Another First

Jul. 23rd 2013


On Saturday, Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast saw another first!

Our First Wedding!

We would like to introduce


Mr. and Mrs. Travis Cousins!

Surrounded by a handful of family and friends


Travis and Stephanie

exchanged their vows on our balcony overlooking the river 

on Saturday, July 20, 2013

We would like to wish them a wonderful new life together! 

Thank you for coming to Belle Grove Plantation and allowing us to share your special day!



















Officiant was Tamara Riley of

No Ordinary Ordained

No Ordinary Ordained

Photography was by

Mary Chamberlin of


Chamberlin Photography

To see more “first”

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Thank you!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Belle Grove History, Darnell History | 22 Comments »

See Belle Grove Plantation in the New Issue of Brides and Weddings of Northern Virginia!

Jul. 6th 2013

B&W July 2013

We are so excited to announce that

Belle Grove Plantation

has a wonderful piece in the new issue of

Brides and Weddings of Northern Virginia Magazine!

This magazine is the ultimate guide for Wedding Planning for the Northern Virginia Bride!

This publication is designed to give brides helpful planning tools and up to date information on the Northern Virginia Wedding scene. The Publisher and Editor, Cindie Reinhold found her inspiration after seeing a need in the marketplace for a quality-oriented planning guide to help bride locate wedding resources. Using the knowledge and expertise of countless industry professional, Brides and Weddings offer editorial content that help brides create their dream weddings while saving time, stress and money.

You can view a digital copy of this new issue by going to:

Find Belle Grove Plantation’s article and let us know what you think!


Keep up with that is going on at Belle Grove Plantation

Facebook Link

Visit our Facebook Fan Page!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 14 Comments »

Vendor Fair at Belle Grove Plantation

May. 25th 2013

We would like to announce that we will be conducting our first

Wedding Vendor Fair at Belle Grove Plantation!

Vendor Fair June 2013

This fair is for all Wedding Professionals that would like to work with Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast on future Social and Corporate Events at Belle Grove Plantation.

We would like to invite you to come if you are a


Wedding Planner /Coordinator



Photographer / Videographer

Entertainers / Musician / Singer

Limousine Service

Bridal Wear / Formal Wear

Rental Service

Make-Up Artist / Hairdresser

Jennifer Lay Bowden 09-12 8

 The fair will be Sunday, June 30, 2013 from noon to 4pm at

Belle Grove Plantation

For more information or to register, please email us at

Space will be limited so please register early.

We look forward to seeing you at the plantation!

Jennifer Lay Bowden 09-12 12

To see more about Belle Grove Plantation

Facebook Link

Please visit our Facebook Fan Page!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History | 9 Comments »

Field of Dreams

Jan. 13th 2013
Hurley on the way to the Plantation

Hurley on the way to the Plantation

Saturday was just amazing! I know you must have heard this phrase”

“If you build it, they will come”

Field of Dreams

Well, we found out how true that phrase really is this weekend!

When we drove to the plantation on Saturday, we were amazed by the amount of fog we encountered. It just seems to go on and on forever. Just as we got to the plantation, we were still amazed the fog wasn’t lifting. This made me sad because that meant we wouldn’t get to see the eagles. Brett did catch sight of two later in the afternoon, flying just above the river, but it was just too hard to see them.

View from the Riverside Portico. You can't even see the river!

View from the Riverside Portico.
You can’t even see the river!

We had three appointments for Saturday. Our first was with our favorite archaeologists from Ferry Farm. It was their first time at the plantation and we couldn’t wait to show them around. The two archaeologists, Mara and Jason have been helping us date our artifacts for the last year. They brought along a group with them that wanted to see it as well.

Ferry Farm Group(l to r) Mara, Joe, Lu, Kyle, Jason and Nona

Ferry Farm Group
(l to r) Mara, Joe, Lu, Kyle, Jason and Nona

We first toured the Mansion. As we were almost finished, I looked up to see a truck coming up the drive. I knew we had another appointment, so I thought they are just a little early. So I had Brett take over with our friends from Ferry Farms and I stepped out on the front portico. The truck had stopped at the front gate, so I waved them in. When they pulled in, I realized that they were not our appointment. They were a couple from Gloucester, Virginia that had happened up on the plantation. They had come back to get a better look at the house. So I offered a tour of the Mansion while they were there.

As Brett finished up on the Mansion with the Ferry Farm group, I had just finished up with the couple on the first floor of the Mansion. So we changed groups and I headed out to the outbuildings with the Ferry Farm group and Brett finished showing the house to the couple from Gloucester.

I was so excited to have the archaeologist look at the outbuildings. I have only had them reviewed by photographs, so no one had really looked at them to give us an idea of their true age. Joe, Mara’s fiancé knows a lot about historic architecture, so I was hoping he could give us a better idea of the dates.

Inside the Summer Kitchen

Inside the Summer Kitchen

Inside the Summer Kitchen

Inside the Summer Kitchen

In the Slave Quarter side of the Summer Kitchen

In the Slave Quarter side of the Summer Kitchen

At the Smokehouse

At the Smokehouse

While looking at them, we did find two small artifacts. One bottle neck, that was dated sometime in the 20th century and a small shard that could have been a cup or saucer bottom. There wasn’t much to the shard so it was hard to give a true date to it.

An artifact is found!

An artifact is found!

As I was showing them the outbuildings, our second appointment arrived. This person is with a chapter of the Colonial Dames of America. She is looking to set up a meeting and luncheon for her group in 2014. They came over and joined the group from Ferry Farms as we finished up with the outbuildings.

The rough estimate we got on the outbuildings is as follows:

Summer Kitchen

Summer Kitchen

The Summer Kitchen / Slave Quarter are really just that. We had a rough date from photographs as it being sometime around 1790. Joe feels that it could be mid to late 1800s. He noted that it is unusual for there to be a wood structure that has been bricked in. So we may have had a brick structure that they covered later with wood. We need to have someone look closer into that.

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse

The Smokehouse is not 1790s as we thought. It was build last and could date around the mid to late 1800s. We do know that the roof has been replaced since its last use because there is no smoke stains on the ceiling, just the walls and roof framing.

Ice House

Ice House

The Icehouse may be 1790s or even earlier. Joe feels that it was not like the others in construction and could date earlier than the other two. Of course we don’t have the ice pit open. It was filled in long ago. Once we get a chance, we will see about digging out the pit and see what we can find.

After we finished up with the outbuildings, we said our good-byes to our Ferry Farm friends. I then took our appointment into the house for a tour. As we got half way done with our tour, the first couple from Gloucester finished and left. I finished showing the Mansion to our appointment and discussing our ideas for their meeting and luncheon.

As I finished with their appointment, I saw another car pull in. Again I thought it was our third appointment and that they were just a little early. As I walked our second appointment to the front door, Brett came in with an young couple. He informed me that they weren’t our third appointment. They were a couple from the area that had taken a chance to stop by and see if we were going to do weddings at Belle Grove! So we invited them to come in as our second appointment left.

Before we got started with their tour, our third appointment arrived. Brett greeted them and brought them in. We gave a tour to the final group and talked about our vision for the Mansion and plantation. As we finished up, the unexpected couple gave us their information and thanked us for the tour. We were able to sit down with our last appointment and answer some of their questions about a Bridal shoot at the plantation.


Yes, if you build it, they will come. Whew…

The whole time we were giving the tours and talking with the groups, Hurley made himself at home. He was ready to greet the Ferry Farm group at the door with they first arrived. And he followed everyone through the house, making sure that everyone felt loved and welcomed. As our last appointment got ready to leave, Hurley had to be the last one to say good-bye. As they walked to their car, he quickly ran over to say good-bye again.

Of course, we didn’t get to one brick pulled on Saturday. No sun and the air were really cool. The fog never lifted and we even drove home in fog at 5pm. But it didn’t stop us from have a wonderful time with our guest, expected and unexpected. Brett and I also showed that as a team we could really work well together! I don’t know what I would have done without him!

After we got home Hurley passed out

After we got home Hurley passed out

After we arrived home, it didn’t take Hurley long to pass out. I think he really got a workout at the plantation. Running all over the grounds, walking up and down stairs and making sure everyone was okay. Of course we did have a few times that he acted kind of “funny”. While Brett was showing the two Junior Suites, he heard Hurley whimper. Brett stepped out of the doorway of one of the Junior Suites to see Hurley standing at the threshold between the Parlor and Library. You have to go through the Parlor and Library to get to the Junior Suites. Brett called for Hurley to come to him, but Hurly just stood there and wouldn’t come into the library. Hurley also had an issue in the Madison Room. He wouldn’t go into the bathroom from the bedroom and just stood at the doorway. Funny thing is that later he walked right in to both rooms when we returned with other groups. Humm…

Hurley, the door greeter

Hurley, the door greeter

Hurley running the plantation

Hurley running the plantation

Hurley checking on the fog before we left to go home

Hurley checking on the fog before we left to go home

Hurley getting the last "good-bye" with our final appointment

Hurley getting the last “good-bye” with our final appointment

It was a great day at the Plantation!Brett and Hurley

It was a great day at the Plantation!
Brett and Hurley

Now we are preparing for the coming week. I get to travel Monday to Wednesday night for my current job. The best part is that I am going to Washington DC / Maryland. I will “have” to travel up past the plantation and back by it as I come home. It’s going to be hard to see it yet again this week. Sigh…

To see more photos of Belle Grove

Please visit our Facebook Page!

Facebook Link

Don’t forget to enter our 

“Official Cookie Contest!

Deadline is January 31st!

Cookie Contest 2013

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Hurley | 35 Comments »