Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail

Sep. 4th 2013


Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail meeting. This group of award-winning wineries and vineyard run along the Northern Neck of Virginia. Starting in King George and running down to New Kent, Virginia, these location are in and around some of the most beautiful areas of Virginia.

Wine Trail Map

During this meeting, I met with most of the wineries. The meeting took place at General’s Ridge Vineyards. As I pulled in to the vineyard, I have to say I was very overwhelmed with the beauty of the vineyards and the Manor House standing at the back.


As I drove up the drive, I could see that they were busy harvesting the grapes. I don’t know if you know this, but they pick them all by hand! No machines! Talk about lots of work!


I got to the back of the vineyard and got a good look at the Manor House on the hill. It is a beautiful old plantation home that stands watch over the fields.


When I parked to go into the meeting, I was right beside the fields. Look at how heavy these vines are with “ready to pick” grapes! It was so hard not to reach over and take some!

After the meeting, I got to see some of the grapes that had been harvested.

First them place them into small boxes.


Then they move them to larger boxes.


When I was standing there, a couple of the owners from other wineries reach in and took a few.

So did I! Yum!

The Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail has 10 Wineries and Vineyards,


8215 Oak Crest Drive,
King George, VA 22485
Lat: 38.0567
Long: -76.2561

Hours: Apr 1-Dec 23, Wed-Sun 10am-5pm, or by appointment. Closed Easter & Thanksgiving.



5872 Leedstown Rd.,
Oak Grove, VA 22443
Lat: 38.1538
Long: -77.0049

Hours: Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun Noon-5pm, summer daily-6pm



2570 Newland Road
Warsaw, VA 22572
Lat: 37.9997
Long: -76.8215

Hours: Mar -Dec 15, Wed-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun Noon-5pm
or by appointment



1618 Weldons Dr.
Hague, VA 22469
Lat: 38.03011
Long: -76.66772

Hours: Thurs 12-5pm, Fri 12-7pm, Sat 12-6pm, Sun 12-5pm.

804-472-3172 or
703-203-7216 for Winery Accommodations


2953 Kings Mill Rd.
P.O. Box 128
Routes 601 & 602
Kinsale, VA 22488
Lat: 38.0159
Long: -76.6238

Hours: Feb 13 -Dec, Thur-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun, Noon-5pm, or by appointment.
Summer open until 6pm
Jan-Feb 13, Fri, Sat & Sun 11am-5pm
Closed Jan 12 & 13



3138 Jessie Dupont Memorial Hwy
Heathsville, VA 22473
Lat: 37.8457
Long: -76.370

Hours: Jan-April, Fri-Sun Noon-5pm,
May-Dec, Wed-Sun Noon-6pm

804-580-4944  or 804-580-7327


619 Train Lane
Wicomico Church, VA 22579
Lat: 37.803100
Long: -76.33690

Hours: Apr-Dec, Wed-Sat 11am-5pm
Sunday 11am-3pm



1025 Good Luck Road
Kilmarnock, 22482
Lat: 37.739448
Long: -76.380622

Hours: Thursday and Saturday from 11am to 6pm, on Friday from 11am to 8pm and Sunday from Noon to 5pm.
Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas



170 White Fences Drive
P.O. Box 677
Irvington, VA  22480
Lat: 37.6673
Long: -76.4147

Hours: Thur-Mon, 11am-6pm

804-438-WINE (9463)


8400 Old Church Road
New Kent, Virginia 23124
Lat: 37.5258
Long: -77.0751

Hours: Tues-Sun 10am-6pm


So come and enjoy a glass of wine and taste the harvest this year on the Northern Neck!

Start your “Trail Run” at Belle Grove Plantation!


Most of these Wineries and Vineyards will be at the Stratford Hall Wine and Oyster Festival Saturday, September 21st and Sunday, September 22nd. This festival is a great opportunity to taste the regional wines and enjoy a wonderful weekend at the plantation!

Thank you to all the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail Owners for the invitation and to Terri of General’s Ridge for making sure

We hope to see you soon at the plantation!

To see what is going on at the plantation

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Thank you!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Darnell History, Food and Recipes | 7 Comments »

Virginia House

Oct. 24th 2012

After our lunch at the Can Can Brasserie in Carytown, Terri, Brett and I headed to our next appointment. We were scheduled to take a tour of the Virginia House and its gardens. The Virginia House is a country home located a hillside overlooking the James River. The house was owned by Alexander and Virginia Weddell in the early 20th century. Alexander Weddell purchased the home in England and brought it here to Richmond for his new bride Virginia. The house was name Virginia House for her.

Alexander Weddell

Virginia Weddell

The house is constructed from the stonework of the 16th Century Warwick Priory. It was originally located on the grounds of the former Priory of the Augustinian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem in Warwick, England, founded in 1109. After the Monasteries were closed the property was purchased by a fishmonger named Thomas Hawkins in 1536. He demolished most of the monastic buildings and built a house called “Hawk’s Nest”. He entertained Elizabeth I at the house. The property was bought in 1709 by the Royal Gardener to Queen Anne of England, Henry Wise. It was than purchased in the mid-19th century by the Lloyds Bank family and later put up for auction in 1925.

The auction took place in September, 1925 and was listed as a “Highly Important Unreserved Demolition Sale”. It would offer items like “rare old oak doors, large quantity of floor boards and the whole of the joists and other timbers and enormous quantities of excellent brick, sandstone, old oak and other beams, timbers and girders”. The Weddells would offer a lump sum of 3,500 pounds for the entire remaining structure. Because they were Americans, this caused an outrage in England. There was even a member of the House of Commons who called the sale an “act of vandalism”. However over time, it was shown what the Weddells intentions were for the house and in April, 1926, another member sent a letter to Mr. Weddell saying, “Had you not stepped in and bought the materials of the partially demolished structure, they would have been lost for all time, whereas now they will be utilised in the erection of a new building.”

As they started to dismantle the mansion, there became a concern that the stone would disintegrate during the demolition phase. Advisers then ordered that a small explosive device be set off in the center of the house and the remaining stones be salvaged. However, the explosion had the effect of splitting the walls intact and much of the building was salvaged and shipped to the United States. When it was loaded on three ships, they set off for the United States only to sink in the harbor due to the weight of the stonework. After being raised and reloaded, the stonework made its way to the US shore.

The first shipments arrived in Richmond, Virginia in the early 1926. But because the stone was soaked with seawater, it had to be allowed to dry in a barn for six months. The foundation was laid in November, 1925 and the house was officially turned over to the Weddells in January, 1929. The total cost of construction was $236,968.83 with an additional $15,000 for the lot.

From the beginning, the Weddells had planned to deed the house to the Virginia Historical Society. They would allocate the west wing as a museum. The Weddells lived in this beautiful home until their death in 1948. Both Alexander and Virginia Weddell and one of their servants, Violet, were killed in a train accident in. At their death, the house and ground became the permanent residence of the historic society. It would be added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

The house is a Tudor style, but incorporates designs from other English houses and has modern upgrades. The house has massive sandstone walls, medieval windows, two high Flemish gables, cross-gable roofs and crenelated balustrade. You can see a coat of arms commemorating the visit of Queen Elizabeth I to the Priory in England in 1572. This is not the original coat of arms. The original was removed and placed indoors to keep it from the outside elements.

Backside of the house

The stone is sandstone. When it was first cut in the middle ages, the stone cutter would stack stone he cut and then make his mark on the top so he could get paid. So the markings you see is someones mark from the 1100s!

Side Porch

Lead Stain Glass from the 1500s

Inside, the interior is embellished with oak furnishings. The house is filled with English and Spanish antiques. The first floor rooms are large, elaborate rooms used for entertaining. The second floor was the living quarters of the Weddells and their staff and has a large library.

Grand Hall

The grand entrance hall has high ceilings with oak panelware from the Warwickshire priory. The staircase is “L” shaped and was reconstructed from the original 16th Century staircase of the priory. It was repurchased from an antique store in London. It has an acanthus leaf newel cap and over scaled newel posts. The floor is a composite made up of terracotta, asphalt and wood shavings known as zenitherm.

Sitting Room

Sitting Room Ceiling

Rooms beyond the grand entrance hall also have oak paneling that came from another English manor house in Warwickshire. The floors are made of wide-plank oak and 15th Century stained glass oval window in the south wall, which come from the Warwick priory.

Door to Downstairs Bedroom
Note the Coat of Arms above the door
This was given to a home when royalty stayed at the home. This one is from a visit from Queen Elizabeth I

Bedroom with Antique Curved Bed


Alexander Weddell’s writing desk in his room

Dining Room

Wood Panel Painting

Sitting Room

When designing the gardens of the Virginia House, Virginia Weddell hired noted landscape architect Charles Gillette in 1927. Charles Gillette is noted for his use of Colonial Revival architecture. This is the reason we wanted to see the Virginia House. We wanted to get ideas for Belle Grove from its landscape. With 8 acres, Charles Gillette created a scenic garden that contained close to 1,000 types of ornamental plants, from formal spring tulip displays, hollies, magnolias, wisteria, roses and sprawling hydrangea drape balconies and garden railings. It took him twenty years to complete his landscape plan.


The first phase was an informal Tudor-style garden on 1 acre that used the steeply sloping hillside and used interconnecting cascading ponds, flagstone walkways and terraced garden beds. The second phase, in 1932 reworked the original plan by overlaying a cross-axis and planting further beds of flowers. The third phase in 1939 extended the landscape down towards the James River. This area was extensively planted grass and positioned evergreens in an asymmetrical pattern which Charles believed would demonstrate a romantic mirroring of the rambling architecture of the house.

To see all the pictures from Virginia House

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Tomorrow – Richmond’s Capital Square

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 51 Comments »

Week to Come

Oct. 11th 2012

Just 7 more hours of work and Brett and I will officially on vacation!


So what do we have plan for our week off?

Friday, Saturday and Sunday – The Plantation!

Monday – Meeting with Stratford Hall, Home of Robert E. Lee and his Family / Possible a Meeting with a Local Winery

Stratford Hall

Tuesday – Back to the house to regroup

Wednesday – Off to Richmond! We are going to the Historic Society of Virginia to view some of the Families Pictures and Portraits. Then we are going to tour Virginia House in Richmond. This is a historic home and gardens. We are going to see it with our dear friend Terri.

Virginia Historic Society

Virginia House

Thursday – We are going to the Virginia Executive Mansion! We have wanted to see it for a long time! Then it is off to Charlottesville to see our favorite lawyer, Brian. We could never have gotten through the contract without him! Then dinner out for our 26th Wedding Anniversary. Last year for our 25th we went to Louisiana and New Orleans to see 11 Southern Plantation! We are going to end the evening at a wonderful Bed and Breakfast in Orange, Virginia.

Virginia Executive Mansion

Friday – We are off to meet with the wonderful people at James Madison Museum in Orange, Virginia. Afterward we will be going to a meeting at Montpelier, James Madison home and where we fell in love with the history of James and Dolley Madison. After our meeting we are heading back to the Plantation!

James Madison Museum
Orange, Virginia


Saturday – We have another meeting with one of our other Wineries.

Sunday – Back home to Chesapeake.

It is going to be a very exciting week! We can’t wait to share our adventure and the tons of pictures I know I will be taking! We are going to try to get online throughout the week! So check back for updates!

Don’t forget to check out our Facebook page! We will be updating our status throughout our travels! If you haven’t “Liked” us on Facebook, please do! If you have, please consider sharing us with your friend!

We look forward to sharing! Thank you for all your support!

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 18 Comments »