One Year Anniversary

01/04/14 7:41 PM

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(Belle Grove Plantation, One Year Ago)


(Belle Grove Plantation, Today)

Yes, can you believe it!

One year ago today, I moved into the Belle Grove Plantation mansion!

I sit here remembering the first day . . .

I arrived at twilight. I have to say, I was a little scare coming back to the mansion alone. I didn’t know what to expect, so I was happy to arrive with some light to find my way around.

Shortly after I arrived, I left to find something for dinner. I knew there was a Domino Pizza in King George, we had used them for an earlier Paranormal Tours Event. So I headed over. And to be honest, I really don’t like pizza, but I knew where it was and how to get to it.

I drove back to the plantation just as the light from the day was disappearing. I knew I didn’t have much time before I wasn’t be able to see. The plantation gets really dark at night. As I was driving down Port Conway Road, that connects Route 3 and Route 301, I did the unthinkable. A small bunny ran out across the road. The road is so curvy that I didn’t have time to react. Yes, I rolled the bunny! I looked into my rear view mirror and could see the little bunny rolling over and over behind my car.

I called Brett . . .

I was crying and tell Brett, “I can’t believe it! I have been here less than an hour and I have already killed an animal.” Poor Brett could only comfort me with his words. But it was just so sad.

By the time I arrived at the entry to the plantation, dark had overtaken. Driving down the lane, I was surprised to see a bank of fog moving across the field and filtering across the lane through our Red Cedar Trees.  My thought was, “This can’t be good.” I was beginning to wonder, what have I gotten myself into.

It was the first time I had started having doubts about my decision to do this. I was away from my family, I was alone in a strange and new place. I didn’t have anyone to talk to because I had not really made any friends. The only comfort was a call to Brett.

Of course looking back now, I know it was just the stress of being somewhere new. It had nothing to do with the plantation or our plans of creating this wonderful place. As time progressed and as I got down to work, my feelings changed. We started focusing on rebuilding the grounds and creating a beautiful place for others to come enjoy. I started working on the marketing to show others what I already knew. This plantation is something so special. It is a place to come relax and to reconnect with yourself and others. It is just so warm and inviting that it is hard not to want to be here.

Today, one year later, I am so proud of how far we have come. What we have accomplished. What we have improved. I am no longer scared of the fog. In fact, some of my best photos have come from the fog.  I don’t rush home to beat the dark because I’m not worried about what is larking inside. And I haven’t killed any more animals. Not a one.

But the best part of this year has been all the people we have come in contact with through this plantation. It just amazes me to think of who we have become friends with and who has walked through our doors. I can’t begin to tell you how each of you have changed our lives. Your support, your friendship, your words of encouragement and your prayers have been the backbone we have built our business on.

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Today, I stop (just for a moment) to remember where I have come from. I have grown so much in this year. Our business has grown so much. I am so excited about the future. And I pause to wonder what exciting and new things and people will walk into our lives. If this year is any indications, we are in for an exciting ride!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 8 Comments »

8 Comments on “One Year Anniversary”

  1. Jen Says:

    Someday, we are coming. I promise. And bringing the kids!

  2. Michelle Darnell Says:

    We can’t wait!

  3. Caroline Says:

    It’s been an amazing journey for you and I felt like I was on it with you. Wishing you every success in the coming years.

  4. Michelle Darnell Says:

    Thank you! I love sharing the journey with all of you!

  5. Jane Sadek Says:

    Amazing strides Michelle. My trip there seems to keep getting pushed back, but it’s still high on my list.

  6. Michelle Darnell Says:

    Thank you Jane! One day we will finally get to meet!

  7. Gregoryno6 Says:

    Congratulations! The driveway in the two photos tells the story – from dirt track to sweeping boulevarde.

  8. Michelle Darnell Says:

    Thank you for all your support!