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.

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 »