A Very Special Thank You!

Jul. 31st 2013

AA-Thank you

As we draw close to the finish line and get ready to open our doors, we want to take a moment to thank everyone for all the support, love, and encouragement that we have received. We have had those who have supported us from as far away as Australia and as close as just across the road here in King George. We have been truly blessed by so many. And I have to say that we could have never gotten this far without you!

But of all the volunteers that have stepped up, I wanted to send out a very special thank you to one.

Back on July 4th, during our 4th of July Open House; I was approached by one of our guests. She was a young lady who has just recently graduated from college. As we were walking through the house on the tour, she came to me and told me that she was in town until the first part of August. She said that she was pretty much just sitting around waiting to leave to go to her new job and was bored to tears.

Could I use her help on anything…. just anything?

I don’t think she was prepared for my “anythings”.

We had just received our landscaping and had some wonderful volunteers turn out to help us unload the semi-truck (yes semi-truck) of plants and started planting our beds. People worked hard through some of the hottest days of the recent heat wave we had. We are talking over 100 degrees with humidity so high that just walked from the house to the car, you became soaking wet with sweat.



The planting slowed down due the heat wave. Brett spent three weekends digging holes, planting and watering. But he just couldn’t get it all done fast enough over the weekend. So we asked Anna if she wanted to help.

I don’t think I was prepared for Anna’s abilities.


We had 59 Leyland Cypress trees that needed to be planted. When Anna arrived, we had 36 more to go. In just two days, she planted all 36 trees! I was shocked and very grateful!

Over the last three weeks, working two or three days a week, Anna has:

  • Planted 36 Leyland Cypress Trees
  • Planted 86 English Boxwoods
  • Placed newspaper in all the beds to prevent weeds and mulched four major beds and 86 boxwoods, 6 Crepe Myrtles, and 10 Gardenias.
  • Set up soaking hoses on the boxwoods

Never did she complain and quit. Never did she ask for payment. She was arriving, sometimes while I was out running errands and quietly going about her work and slipping away unnoticed.

So I want to thank Anna for giving so freely of her time and working so for us. We could have never completed this project without her. We can’t begin to say how much we have appreciated her.

We want to wish her all the good fortune in the new chapter of her life. She is always welcomed here at the plantation. We promise that we will work hard to keep these plants beautiful for her to enjoy when she returns for visit.

To see what we are up to at the Plantation

Please visit us on Facebook!

Facebook Link

We are Open and Accepting Reservations!


Email us at information@bellegroveplantation.com


Call Us at 540-621-7340

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 17 Comments »

Belle Grove Plantation makes press!

Jul. 1st 2013



                By Cathy Dyson

                  June 25th, 2013, 3:45 pm


Belle Grove gets some helping hands

Photo by Clara Brabo

Members of the King George Community helped do some landscaping around Belle Grove Plantation on Saturday.

Michelle and Darnell are opening a bed-and-breakfast at Belle Grove, the birthplace of President James Madison. They had a truckload of items coming Saturday morning and needed help with the planting.

Supervisor Ruby Brabo put out a Facebook request on Friday asking for help. On Saturday, 17 residents, including some from Richmond and Chesapeake, showed up to unload the flatbed, then begin the chore of planting cherry trees and hydrangea bushes, roses and peonies.

“We are just so overwhelmed with the turnout,” Michelle Darnell said. “It only makes us more excited to be here and to be opening this beautiful Southern plantation to the public again.”

After the truck was unloaded, Brabo said Michelle Darnell “rewarded the group” with a tour of the house.

The Darnells had purchased hundreds of shrubs, plants and bushes as part of their primary landscaping. They got about a third of the plants and trees in the ground, with the help of the volunteers.

The Darnells had hoped to open their B&B, which is off U.S. 301 near the Port Royal bridge, in March in time for Madison’s birthday. But they were delayed in getting their special exception from the King George Board of Supervisors and have faced other delays as they’ve tried to get the 18th-century plantation ready for visitors.

They don’t own the property, but have a lease to operate from the owners, the Austrian company Franz Haas Machinery.

The Darnells are hoping to open the facility by mid-July. But even before then, Belle Grove plans to participate with the Fourth of July celebration at Port Royal, which is just over the bridge from Belle Grove.

The plantation will be open from 2 to 6 p.m. for guided tours. There is no charge, but donations will benefit the restoration of the 18th-century summer kitchen, ice house and smoke house.

Those interested in tours may advance register by emailing the Darnells at virginiaplantation@gmail.com. Walk ins Welcome on July 4th.

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