Greetings and happy Wednesday! I thought I’d share with you some pictures of the beautiful Shirley Plantation located in Charles City, Virginia. This was the venue my son and daughter-in-law chose for their wedding last fall. In case you missed it, the place is not only historic, but gorgeous! Come see a few highlights…
Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first and oldest plantation and sits on the bank of the James River. It was founded in 1613 but construction on the Great House did not begin until 1723. The grand Georgian style house was completed in 1738 and is still a working plantation. When we were there in the fall the fields were full of bales of freshly picked cotton. This is the front of the Great House. It’s hard to believe in was built nearly 300 years ago. My house is 15 years old and we’ve already replaced the stucco. Sigh. They sure don’t make them like they used to.
Below is the entry hall inside the Great House and this is the famous Flying Staircase. (There were decorations attached to the light fixture for a party. Some of the 11th and 12th generation live in the house and it was their twin’s first birthday.) Can you imagine growing up in this spectacular home?
Here is the fireplace in the Dining Room. This is the very spot where Robert E. Lee’s parents got married! How fascinating is that? The molding is so pretty. Can you fathom a guess how long it took to make that in 1730?
And of course there is a beautiful crystal chandelier! (Electrified now.) On a side note, the family keeps the shades drawn most of the time so the furnishings don’t get daily wear and tear from the sun and elements, thus making it dark inside. That takes a lot of will power, if you ask me. That, or install more chandeliers.
To the right of the Great House you can see a huge, majestic Willow Oak. This tree is over 375 years old and the spot where my son and daughter-in-law were married. The original plan was to hang crystal chandeliers from the tree branches, but due to a recent storm, the tree lost a few large branches. The owners were worried about the integrity of the tree so they didn’t allow the extra weight of the chandeliers, understandably. And, although chandeliers would have been beautiful, they weren’t missed at all.
This Willow Oak is truly magnificent. This photo was taken last March when we first toured the venue. Even without its leaves, it is very stately and beautiful.
The property has several other buildings such as the original kitchen and cook’s quarters on the second floor. The kitchen was located away from the main house due to the danger of fires and cooking odors associated with food prep. Today the building houses a groom’s suite on the second floor and the main floor is the kitchen exhibit.
Opposite the original kitchen is the Laundry House. Washing and mending took place in a separate building due to fire as well. The second floor housed the laundry servants and their families. Later the building was used as a guesthouse and currently houses a gift shop on the first floor and the bridal suite on the second floor.
Along the rear of the former Laundry House there is a large raised patio. This is how the building looked last March when we first visited the Plantation. In the spring they cover the patio with a large white tent. This is where the cocktail hour was held immediately after the wedding took place.
This is the tent during set up….
Below is the Grape Vine Arbor. This was also taken in March so it was bare but you can still picture how pretty it is in full bloom.
Many couples choose to get married under the Grape Vine Arbor. My son and his wife originally thought about getting married under the arbor as well, but ultimately changed their minds and got married under the Willow Oak. I’m sure either site would be beautiful, but now I can’t picture them getting married anywhere but under the Willow Oak.
My son and daughter in law instead chose to use the Grape Vine Arbor as the Bar and Lounge area. It was a great call.
In the 18th and 19th centuries pork was the principal staple in people’s diets. When dried and cured properly, pork can last for a year. The bell on the top of the Smoke House summoned help in an emergency and rang to mark the beginning and ending of the work day.
Arent’t old trees so interesting?
I snapped this picture of a tree filled with bricks. Not sure why, but I’m sure there is a logical explanation.
If I”m not mistaken this is the interior of the Store House. It initially held incoming and outgoing goods and later used as a tool barn and machinery. It looks like a cool place for a party too!
This is the map of Shirley Plantation which is offered when you take a guided tour of the property. It gives you a better idea of the layout of the buildings and the grounds. Note the symmetrical positions of the buildings? This is typical of formal English estates of which I am a huge fan. I would be perfectly content, however with just the Great House. You?
The grounds of Shirley Plantation are beautifully maintained. You can take tours of the Great House and the out buildings practically year round, however the Great House tours are closed from January 3-March 9, 2018. Tickets prices for tours are $12.50 for Adults, $11.50 for Seniors (60 and older), $10 for Veterans, $8.00 for children and free for those under 6 years of age.
You can contact Shirley Plantation via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about tours, weddings, special events and pricing. Right next door to the Plantation is Upper Shirley, which is a venue itself and houses a winery and restaurant. I’ll share some pictures from the wedding later (in case you missed them before!) and you’ll see how this beautiful property become a magical setting for the perfect wedding day!
Thanks for stopping by! I love your feedback so let me hear from you! xoxo Dell