted us and we told her of our venture with Belle Grove. She was so accommodating and helpful. She gave us leave to walk around the house and offered us a cool drink and snack if we wanted. She explained that the innkeepers wereout of town for the day, but that they would return on Monday.

The Washington Suite

She walked us back to the first room on the main floor, the Washington Suite. There she allowed us to ask questions about their operation and gave us alot of insight on how theirs worked. This information was so helpful to us. Even now as we work towards our goal, we still find that we are always learning and improving on our own ideas. She then allowed us to move around the house and grounds on our own and even told us that we could visit the other rooms upstairs if the doors were open.  Brett and I walked around and quickly become separated as he headed upstairs and I was down taking endless pictures of how their home looked.

Living Room

Living Room


Dining Room

Dining Room

Sitting Room

As I made my way up the grand staircase, I could see how well thought out the décor was and how beautiful the views from each window was. On the second floor, we viewed the Mildred Warner room, Bacon’s Retreat room, and the Meriwether Lewis room. On the third floor we viewed the Robert E. Lee room and Austin’s Desire room. Each room was beautifully done and had everything you could have wanted for in comfort. The housekeeping staff was just as accommodating as Amanda and cheerfully took the time to answer our questions. You can tell customer service is a top priority at this inn!

Grand Staircase

Windows on the Staircase Landing

Austin’s Desire Room

Again Brett and I ended up getting separated as each of us viewed rooms and would stop to talk to one of the staff. As I made my way back downstairs I realized I had no idea where Brett had gone. So I jumped on my cell and called him. Amanda popped her head out of the kitchen area and let me know that Brett was in the pantry with the Chef, Eric. Yes, I wanted to see the kitchen! The kitchen at Warner Hall is a very extensive commercial grade kitchen. The pantry, which is just off the kitchen in one of the brick dependencies, was filled with equipment and dishes for all their needs. Eric introduced himself and was as warm and open as the others. He answered our questions and gave us insight on questions we had been working on for our plantation. I think I was most impressed that he was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America!

Ring Wing where The Washington Suite is located – This is part of the original brick structure that survived the fires

Left Wing where the kitchen and pantry are located – This is part of the original brick structure that survived the fires

As we left, Eric shared his email address and invited us to email him with any questions we might come up with. Then as we walked out, Amanda thanked us for stopping by and encouraged us to call and talk to the Innkeepers, Troy and Theresa. We left filled with new ideas and new answers to questions. Had we not ventured to this beautiful plantation, we would never have gained the insight and knowledge and ideas for our own plantation that we now have.

Front Gate Entry

Front Gate Entry close

View of the Front Drive

We would whole heartedly recommend you stay here if you are in the area. The level of service and the beautiful and historic surroundings makes this plantation a must see on your visit to Virginia and the Historic Triangle area (Yorktown, Jamestown & Williamsburg)!

After we left, we did stop by the Antique Market in Gloucester. Again, I scored! This time I found a tea port and three cups! We are almost done with the tea cups I need for our afternoon tea serve. We have just nine more to go! In a way, it is kind of sad; I won’t need to look for them anymore. But soon, we will be on to bigger and better purchases as we start to fill the house with its furnishing.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 28 Comments »