Berry Fun Weekend
This weekend Brett and I headed up to Fredericksburg and did some side road traveling to get to know the area a little better. What is so much fun about doing this is you tend to come across places you never knew where there. It’s like little surprises around each corner.
The first surprise came as we traveled over to Bowling Green, Virginia. Bowling Green is a small town just outside Fort A.P. Hill along Route 301. It is the location that the Union detachment found Willie Jett, the Confederate soldier who assisted John Wilkes Booth and David Herald across the Rappahannock River and sent them to Garrett’s Farm. Garrett’s Farm is just a few miles from Bowling Green.
Bowling Green is lined with beautiful old homes and a quaint small town square. As we were driving along, I would point out each of the houses and say, “Look at that one! I think I must have been saying that through most of the trip through town. As we came out of town just by the exit to I-95, we decided to turn around and go back through. That is when I caught sight of a home I missed just minutes before.
Sitting back behind a beautiful entry gate and a long drive and green sat what looked like a colonial home. There was a sign on the gate saying “Estate Sale” with Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s date. I quickly asked Brett to turn around. I told him we had to go. Not to buy anything (unless I found something) but to see the inside of this house.
As we walked up to the front door, you could see that it was in fact a colonial home. The sidewalk leading to the door was lined with tall boxwoods and the drive was lined with beautiful old trees. On the porch was a board with some of the history of the home. I would later find out it was called “Bowling Green Farm”. One of the owners informed us that the main house had been built in 1740 and the back kitchen section was built in 1791.
The main house was four room downstairs and four rooms upstairs. In the middle was a beautiful old stairway that turned its way up to the second floor. Through the dining room was the door that leads to the kitchen area. You entered a small room that could have been a small dining room. Through a door at the back of the room you walked into a small stair case area, more than likely a servant stairs. On to the back room which would have been the kitchen with its larger fireplace.
If you heading up the servant stairs, you come upon two more rooms. These could have been servant rooms or children’s rooms. They were very plain and no detail, as most of the house. The only rooms that had more details where the front hallway and parlor. We didn’t get a chance to see the back yard, but through a window you could see a small sitting garden. I am sure there was a lot more if we had been about to see it. In the front windows, you could see the view of the front drive. Just beautiful.
From Bowling Green, we headed down Route 2 heading towards Fredericksburg. It had been my hope to see a sign that showed us where Mount Sion Plantation was located. This is the plantation that Captain Francis Conway and his wife Elizabeth moved to once they sold Belle Grove to John Hipkins. It is my hope to find out where it is and who lives there. I would like to see if there is a family cemetery and if so if Captain Conway is buried there. We didn’t find it… yet.
From there, we headed back down Route 17 towards Port Royal, then up Route 301 passing by Belle Grove. They are working on the highway, so traffic was really busy so we decided not to stop at the plantation. We are going to be there next weekend, so I was okay with not seeing it up close. We then turned onto Route 3 (Kings Highway) heading towards the historic site of George Washington’s birthplace and Stratford Hall, home of Robert E. Lee and his family.
As we made our way down the road, we came up on a sign for Westmoreland Berry Farm. We have passed this sign many times, but today we decided to stop. As we pulled into the farm, we were greeted with fields and fields of fruit trees. I loved the signs at the front of each one of the fields informing the public that these trees were not open for “pick your own”. Immediately Dorothy and the Scarecrow came to mind as they picked apples from someone else’s trees.
The farm was just beautiful. The main shop sits at the top of a ridge and overlooks a small valley that leads down to the Rappahannock River. It was breath taking. Then we saw the biggest entertainment located just to the side. On top of a pole was a platform and standing on this platform was a small goat. He was eating feed that kids from below where sending up along a rope pulley. The platform was connected to a walkway that crossed over the road way and down into the goat enclosure. There at the fence line were more goats enjoying feed from adults. It was sweet!
We were drawn over to the fence where we too feed the goats and admired their wonderful horns. There was one larger goat who did bully his way into getting most of the feed, but after he would move on to others with handfuls feed, the other goats cleaned up the feed that had dropped from the hands as the larger one fed. My favorite was a smaller goat just relaxing on another platform with no care in the world.
We turned to head back as a tractor came up the road from the small valley. Behind the tractor were smiling faces of people who had just enjoyed the beautiful views of the valley and crops and the view of the river. From the opposite side came another tractor pulling a small line of cow painted cars with small kids enjoying a short ride along the road of the farm.
Inside the shop we found some wonderful surprises. Along the wall were homemade preserves, jelly and jams as well as sauces made by Westmoreland Berry Farm from their own crops. There were homemade pies and baked goods made from the berries and fruits from the farm. We even found honey that was made locally!
We made a point to mean the store manager and farm manager while we were here. We found out that they not only grow local fruits and berries, but they also produce a wide range of local vegetables. Brett and I were so excited to hear this. The farm isn’t but 10 minutes from Belle Grove and will be a wonderful vendor for our fresh fruits and vegetables! The only time we will have to find another vendor will be during their down season of December to March. I can just see the wonderful dishes I will be able to serve to our guest using these local produce! Yum!
From there we head back down Route 3 admiring the many small Virginia towns. Places that had been there for centuries. Farms and Farm homes lined the highway and gave you a sense of what this area is really like. While Route 17 and I-95 will get you to where you are going fast, Route 3 will show you what life is like in old Virginia. It was nice to slow down on the way home. What we would have missed if we hadn’t done so.
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You make me homesick for the beautiful homes in the south. When I was a teen I was fortunate enough to do some house tours in Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. I had almost convinced myself that I was exaggerating their beauty in my memories.
South Carolina… now you are making me homesick 😉 Well, we hope you might find your way to the plantation one day and experience the beauty again!
Beautiful pictures. I haven’t been to Frederiskburg in years. Now I want to go!
You should soon. Like March or April next year! I know of good bed and breakfast for you to stay at during your visit!
Cute. I’d love to be there.
The life you present through your writings is absolutely bucolic. Though I have lived in the DC Metropolitan area for 10 years, I haven’t yet visited Fredericksburg. Your posts and photos are truly inspirational, and I think both my son and I would enjoy a day trip. Best, ~ Ayanna
Thank you! We hope once we open you might find your way down to the plantation. Nothing wrong with a little country on the weekends. We hope to see you and your son!
Lovely post – thank you for taking me there. I am surprised you both find time to continue to explore and investigate around you – there must be so much to do at your place.
Thank you! At this point we are at a stand still waiting for the zoning to be approved. This keeps us busy and allows us to experience what we will later promote to others. So when you come and say, “What is there to do?” We will have the answers.
Terrific post and pics. What gorgeous colours in the sunset.
It was such a beautiful sunset. I was imaging that in the distance I could see Belle Grove and how the warm color of that sunset was bathing the Riverside of the manor house at Belle Grove. And how one day we will all be sitting there on the Riverside balcony sipping our mint juleps and watching the “show”.
Love the pictures and it confirms for me that Virginia is a beautiful state.
Thank you! It truly is a beautiful state!
You love to do the same things we love to do: Get out and explore! Thanks for this post. It offers great descriptions of a new region to see! http://ohtheplaceswesee.com
Thank you! There isn’t anything more fun than to see what is around the next corner! We hope to see you one day at the plantation!
Thanks for sharing your tour through the house. Delightful.
It was such a great surprise! I found out today that the original name was the Old Mansion. Thank you!
Local, in season produce! The best way to cook! Looks like you have a fantastic trip, road work aside.
I tell you, I can’t wait until next season!! I know, I did miss not going to the plantation and being so close. But next weekend is just four days away!
How charming. It sounds like a good trip.
It really was a great trip. Route 3 is one of my favorite drives. It has so much undiscovered corners.
i would give up my home here to be a live in housekeeper for any of these homes you show………..this is how much i love what your blog represents and everything about it i fall in love with each home, including yours
Oh Terry, we have to get you here some day! I know it would be so much fun for you!
it would be my dream world come true
What a lovely post. It’s as if I’m really there! I’m so glad you were able to stop at Bowling Green farm to look around, and it looks like the berry farm was wonderful as well. Places like that are such fun to visit (and I like to can, so they are dangerous, too—ha!).
Love hearing that you took Route 3, too; pretty sure my wheels have hit that one. The old routes are always the best. Fast is nothing—it tends to be dull, too! Give me the old roads. 🙂 They really show the true character of our country.
So true so true!
lovely photos..liked the ones of Westmoreland Berry Farm..
Thank you. It was a lot of fun and we will be returning again next week! Yum!
I hope you’re cataloging all this in some organized way so that when I come visit you at Belle Grove you’ll have driving tour maps to hand out.
We are working on tours for the plantation so people can pick and chose what to do. It will have people to know where to go and where not to go.
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