Another day at the plantation and Hint #7

Jun. 4th 2012

Another great day at the plantation! We headed up on Saturday, this time with my sister Catherine, who is here from Alabama. Hurley, our plantation dog, decided to stay home with our son for a day of swimming. Catherine’s husband, Andrew is a video producer. He is working on an introduction video of the plantation for us. Catherine was helping us on Saturday with the reshoots.

Catherine working on the reshoot

When we arrived, the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. Not too hot and perfect for filming. While she looked around and figured what she wanted to shoot and the time we needed to do it, I hung back around the front portico of the house, exploring the ground around the base of the house. Since we have been working on this project, I have made it a point to keep my eyes open for artifacts that might be just lying around. We have a caretaker that lives there now and he has told us that artifacts show up all the time. He has found items such as bottles and Indian arrowheads and tools. In the short time I have been there, I have found a broken perfume bottle from Germany that dated to 1860, two blue and white plate shards and lots of coal. This Saturday was no exception.


The house was restored from 1997 to 2003. During the restoration, they pulled out several old nails and just discarded them. I found a pile of them around the horse hitching post in the front and along the base of the house.

Green and White Plate Shards

White Dish Shards

Blue and White Plate Shards

I also found two more plate shards, this time green and white. As I was walking between the outbuildings and the old barn site, I found three more white dish shards. And of course more coal. What is so amazing is that it is just sitting on the surface of the ground. No digging involved. I have to admit I love finding the plate shards. It’s like having a connection to those that came before. Maybe one day we can find a whole piece! Wouldn’t that be grand!

Once we got the video we needed for that time of day, we headed out to allow the sun to set. The sun sets on the Riverside of the house and baths the house in a golden warm glow. We wanted to capture that on the video. So we spent our time visiting some of the local attractions. One of our stops was back at Ingleside Winery. There we did a wonderful tasting! We even got lucky. They had opened one of the Virginia Gold bottles and allowed us to taste it as well. This one is not on the tasting list. It was one of the best wines from Ingleside that we have had and it has the awards to prove it. After the tastings, we received a free private tour of the winery with one of the funniest tour guides we have ever met. It has long been a dream of Catherine’s to have a vineyard and winery so this was up her alley. Who knows maybe one day she and Andrew can move up and run a vineyard on our plantation!

Once we completed the tour, we head out to one of the best cakery and candy stores we have ever been to. It’s called Mary’s Cakery & Candy Kitchen. When you walk into this store, you immediately go into a diabetic coma. The chocolate smell is so thick in the air that I think I gain at least five pounds on the smell alone!

Mary has been making cakes and candy for years. She learned her craft from a 75 year old man who worked in Hersey, Pennsylvania. I have to tell you, her creations would have Willie Wonka asking questions.

Chocolate “Rocks”

She also creates some of the most decadent cakes you have ever tasted.

One of Mary’s biggest weapons is her husband, Jim or as everyone knows him, “Mr. Mary”.  Jim works the store while Mary and her staff create the masterpieces you will find there. Jim makes sure that each and every customer is greeted and has at least two or three samples before they go. In our case, Brett ended up with about ten candy samples and two cupcakes before we left the first time!

Mary’s Chocolate Truffles

By the time we finished at the candy store, we rolled ourselves back out to the car to head back to the plantation, just in time for sunset. We allowed Catherine to do her video work while Brett and I walked the plantation again. Most of the time we spent sitting on the rivers bluff looking out at the river and watched our resident osprey.




We have a mating couple of osprey that we are told return each year from April to September. The only issue is that they have chosen to nest on one of the main chimneys. In doing some research, we have discovered that once they have left the nest for the season, we can put up a new nesting site on a pole stand close to the house, using their last nest to encourage them to move. We will then have to place something on the chimneys to keep them from nesting there next year. From what we understand, these two ospreys had to defend this nest at the beginning of the season from two eagles. I hear it was a great sky battle that would have been a sight to see. But the osprey won the day and was able to nest again for another season. We have named them as well. We affectionately call them “James” and “Dolley”. We hope to have them return for many years to come. We also hope to see the bald eagles in the area from time to time. It is such a grand sight to see!

New Hint!

Hint One:

Captain John Smith sailed up the river that runs by this plantation in 1608 and noted the Indian settlements along the river banks.

Hint Two:

George Washington was a frequent visitor to this plantation.

Hint Three:

It’s not Williamsburg or the area around Williamsburg.

Hint Four:

Two famous Virginians were born on this plantation. Both were very good with words.

Hint Five: 

The town located across the river from this plantation once was under consideration for Nation’s Capital.

Hint Six:

An assassin passed through this plantation on the way to his death.

Hint Seven:

Name the birds.

Advice – Read other’s comments. If someone guesses correctly, I do tell them. We have had one person name the plantation. If you name it, there is a special treat for you!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 94 Comments »