Christmas Candlelight Tickets Now On Sale!

Nov. 18th 2013

christmas card

Belle Grove Plantation
1st Annual
Christmas Candlelight Tours

It is time to make history at Belle Grove Plantation as we celebrate our first Christmas at the plantation! We will be opening our doors to old and young to come and gaze upon this grand mansion and grounds that has seen so many Christmas past.

On Friday, December 6th, 2013, Belle Grove Plantation will celebrate their Official Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting. Come help us not only ring in the season, but celebrate officially opening our doors!

Saturday, December 14th from 5pm to 9pm, Santa arrives at the plantation! The last known visit from Father Christmas to the plantation appeared in the Free Lance Star dating to the 1890s! Come see him return once again and help us celebrate this return to tradition!

Each day, there will be entertainment and warm beverages to help you get into the Holiday Spirit!

Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast will be opening its doors for the 1st Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour for the following dates:

Friday, December 6th and Friday, December 13th
6:00pm to 9:00pm

Saturday, December 7th and Saturday, December 14th
Daytime Tours – 12:00pm to 3:00 pm
Evening Tours – 5:00pm to 9:30pm

Sunday, December 8th and Sunday, December 15th
Daytime Tours – 12:00pm to 3:00 pm
Evening Tours – 3:00pm to 6:00pm

IMPORTANT – This tour requires several stairs. We are sorry, at this time we are not handicap accessible.

Tickets are sold for scheduled times. Please make sure you purchase them for the time you wish to visit.

Ticket Prices:

Daytime Tickets

Adults – $15
Children under 12 – $10
Children under 5 – Free

Night Time Tickets

Adults – $25
Children under 12 – $10
Children under 5 – Free

I am sorry, we do not offer discounts for this event.

Please go to our Online Store to Purchase Tickets!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | Comments Off on Christmas Candlelight Tickets Now On Sale!

Look Who Stopped By The Plantation!

Nov. 17th 2013

Modern Molasses Cookies the Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast birthplace of James Madison in King George Virginia at Port Conway

As many of you that have been following us over the last year or two know, we had an Official Cookie Contest last March. It was a wonderful contest and we had some really wonderful cookie recipes offered!

After a very close race and the public vote on Facebook, it ended with a delicious cookie called “Modern Molasses Cookies” submitted by Alyssa D’Alconzo. Since we have opened, we have been placing these yummy cookies on a silver tray on each bed during turn-down service. They are wonderful and everyone really enjoys the added “midnight snack”.

Modern Molasses Cookies the Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast birthplace of James Madison in King George Virginia at Port Conway

Alyssa and Michelle – November 2013

This weekend we were excited to host Alyssa and her family for a couple days at the plantation! How wonderful to finally meet someone that we have been chatting with on our blog for so long. Alyssa isn’t the first from the blog to come by, but it was extra special to have her here to sample our “Modern Molasses Cookies”.

I think we passed the test!

But we would like to share the recipe with all those who are new or those who would like to know how to make them. Here at the plantation, I did make a copy of changes to the recipe. I don’t serve them with chocolate because there are those who may be allergic. I also make a batch and freeze the raw dough balls. Then in the afternoon, I pull out what I need and cook them so they are fresh and warm when our guests return from dinner. By freezing them, it helps give them a puffy center too. (A trick I learned from Mrs. Field’s cookies)

You can check out Alyssa’s blog and read about her adventures visiting us at

So make a warm batch and enjoy!

Modern Molasses Cookies – Alyssa D’Alconzo

Ingredients (4 dozen cookies)

2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons allspice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon coconut oil or shortening


In a medium bowl, combine first 5 ingredients; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together shortening and dark brown sugar. Beat in egg, molasses, and vanilla. Mix well.

Fold in dry ingredients and stir by hand.
Cover and chill at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Shape teaspoonful of dough into balls; roll in sugar.
Place balls onto cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Bake 8-10 minutes until set. Cool for one minute on cookie sheet and remove to wire rack to cool completely.
In a small bowl, break up chocolate into small pieces, add coconut oil or shortening, and microwave on medium heat until melted.

Using a fork, drizzle chocolate over cookies.

Allow chocolate to set and store in an airtight container.

The Finer Things In Life

Nov. 13th 2013

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On Saturday, November 9th, Belle Grove Plantation hosted the Victorian Ladies Society for an afternoon of tea and tours.

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What a sight they were to see in their finest as they approached the grand mansion!

I could almost see days gone by as ladies during the Turner Family period would have hosted such gatherings.

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Our Afternoon Tea was served in the Formal Dining Room on plates and cups that many of you have seen as we have collected them over the last year or two. Our menu included four flavors of scones. Pumpkin, White Chocolate Raspberry, Apple Cinnamon and Blueberry were served with traditional sides of Lemon Curd, Clotted Cream and Strawberry Preserves. Our tea sandwiches were a two layer, opened face Cucumber Sandwich, a two layer Olive and Pecan Spread on Wheat, Chicken Salad in a Puff Pastry and Asparagus with Virginia Ham and Dijon Mustard rolled in a crescent. For our pastries we served a Lavender Shortbread, Chocolate Rugula and a Puff Pastry Shell with Italian Orange Cream. Our tea select was Classic Earl Gray and Youth Berry with Wild Orange Blossom.

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The ladies enjoyed their tea and conversations for the first hour. The second was spent touring the mansion and hearing the history of Belle Grove Plantation from the beginning in 1670 to the present. Our tour ended on the Riverside Balcony where the ladies enjoyed a moment of warmth as the sun shone down over the river.

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Peering out the Turner Master Suite window where the Carrie Turner etching is located

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We are so excited to announce that the Victorian Ladies Society will be returning in April, 2014 for a very special event with Belle Grove Plantation!

The Victorian Ladies Society and Belle Grove Plantation will be hosting our first Titanic Tea!

Be on the watch for the announcement and ticket sales!

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Thank you to the Victorian Ladies for visiting with us at Belle Grove Plantation!

If you are interested in an Private Afternoon Tea at Belle Grove Plantation, please email us at  We are sorry, but we do not serve tea to the general public at this time.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | Comments Off on The Finer Things In Life

Getting Ready for Afternoon Teas

Sep. 1st 2013


In the month of September we have booked several afternoon teas at the plantation. As we start preparing for them, one of the items I need is some really great petite pastries. Now I could make these, but being an Innkeeper of a large mansion doesn’t always work with baking. So I have been on the lookout for just the right person to take my place.

Yesterday we had a visit with Mimi’s Sugar and Spicy. Mimi’s family is from England, so you know we were going to get some authentic English pastries. And she didn’t disappoint us!

Take a look at just a few of the ones we will be serving with our Afternoon Tea!


What Afternoon Tea would be complete without some English Tea Cakes?

These yummy bits are Shortbread with Pecan tops.


I am a sucker for Almonds so these Almond Mandolins were right up my alley!

And what was so great about these is they have a hint of lemon and orange flavor to them.


Now this dessert won’t make our list for the Afternoon Tea,

but it could be on our Thanksgiving and Fall Holiday Menu!

This is a Pumpkin Neapolitan with Almonds.


Now these have to be my favorites!

These are Praline Squares with a Graham Cracker Crust AND Almond Paste base!

The only thing missing on this was a little dip in Chocolate!


These have to be the prettiest of the pastries!

This is a Petit Four made of Sponge Cake and Frosting.

Who wouldn’t love this moist and delicious cake!

Special Thank you to Mimi of

Mimi’s Sugar and Spicy

in Fredericksburg, Virginia

To see other Yummy Delights at the Plantation

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 32 Comments »

Tea Time in Fredericksburg

Jun. 19th 2013

Today, I took a break from the tolls of working on my website (sorry Adam) to have an Afternoon Tea with a dear friend at Pinkadilly Tea House in Fredericksburg. I have been there before and written a blog about it, but the first time we only did lunch. Today it was the whole enchilada… okay the whole pot of tea!

I just love that when you come to the Tea House, your tea cup is always different.

That is one thing I will be doing at our house for our teas!



We filled our tea cups today with Earl Grey Tea, one of my favorites!

Our first course was soup and Quiche.


Crab Soup (which is to die for!) and Ham, Asparagus, White Cheddar and Provolone Cheese Quiche!


Our second course  arrived stacked beautifully before us!


Our Scones with Lemon Curd and Devonshire Cream were:


Cinnamon Raisin


Our Tea Sandwiches were:

Feta and Almond Spread on a Toasted Baguette

Spinach and Feta Puff Pastry

Chicken Salad

Cucumber Salad


Our Desserts were:

Chocolate Truffles

Pindadilly Pieshots

Orange Brownies

Blueberry Cheesecake Cups

Each Course was Heavenly!

If you are ever in Fredericksburg, you must call and get a reservation at this wonderful Tea House!

Also be on the look out for a special announcement coming soon!

If you love Afternoon Tea and you are 8 year old or older

You don’t want to miss this announcement!

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 25 Comments »

Pinkadilly Tea House

Apr. 8th 2013


After starting out the first week of unemployment with back to back meetings, I finally got a break to relax. So I decided to head to Historic Fredericksburg to do a little antique shopping for the plantation. I was joined by one of our blog and facebook followers for lunch. She choose a Tea Room for us to enjoy. If you are a follower of the blog, you know this was a great spot for me!

Here is a little information on Pinkadilly’s

Pinkadilly Tea began as a dream of owner, Kaye Tippett. After working over 20 years in the mortage industry, Kaye began to feel the rumblings of change. She had been collecting teapots and tea cups for years and would often host tea parties in her home for family and friends. After one such gathering a light bulb went off and suddenly the dream of openings a tea room was born.

On January 2, 2008, Pinkadilly Tea opened its doors for the first time in the Smythe’s Cottage, a local landmark steeped in folklore and history. Well known in Fredericksburg for its connection to the Kenmore Estate and for its rumors of being haunted, the cottage was filled with charm and warmth. Even still, it was very old and after 5 years of wonderful memories the cottage was no longer functioning well for their needs and the bittersweet decision was made to move to their new location at.

Today, they have worked very hard to make sure their new home is just as cozy and inviting as the Smythe’s Cottage.


When I entered, I complete understood why it was called “Pinkadilly”. The room is a warm shade of pink with accents of tea pots, tea cups and crystal chandeliers. I was the first to arrive so I was able to look around and note all the wonderful pots and cups. There is also a “dress up” corner of hats if you chose to enjoy your tea in style!




Once my lunch date arrived, we order a pot of Earl Grey. She also recommended Bacon, Mushroom and Cheddar Quiche and a cup of Maryland Crab Soup. She told me that once I had this soup, I would never love another soup again.



She was right!

The Quiche was light and airy with just the right amount of seasoning. Each bite just melting in your month. And the soup! This creamy dream of a soup has just the right amount of crab as not to be too overbearing. You know some times you order Crab Soup and the crab can make the soup smell and taste a little too fishy. But this soup didn’t have that. If no one had been looking, I would have thrown my good Southern manners and licked the cup to get every last drop! But I made my grandmother proud and refrained from doing so.


After our first course, we were treated to two warm and moist Strawberry and Vanilla Cream Scones. They were topped with a sparkle of Powdered Sugar and had a side of Lemon Curd and Devonshire Cream. I ate just the Vanilla Cream with the Devonshire Cream and Lemon Curd. It was just sweet enough to satisfy your sweet tooth without stuffing you.


Just as we were about to leave for our shopping, in walks a group of “Red Hat” Ladies for an afternoon tea. In my mind, I could image these ladies back during earlier times, when ladies would visit one another to drink tea and gossip of the social community.

Things haven’t really changed. We may not go to one another’s home as they use to, but the tea houses have become something of a past “Coffee House” where you gather to discussion topics of the day. It’s just a little more gentile now.

When you come to Belle Grove for a visit, you must make a point to stop by Pinkadilly’s to see Kaye! Like us, she stepped out of her comfort zone and chased her dream. If the story doesn’t get you, the Maryland Crab Soup will!

To see more of the day in Fredericksburg

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 20 Comments »

Tea Time!

Mar. 25th 2013

I have asked one of our readers and fellow blogger to guest blog for us today!

Once we open, we will be available for Afternoon Tea Parties for social groups.

So I thought it would be great fun to get some information on teas from an expert. 

Please enjoy!

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

As an institution, the event known as afternoon tea followed on from an ancient Oriental social custom. It came to prominence in the 17th century when it became established as an ‘event’ for the lady of the household.

A lady of wealth and privilege wouldn’t dream of going to an Hotel or coffee house, they being male dominated places where business and politics would be freely discussed and so she would invite her friends for an ‘at home’ of tea, gossip and hopefully scandal.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

It was also an occasion where one could shove one’s wealth and rank firmly up the noses of one’s contemporaries and social equals and conduct the serious business of one-up-man-ship. Amongst ladies of rank and privilege the main criteria for an invitation to tea to be offered or accepted were wealth, property and social standing. Tea at that time was a highly expensive and valuable commodity and therefore the mere invitation to tea was an ostentatious gesture.

Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea

Being so precious the tea caddy became an important a fixture. It would be a solid box (or mini-safe) to which only the Hostess, or possibly a very trustworthy housekeeper, held the keys. Its presence said immediately that one was sufficiently ‘well-heeled’ to provide tea in the first place. Nowadays it would be the equivalent of inviting the neighbours over for drinks and then providing them with only the finest French champagne! The number of servants on hand to actually serve the guests was also a major plus factor in the social status stakes!

Queen Victoria by Bassano

Queen Victoria by Bassano

During the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901) afternoon tea began to expand into more of a small meal. The growth in industrialisation and the coming of a reliable artificial light meant that working hours could be extended beyond the restrictions imposed by natural daylight. As the gap between lunch and dinner became longer and longer afternoon tea, of necessity increased in variety and content with the addition of finger sandwiches, biscuits, savouries and cake, in order to fill the gap.

An American Tea Clipper at Sea

An American Tea Clipper at Sea

When, as time passed, the supply of tea from distant lands (India, China, Ceylon) increased in quantity due to the development of faster methods of transportation during the course of the Industrial Revolution, tea began to come within the reach of middle class purses and, eager to emulate the landed upper classes, they rapidly adopted the custom.

Gradually, along with the sandwiches and savouries, rich cakes, iced fancies, glazed pastries and sweetmeats from a bygone era were rediscovered and added to the ‘menu’ Afternoon tea became, for the aspirational Hostess to display her abilities in producing an interesting and exotic array of goodies for ‘The Ladies’ as well as the beverage itself.

At this time of course the Master of The House would be out and about with social, business and financial concerns. The rapidly expanding ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ market would provide for him with such niceties when ‘in town on business’ and of course any children would be confined to the nursery or playroom with a nurse or guardian to enjoy their own, more light-hearted tea-time and to keep them out of sight!

It would not be until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when women would become suitably emboldened and emancipated to go ‘out to tea’ at places like the Ritz, Selfidges and Harrods for their socialising but that is for another post.

Kevin Houghton

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in General History | 37 Comments »

Tea Anyone?

Feb. 23rd 2013


Today, I had the chance to go back to Bacon’s Castle in Smithfield, Virginia to attend a wonderful Afternoon Tea with the Regency Society of Virginia. The Regency Society of Virginia is an organization for those who are fascinated by the British Regency and the corresponding American periods. They are a family-friendly, volunteer-run group whose goal is to continually grow in our knowledge of the years 1790-1820. Whether you are a Janeite, an English Country or Regency dancer, a re-enactor, a costume historian or lover of period dramas, The Regency Society of Virginia is a great place to be!



I received an invitation from my good friend and fellow blogger Dianna. Dianna has been with us almost from the beginning and has followed and supported us through this journey. She invited me early on to come to Smithfield, just about 45 minutes from our current home is Chesapeake to see her beloved Bacon’s Castle. This 1665 home located just outside of Smithfield is the only brick Jacobean home left in America. You can read more about his beautiful home by going to our “Year of the Virginia Historical Homes” Categories and finding it there.


We started our event with a wonderful history lesson in tea. Did you know that Afternoon Tea Events we have today is largely based on the Victorian Era? The Afternoon Tea came about after the time of dinner was expended to a later time. Most households would have a breakfast and then dinner. When dinner stated getting later and later, the ladies found that they would need something more than tea to get them to dinner. So Afternoon Teas were born.

In the early days of America, tea was a valuable import. It was so valuable that it would be locked up and the mistress of the house would be the only one holding the key! I guess that shows how serious the Colonist were when the threw the tea in to the Boston Harbor!


We dined on a wonderful plate of bits that were both beautiful and delicious. For our first course we were treated to two small tea sandwiches of egg salad and cucumber tea sandwiches, a bowl of asparagus soup (served cold), a small salad, lavender scones with strawberry preserves and fruit.

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

Cucumber Tea Sandwich

Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

Egg Salad Tea Sandwich

Lavender Scone

Lavender Scone


After this plentiful plate, we were served our second course of sweet delights! Sweet muffins of apple and lemon poppy seed, vanilla shortbread and a coconut meringue cookie. With smartly dressed Society Ladies as our tea companions, there was a good time had by all!

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffin

Apple Muffin

Apple Muffin

Coconut Meringue

Coconut Meringue




After our Tea, we enjoyed a tour of this historic home. As my tour companion, Dianna gave us a deeper understanding our this home. Her family once owned it! Her mother was born and raised here! How lucky to have such history in ones family.


If you would like to see this beautiful home, it will reopen for the Spring and Summer Season in March. Please visit their website at


If you would like too learn more about the Regency Society or would like to have these wonderful ladies and gentlemen help you make your next tea or picnic event something really special, please visit their Facebook Fan Page at


Get your Regency Dress Ready! Belle Grove Plantation will be hosting a Tea or Picnic Event soon!

To see more pictures of Belle Grove

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Update on Belle Grove after the Storm

Nov. 1st 2012

I am happy to report upon arriving at Belle Grove Plantation yesterday, we found no trees down! Not even a branch! We had just a few small limbs no bigger than a pencil down, but that is to be expected. Most of the leaves from the hickory tree near the caretaker’s house are off the tree. It was so beautiful just a week ago with its bright colors!

Hickory Tree

We are happy to report our walnut tree has survived yet another storm and are standing strong after 200 plus years!

Walnut Tree

Thank you to everyone for all your thoughts and prayers for us through this storm! We really appreciate your support!

We want to send out our thoughts and prayers to those who were in the path of the storm and who have not fared as well. We hope that things will get back to normal soon! Please let us know how you are doing!

One other note!

The Deadline for our Silent Vintage and Antique Auction is quickly coming to an end!

We are taking bids until Friday, November 2nd at 11:59pm!

Here is a quick update on the items!

Lot 1
Blue Glass Inkwell
Silent Auction Bid – $65.00

Lot 2
Meat Tenderizer
Silent Auction Bid – $8.00

Lot 3
Limoges Gravy/Sauce Boat
Silent Auction Bid – $10.00

Lot 4
Gelatin Mold
Silent Auction Bid – $20.00

Lot 5
Oriental Home Décor
Silent Auction Bid – $5.99

Lot 6
Glass Star Candle Holders
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 7
Oil Lamp
Silent Auction Bid – $15.99

Lot 8
David Michael Staffordshire Bone China Pitcher
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 9
Silver-Plated Gravy/Sauce Boat
Silent Auction Bid – $30.00

Lot 10
Dinner Plate size Penn State Decor Plate
Silent Auction Bid – $5.99

Lot 11
Silent Auction Bid – $22.00

Lot 12
Silver Flask
Silent Auction Bid – $12.99

Lot 13
Handmade Jewelry – created for Civil War reenactment dress
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 14
Nippon Scalloped Bowl
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 15
Denton Bone China
Silent Auction Bid – $5.00

Lot 16
Johnson Brothers Windsor Ware F.B.&Co.
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 17
Coalport Bone China
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 18
Fondeville Ambassador Ware England
Silent Auction Bid – $5.99

Lot 19
Harpers Weekly Journal of Civilization Newspaper
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 20
Crystal Decanter
Silent Auction Bid – $19.99

Lot 21
(3) Unused “Dropped” Civil War Bullets – Found in and around Petersburg, Virginia
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 22
(4) Unused “Dropped” Civil War Bullets – Found in and around Petersburg, Virginia
Silent Auction Bid – $15.00

Lot 23
(3) Unused “Dropped” Civil War Bullets – Found in and around Petersburg, Virginia
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 24
Gold Teapot – Creamer – Sugar
Silent Auction Bid – $19.99

Lot 25
Tea Cup
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 26
Salad Plate
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 27
Brass Desk Ink Well
Silent Auction Bid – $15.00

Lot 28
Handmade Jewelry – created for Civil War reenactment dress
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 29
Dinner Plate
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 30
Flo Blue Serving Dish – small chip under the rim
Silent Auction Bid – $10.00

Lot 31
Royal Albert 8″ Quiche Dish – Bone China – Royal Doulton
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 32
Royal Albert Salad Plate – Bone China – Royal Doulton
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 33
Ticker Tape Parade Toy
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 34
Oriental Flower Brick (vase)
Silent Auction Bid – $0.00

Lot 35
1925 Kenworth Truck Bank
Silent Auction Bid – $12.99

Lot 36
Handmade Jewelry – Made with Vintage Pieces
Silent Auction Bid – $5.00

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 68 Comments »

Saturday in Petersburg

Aug. 12th 2012

After we got up and got our things together, we bid Mrs. Roy “Au revoir” and headed down to Robert’s house, the antique dealer from Petersburg. His house was built in 1879. When he purchased it, it had been converted into an apartment building.

Robert’s house

Robert walked us around the yard showing us the flowers he had and the architectural details of his home. In the back, he showed us the area where the carriage house used to stand. Today, all that is left is a single wall of this late 1800s building. Just to the front of it stood a more modern carriage house that was built in the 1930s. This building has been converted into an small office building.

The 1800s Carriage House wall. The holes in the wall would have been the windows for the horses.

The 1930s Carriage House door

Robert’s back yard was filled with flowers and trees. He walked us to the back section where he had a line of bushes that made another section of the backyard into a small secret garden.

We made our way back around the house and up to the front door. This door reminded me of La Villa Romaine’s front door. It was about 12 feet tall and had an inner and outer set of doors. Once inside the hallway reminded me again of a smaller version of La Villa Romaine’s hall. The room wasn’t as large, but it had a similar basic layout. We first entered the Formal Parlor and were greeted with tons of wonderful antiques. What would have been the day room at La Villa Romaine had been turned into another Formal Parlor at Robert’s house.

Fireplace in Formal Parlor – this looks like marble, but its wood painted to look like marble!

Next we moved into the library. Here Robert had his own personal antiques as well as items for his booth. It was so hard not to look and buy! There were so many things I could have taken home! We then moved into the Formal Dining room. This room also had more antiques. Robert was showing me his china with a gold border and had stated that he was thinking of changing his china. Of course my first thought was how many place settings do you have! I am always thinking about Belle Grove! He also showed us a set of Ship Bells that would have been used to call passagers to a meal. I wonder if that would work at Belle Grove?



Formal Dining Room

Formal Dining Room – Fireplace – Wood, not marble

Formal Dining Room – Ship Bells

One thing that Robert was very proud of was his ceiling medallions. He knows Mrs. Roy and has seen hers. He told us that most of her ceiling medallions are reproductions. He stated that he has five original medallions in his home. I missed getting one of the though. I missed the one in the library. I think it was because I was so busy looking at the antiques!

Front Hall

Front Parlor

Rear Parlor

Dining Room

After our tour of the downstairs, we headed upstairs to see his room set up. This is where Robert’s house and La Villa Romaine differed. Robert’s floor plan didn’t have the long hallway as La Villa Romaine. It had a short landing area for a hall with four smaller rooms off from it. Three of the rooms were bedrooms and one room Robert had devoted to his Lionel train collection. This room was in the works so we didn’t take pictures up on the second floor. But once it is completed, it will be something wonderful to see!

We thanked Robert for opening his home and promised to return soon. Robert and I have been talking about going to an auction he knows about in the area to look for some good buys for Belle Grove. I have to say, meeting Robert was really good luck for us!

After our visit with Robert, we headed back over to the Old Towne area of Petersburg to walk around a bit and look at more antiques. After all the tours and walking, we decided to get a lite lunch before heading out. So I suggested we stop at the Blue Willow Tea Room on Old Street. Since I have been shopping for tea items and we are going to be doing tea socials at Belle Grove, I want to try as many tea rooms to get ideas for our teas.

The tea room was warm and inviting and filled with tea antiques and art. The ceiling detail was also very eye catching. We settled on having a Full Afternoon Tea. Pam, our wait staff, offer me several selections of hot teas and I decided it was going to be an Earl Grey day. Brett isn’t much for hot tea, so he enjoyed a cold beverage of real Ginger Ale.

 Our first course was two homemade scones with Devonshire cream and Carrot Jam. The scones were one plain and one blueberry. Our next course was a soup du jour. I selected a cold gazpacho and Brett had a cheese and broccoli. I missed taking a photo of these. When we got them, we both ate them up so fast. They were delicious!

Our next course was the tower of food. The bottom section were our tea sandwiches. The center was a selection of pastries. The top section was our sweets and fruits.

Tea Sandwiches


For our tea sandwiches, we had Brie Wraps with lettuce and tomato, Ham and Cheese on Rye with a Devilish Mustard, Pickled Cucumbers and Radish on a French Bagette with a Herb Spread, and Smoked Salmon with Cream Cheese and Dill on a Small Bagel. For our pastries, we had Cheese Pennies, Chicken Salad in a tart cup, Spanakopita, and Canapes with Pesto, Tomato and Mozzarella. For our sweets and fruit we had Cream filled Cannoli, Rowena’s Almond Pound Cake with Raspberry Sauce and Whipped Cream, Fudge Brownies and a Fruit Skewer.

The food was divine! It doesn’t look like a ton of food, but by the time we finished, Brett said he felt stuffed. I enjoyed every bit and was taking notes in my head as we ate. I had told Pam, our wait staff about Belle Grove Plantation and she had informed the owner, Sid about it. He made a point to stop at our table and invited us next door to Pennington Antiques which was connected to the tea room after our tea. As I was paying, Pam offered to take us back into the kitchen to show us around  and we met “Hersey” another member of the wait staff. Kirsten (Hersey) spent some time talking to us about our plantation and talking about running a tea room.

The Blue Willow Tea Room
Sid – Owner and the Staff

We then made our way next door to Pennington Antiques and spoke to Sid for a few minutes. It didn’t take long for Brett and I to start wandering around the store looking at the antiques and discussing if we could use any items there for Belle Grove. Afterwards, we headed back to the car and started towards our next stop.

I have to say, visiting Petersburg over the last two weekends has really opened my eyes to the location. It doesn’t seem to get the tourism that Williamsburg or Richmond might get, but I think people are really missing out on a great stop. The people are really open and friendly. The places to see are endless. And the city and its people seem to really care about improving their places. And most of all the cost doesn’t break the bank!

So if you are traveling down I-95 and need a place to stop for the night, or are into antiques and history or would just love a wonderful cup of tea with great Southern hospitality, Brett and I would recommend a stop in Petersburg!

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A Little Unscheduled Stop

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