Berry Hill Plantation

May. 24th 2012

In researching other plantations, we wanted to make sure that we looked within our own state of Virginia. We searched for a plantation that was being used as a bed and breakfast so we could take notes of things we want to do, things we don’t want to do and things that we never thought of. This brought us to the Berry Hill Plantation in South Boston, Virginia.

This plantation sits on 650 acres and is one of the largest plantations in Virginia. The main house was built in 1842 by James Coles Bruce, a Virginia delegate ad landowner. The main house was modeled after the Second Bank of the United States in Philadelphia and is a great example of Greek Revival architecture.

When you arrive, you drive along a long tree lined drive way that rolls pass fields that are dotted with old stone slaves quarters. In the distances you see on a small hill, what looks like a Parthenon style home with a circular drive. On either side are two smaller versions of the main house.

As you enter the main foyer, you are greeted by a sweeping floating staircase that is a copy of the same staircase in the Second Bank of the United States.

On the left side of the home, you have the formal parlor and library rooms.

Just behind the library are windows that look out into the conservatory and back court yard.

On the right side of the home are rooms that have been turned into a small restaurant called the Carrington. These rooms are filled with family photos and are decorated in period style.

The back courtyard has two wings extending off the back. One is the newer Reception Hall, the other is the older Kitchen.

The main house has two bedrooms suites, both upstairs. They include a full bathroom and a separate sitting room.

Berry Hill has been turned into a conference center as well. You wouldn’t know it coming up to the main house, but behind a small hill is a 92 room hotel and conference center. It offers an indoor pool, spa, exercise room, his / her saunas and tennis court. They also offer guided historic tours of the main house. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Reception Hall opens to the public for brunch. On our visit here, we had the chance to meet the owner, who lives in Baltimore and had a chance to discuss the ins and outs of his B&B. Their main focus is on Business Conferences and Weddings.

The one thing that struck us about Berry Hill was the architectural detail the main house had as well as the historic significance of the home and grounds. Below are some of the details that caught our eye.

Formal Parlor Fireplace Detail

Front Column

View down stairs

Former Call Bells

Gable Detail

Formal Parlor Ceiling Detail

Formal Parlor Chandelier


Front Hall Chandelier

Stone Slave Cabin Ruins

Library window shutters

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 45 Comments »

O bed! O bed! delicious bed!

May. 21st 2012

“O bed!  O bed!  delicious bed!  That heaven upon earth to the weary head.” 

 Thomas Hood

 As we start working on gathering the furnishings for our bed and breakfast, the first thing that came to mind was the bedrooms. More important, the bed. The bed is the anchor piece of the room. From it all other pieces will be selected and the overall impress as you walk in the room will come from it. So it is very important to choose the right bed for whatever statement you want to make for that room.

With this in mind, we started looking closely at beds about seven months ago. The plantation has four bedrooms, two master suites upstairs and two junior suites downstairs. The first thing we decided was the names we wanted for each room. Those came around August or September of last year. We had been doing a lot of research on the history and families that called this plantation home, so we decided to name each of the rooms in honor of those families who worked to create the plantation we know today. (I can’t tell you the names just yet because it would be a dead giveaway of where this house is and what the name is. Legal stuff… Argh!) The one thing we decided as far as furnishings was to create each room as a step back into that family’s time period. But we also want the room to have that “Wow” impression when you walk in. So as we looked, we tried to keep both ideas in mind. Thank goodness we decided to work with an interior designer. I would never be able to do this on my own!

So we wanted to share with you some of the beds that have fueled our inspiration. They are from all our travels as we researched other plantations and their decor. I can’t say these are going to be what we have, but you can see what we are shooting for.

Nottoway Plantation Louisiana

Houmas House Plantation Louisiana

Destrehan Plantation Lousiana

Berry Hill Plantation Virginia

Nottoway Plantation Louisiana

Houmas House Plantation Louisana

Destrehan Plantation

Berry Hill Plantation Louisiana

Houmas House Plantation Louisiana

Nottoway Plantation Louisiana

Detreshan Plantation Louisiana

Nottoway Plantation Louisiana

“The bed has become a place of luxury to me!  I would not exchange  it for all the thrones in the world.”      

Napoleon Bonaparte

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 46 Comments »