From Tripadvisor

These are just a sample of reviews. You can read all our reviews by visiting our Tripadvisor page at

“Worth Every Penny”

“This was my Wife’s Christmas present this year. She loved it (so did I). It’s newly opened and the place is grand. Michelle and Brett are great hosts with deep knowledge of the history surrounding this wonderful plantation home. The rooms (both private and public) are tremendous. the decorum is age appropriate, the tubs are great for soaking and the beds comfortable. One thing I can say about the food is DON”t miss a bite. It would be nice if licking the plates was appropriate. The breakfast was by far the best I have ever had at any B&B or hotel (and that includes the Jefferson in Richmond)! Afternoon social hour was well worth us driving back from Fredricksburg so we wouldn’t miss a bite. . .”

January 2, 2014
Steve A.
Suffolk, Virginia

“Step back in time with a modern touch”

A beautifully restored 1700’s plantation home, birthplace of James Madison, is well decorated, giving one a real sense of “stepping back in time” with modern conveniences. Brett and Michelle are gracious hosts from the moment you pull up in the circular drive until they bid you a fond farewell. The home is spotlessly clean, the guest rooms are large and comfortable, the grounds are very well kept. Our evening snack and breakfast were delicious. Grand views of the river and sunsets are breathtaking! In a time when so many landmark structures are being torn down it is refreshing to see our countries history being preserved at Belle Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast. Thank you Brett and Michelle for a lovely stay and for making our 40th anniversary a memorable celebration.

January 2, 2014
Susan S.
Nags Head, North Carolina

The grandeur of this plantation house transforms you into a guest of the early 19th century. A very different (but exciting and relaxing) experience that is difficult to define.

January 23, 2014
Cory K.
Lorton, Virginia

“Great Weekend Getaway”

My three friends and I stayed at Belle Grove, for a friends birthday. From the time that I spoke to Michelle, on the phone to make the reservation, until we hugged Michelle and Brett, our hosts, good bye, we were made to feel at home. They made our birthday celebration so very special. The plantation, and birthplace of James Madison, is wonderfully decorated, and was like being in the 1700’s. The rooms are beautiful, as is the entire house. The breakfast was amazing and the tips for local sites, were extremely helpful. We’ve decided to go back this lovely plantation in the spring.

February 9, 2014
Monique D.
Washington D.C.


We not only had the opportunity to stay in a place of historical significance but experienced Southern hospitality at its best with our hosts Michelle and Brett Darnell. We wanted a romantic setting for our wedding (the first for 2014 at Belle Grove Plantation), it was, and Michelle took care of all the details with excellent recommendations for the wedding officiant, Tamara Riley (No Ordinary Ordained) and Photographer Minh Hussey (Instant de Vie Photography.) Even the weather cooperated just in time for the ceremony on the balcony facing the river, the sun peaking through the clouds and raising the temperature slightly (about 35 degrees?) In the evening Michelle and Brett surprised us with a lovely arrangement on the bed (the Madison Suite) consisting of a bottle Champagne, fresh strawberries and cookies on a silver tray and white bath towels shaped as two kissing swans. About the Inn, it is very comfortable with all the modern amenities and Michelle has done (and continues to do) an outstanding job at decorating the rooms. This is a labor of love. She is also a gourmet chef and the breakfast is not to be missed. The Belle Grove Plantation and hosts Michelle and Brett Darnell offer an unforgettable stay.
We will be back.

February 9, 2014
Tucson, Arizona



These are just a sample of reviews. You can read all our reviews by visiting our page at

“It Felt like Home!”

“Being a first time visitor to ANY bed and breakfast, my first question to the Inn Keeper was, “what is the proper etiquette for a bed and breakfast?” I don’t know if this is the way all B&B’s are, but they said, “make yourself at home!” And I did. I felt as though I was at home. It was quiet, comfortable and Brett and Michelle made me and my wife feel as though we were a part of their family. Well worth the trip and we look forward to our next weekend getaway at Belle Grove!”

February 2, 2014

“History Restored and Shared So Graciously”

“In a time when the “old” is so easily discarded it was a delight to see this piece of history restored as a stunning Bed and Breakfast. Brett and Michelle have done an exceptional job with the period appropriate decor, have a wealth of knowledge about the history of Belle Grove and are gracious hosts, making you feel right at “home” from the time you arrive until they bid you a fond farewell. Evening snack and breakfast were quite tasty, the bedroom suites are spacious and comfortable, the river view and grounds offer a peaceful setting.”

January 08, 2014

“Delightful historic get-away”

“Spent a delightful night tucked away at this beautiful plantation nestled on the Rappahannock River that paid homage to the families that lived there with each suite bearing a family name. The innkeepers are welcoming, coming out to meet their guests, and are eager to share the rich history of the house and ongoing renovations of the land and surrounding outbuildings. If you want to step into history with modern conveniences, this is the inn to do just that. The evening appetizers were delicious and enjoyed with a river view. Just as you are about to retire for the evening, a charming plate of molasses cookies and chocolate is served atop a silver tray as part of the turndown service. Morning is magical at the plantation with a view of the fog coming off the river, and the multi-course breakfast is delicious to get you started on your day. I highly recommend Belle Grove for a memorable stay.”

November 28, 2013

“Short planned visit warrants “BIG Surprise”
“While vacationing in Virginia, we happened to stop by this newly opened B&B, the home of President James Madison. The Innkeeper, Michelle Darnell, was open, warm and welcoming, just like “Dollie” Madison has the reputation of being in her day. We spent many an hour touring the house and the grounds. The extremely informative tour that Michelle gave us just “took you back in time”. Her knowledge of the history of the plantation and surrounding areas was fabulous and she had no problems answering any question posed to her. The restoration of the building and grounds is so impressive. Just the fact that this is the ONLY Presidential home you can actually spend the night, rather that just a “tour of the 1st floor” or “tour of the grounds only” is a definite plus! We will definitely go back for a “Planned Stay” and do an overnight, probably during one of the many events going on there.”

August 28, 2013


From Facebook

These are just a sample of reviews. You can read all our reviews and see more information on Belle Grove by visiting our Facebook page at

Five Stars – “Fabulous home, rich in history, gracious hosts!! So glad we had a chance to spend a night in this wonderful bed and breakfast!!!”

January, 2014

Five Stars – “I’ve never felt so much at home in such beautiful accommodations. There is no place I would rather be!”

November, 2013

Five Stars – “This is a beautiful historic home! Michelle is a knowledgeable, gracious and kind host!!! Highly Recommend !!!”

October, 2013

Five Stars – “Such an amazing venue! The historic home and grounds are gorgeous and lend themselves, perfectly, to a quiet, relaxing, weekend getaway or an extra-special wedding or event… Michelle and Brett couldn’t be more friendly, making the entire Belle Grove experience one to remember…”

September, 2013

Five Stars – “A Wonderful experience.”

September, 2013


From Letters and Cards

“Many Thanks for such a nice time yesterday morning. You were an incredible tour guide and are so full of knowledge. I know you are very busy so you were generous to make time to be with the Stratford Hall Interns and your hospitality is appreciated. Many Thanks again.”

Courtenay – Tour for Stratford Hall Interns

“Thank you so much for hosting us today. I heard nothing but what a wonderful time everyone had today. So much so they want to come back! Everything was wonderful. We appreciate all the hard work you put in today to make our visit to Belle Grove special.”

Vicki – Afternoon Tea for the Daughters of the Revolution

“I greatly enjoyed the private tour of your beautiful plantation. Thank you for your time. I hope you’ll enjoy the photographs I took”

Minh – Tour and Private Photography Session of Belle Grove with Instant De Vie Photography

T’was Two Nights Before Christmas

T’was two nights before Christmas and all through the house, two strangers were stirring in James Madison’s house.

The stockings were hung, decorations were there and the tree was adorned with natural fare.

No children were present, just Ma and I there, but rest we both needed or else we’d despair.

We arrived at 5:30 were met with much grace, unloaded our luggage then took a tour of the place.

The furnishings were marvelous, the décor was just great, the choices selected from Sherwin-Williams color plate.

A snack was provided that was more like a meal, while Michelle’s history lecture was given with zeal.

We changed and then headed to Port Royal for dinner, a meal that did nothing to make us much slimmer.

Night came and we slept in our bed with no chatter, no need to jump up to see what was the matter.

A wonderful breakfast followed our long winter’s slumber, mascarpone pancakes we ate, not counting the number.

The pancakes were topped with cinnamon and cherries, a wonderful beginning to a Christmas Eve full of merries.

We hated to leave, but our leave was required but our bodies were rested and no longer tired.

Our bellies were full, our senses were filled, and we’ll never forget our James Madison thrill.

They heard us exclaim as we drove out of sight,  we couldn’t imagine a better  Christmas Eve eve night.

December 23, 2013
Don & Kathy

images (1)

From Brides and Grooms

“Dear Michelle and Brett,

Thank you so much for your kindness and hospitality. This was truly a wonderful venue for your wedding. Your gracious assistance and attention to detail made for an extra special event. We couldn’t have asked for a more delightful experience. Best wishes for your continued success.”

Carole & Daryll
North Carolina
February 2014

“Today, we spend our first morning at Belle Grove as husband and wife! It has been a glorious stay. Yesterday we were married here, Belle Grove’s first sunset wedding and it was a spectacular setting. I couldn’t have had a more beautiful bride! Thank you Brett and Michelle, you are great hosts. The view from the Madison Room is just beautiful and we enjoyed our stay immensely! We so look forward to coming back! Belle Grove was a wonderful place to end 2013 & a wonderful place to start our new life and New Year (2014) together as husband & wife.”

Pete and Rachel
News Years Eve – December 2013

“Thank you so very much for providing us with such a beautiful place to be photographed for our engagement! This place has such a rustic beauty all its own, even on a gray morning like today. We appreciate all your hospitality. We can’t wait to visit you again!

Julia Jane & Nathan
November 2013

“Thank you both so much for allowing us to use Belle Grove during our wedding weekend. We couldn’t have imagined a more beautiful place. You guys are wonderful and we hope to get back and visit soon! All the best!”

Brittney & Eric
July 2013

images (1)

From Suite Journals
“Rick wanted to take me somewhere special to celebrate our anniversary. We met on May 30, 2012. So we packed up on Friday and I was excited to be heading out for a romantic “mystery” weekend. What a surprise and a thrill when we pulled up outside this lovely, majestic plantation! After Michelle’s interesting and educational tour of the home, Rick whisked me off to dinner in Fredericksburg. After dinner, he was in a hurry to get back to Belle Grove so we could watch the sunset over the river. Well, we made it back just before it was gone. Rick pulled out a beautiful diamond ring and asked me to marry him!

This gorgeous place will always be such a special destination for us!

Brett and Michelle, your work here is so meaningful. It’s clear God has a plan for you two. Thank you both for pampering us and making us feel so comfortable and “at home”. Your gracious Southern Hospitality mirrors the way that visitors were treated here so long ago.”

Bless you! Sarah and Rick

Thank you Sarah and Rick for allowing us to be part of your special moment! Congratulations on your engagement!

“We stumbled upon Belle Grove while searching for a B&B for Valentine’s Day and boy are we glad we did! The house has been so beautifully restored!! And Michelle & Brett have done a fabulous job making us feel welcome and at home. We were spoiled with their cooking for a private dinner in our room and their decadent breakfast. We can’t wait to come back when the weather is a bit warmer so we can explore all of the grounds as well. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we did.”

Ben & Samantha – Hipkins-Bernard Suite

“This was our very 1st B&B experience & we thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of our trip. We enjoyed the extra attention to detail that was given by Brett & Michelle & would love to return. We also met new friends in the next door suite. Thank you so much for a great experience – you will be highly recommended to our friends & family.”

Mark & Laura – Turner Master Suite

“We came as guests to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and are leaving with a sense of connectedness to a new family. The stories we heard, both sweet and tragic, of the families that filled these rooms brought the house to life. Our stay was luxurious and warm and we are already making plans for our next visit. Thank you so much for such a lovely experience. We would linger longer if we could, but we will see you again.”

Matthew and Marion – Hipkins-Bernard Junior Suite

“What a rare and lovely treat – to relax before Christmas, especially in such comfort and beauty and to be immersed in the rich history that took place here. Thank you for your hospitality and for sharing so generously your knowledge and appreciation of Belle Grove. We look forward to coming back. All the best!”

Don and Kathy – Conway Junior Suite

“Suffice it to say, our weekend at Belle Grove was one we will not soon forget! Brett and Michelle were so warm, gracious and hospitable, making us feel more like family than visitors. The house and furnishings are something to behold and certainly transported us back in time. The icing on the cake was the wonderful, freshly prepared breakfast each morning as well as delicious homemade cookies in the evening. No detail was ignored!”

Diane, Vito & Alyssa – Madison Master Suite