Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Eve

We have a full house here at Stevenson Ridge for the New Year. Our cottages are booked up—as they have been on New Years Eve for the past couple of years—so we have a lot of company to usher in 2014.

But that’s not all. We have a wedding in the lodge on New Year’s Eve. I can’t think of a better way to wrap up one year and usher in another. December 31 is certainly a popular evening for parties, and few parties are more fun than a wedding, so this promises to be a great night for everyone.

Once the lights dim and the sparklers stop fizzing and the bride and groom have begun their happily ever after, I’ll have just enough time to settle in with my family and my dog to watch the ball drop in New York City. With a champagne toast, I’ll welcome the New Year with the people in the world I love the most, happy that I’ve been able to play hostess to so many other people, too. Without our guests, we couldn’t do what we do.

Here’s to a happy New Year to everyone!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Decembers at the Ridge

One of my favorite things about December isn’t just that Christmas comes along but that we have such a wide variety of events here at Stevenson Ridge. We’ve hosted holiday parties, a “Roaring Twenties”-themed office party, the Next Generation of Business Leader's “Top Ten of the Next Gen” ceremony, a wine tasting for our January brides, a six-year-old’s birthday party, a handful of rehearsals dinners, and of course several weddings.

From a coordination perspective, every event poses its own sorts of challenges, which is great for us because nothing ever feels routine or boring. That makes every event fun for us in its own way.

Sometimes we have to coordinate a full catering staff. What an amazing ballet it is behind-the-scenes as our servers attend to guests and get food back and forth from the kitchen and clear tables. Chef David, like a maestro, conducts activity in the kitchen to keep everything—and everyone—cooking.

Sometimes we have to arrange a room in a special configuration or set out lanterns along the path to one of the back cabins or set up special decorations. Sometimes we even have special cleaning challenges (for instance, Chris assures me that feather boas molt worse than a flock of chickens!).

Gail had to give detailed attention to the unique centerpieces she built for the season: tall vases filled with cedar boughs and cranberries and water, wrapped in burlap and ribbon and set on silver platters, with pine cones and snow-like crystals sprinkled around the base.

It’s a lot of fun to watch our guests have so much fun. I’ve watched people sit around the piano in the Riddick House and sing Christmas Carols and “Amazing Grace” and “Auld Lang Syde.” I’ve sat with brides as they’ve sampled an array of good wines, not only enjoying the different varieties but learning about how they were created. I’ve watched some of Fredericksburg’s best and brightest young business leaders earn recognition for the important contributions they’ve made to our community. I’ve basked in the white lights of our towering Christmas tree in the chapel in the lodge and watched bride and grooms begin their new lives together.

This is what makes Decembers such a treat at Stevenson Ridge, and it’s what makes my job here so rewarding. I could not have asked for a more wonderful way to wrap up 2013!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Coal in your stocking?

As the old tradition goes, Santa brings presents to good boys and girls, but people who’ve been naughty get a lump of coal. However, some newly engaged girls have been delighted to get a lump of coal this year—when that coal has come in the form of a diamond ring!

According to another popular story, diamonds come from coal. The earth exerts extreme pressure on the coal, and extreme heat, over millions of years. As a result, the coal is transformed into crystal form: diamonds!

At least that’s the lesson a lot of us learn in science class. But according to new research, that old story is just a myth. If you want an explanation of how diamonds do form, you can check out this article from the Smithsonian Institute.

So, maybe a lump of coal isn’t such a good idea for Christmas after all—although I’m excited for anyone who got a diamond. Congratulations!

Photo Credit: Katelyn James Photography

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Repatriating Court Documents

Ever wonder where our guests come from or why they are visiting?  Check out this blog post by our upcoming guest, George H. Bresnick, director of the H. Stanley Bresnick Foundation:  Repatriating Court Documents Stolen from Stafford Courthouse, Virginia, by Union Troops in 1862.  Mr. Bresnick was a guest contributor to Emerging Civil War.

Friday, October 18, 2013

October Bridal Newsletter

Click here to read our latest bridal newsletter.

Photo credit: Katelyn James Photography

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact Elizabeth, Head Wedding Coordinator.
*Giveaway has already been claimed.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wedding Gift Etiquette

In the realm of wedding gifts, manners matter. There are classy and tactful ways to encourage your guests to express their support for your future as a husband and wife. Considering that you have a common bond that you care for them and they care for you, be assured that most givers want to satisfy the desires of the recipient, and chances are they will inquire as to what would be the most welcome sort of gift. Spread the word to your close contacts, such as close family or bridesmaids, that if people do happen to ask, what you would prefer receiving. You can make it easier by having a gift registry at a popular retail store. Finally, don't sweat it if you get duplicate items, especially ones you didn't want or need. Just keep in mind the sentiment behind the gift, be sure to thank with a written note, and remember to mention what you intend to do with the money if that is what you are given. Doing so makes you look good and the giver of the gift feel great. 

Photo Credit:The Happy Couple

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Bridal Trend: Herb Bouquets

Once a bride begins to consider her wedding flowers, she might find herself in a virtual greenhouse brimming with possibilities. Ideas can be borrowed, old, or new. One fantastic trend for bouquets is the resurgence of incorporating herbs as a part of the arrangement. Ancient legends of long ago speak of the symbolic power of herbs. Not only do they stand for a grand virtue, such as strength or courage, but they also have been used as comforts for eons. Rosemary represents love, faithfulness, and remembrance- all essential ingredients for a long life together. Thyme hearkens back to the medieval era because it was adopted as a symbol of courage, a virtue any military spouse will be sure to value. For strength, choose sage, which is a lovely addition to both bold and romantic bouquets. Creative brides may consider mint or parsley, both of which have a pleasant effect on the aroma of the arrangement, and even of the breath when a leaf is nibbled! 

Photo Credit:

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 2013 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to read our latest bridal newsletter.
Photo credit: Principle in Action Blog

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact our Wedding Director, Elizabeth.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Power of Scents & Your Memories

Weddings usually evoke thoughts of frocks, flowers, and food but one often neglected detail is fragrance. Our senses trigger memories and one of the most memorable events in a person's life is the wedding day. Making a special scent a part of your planning will provide you with a unique way to tap back into a beautiful remembrance of a day filled with singular significance. Choosing a fragrance that is reserved for such a reminiscence can make subsequent anniversaries and birthdays, weekend getaways, or even making-up after a tiff connected to a time of happiness and hope. Make your special day a wonderland of sensual delights, from the music to the decorations, but don't forget about capturing the moment with a specific perfume, which will be a symbol of the essence of the love that you pledge on your wedding day.

The Wedding Channel has a list of popular fragrances that best fits your personality and reception. Click here to see the full list.

Photo Credit: Katelyn James Photography

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life Happens, For Better or Worse

Life happens, for better or worse, whether we are richer or poorer, in sickness or health, life promises to present us all with an assortment of challenges. Unfortunately, there is not a cosmic 'pause button' on a universal remote that can protect a wedding from some of the more difficult parts of life. When a couple gets hitched, of course they dream that it will go off without a hitch, and the notion of wedding insurance is something that may be viewed as a lack of faith, but it is far from that. A wedding day is a special celebration, one which takes long hours of planning and a significant investment. When life throws a curve ball, wedding insurance provides you with the bat or glove you need to handle it. Protecting this investment is an essential part of the preparation for the beginning of a life together that is certain to encounter the unexpected. Securing insurance for such a major event will simply give peace of mind that should an unexpected turn of events occur, there is one less very big thing to worry about. 

Elite Group Insurance Services has teamed up with other professionals (a financial planner, an attorney, a loan officer, and an interior decorator) to offer Merging Lives. This evening informational session will include a meal and will provide valuable information on topics we believe are important for all couples to discuss (merging finances and assets, saving money, merging households, ect). It will be held on Tuesday, September 10, 2013 from 6-8:30 pm at the Inn at the Olde Silk Mill. 

There is limited space for this event. Couples can register at If you are interested in finding the right wedding insurance please contract Marshelle Davis at Elite Group Insurance Services.

Photo by: Carley Rehberg Photography

Friday, August 16, 2013

High Heel Protectors

For many brides, the grass is always greener at an outdoor ceremony. For those brides and their bridal party, who hope to effortlessly glide across the rolling knolls at Stevenson Ridge, we have discovered a handy little gadget that can ensure you are more able to do just that! Stevenson Ridge offers two beautiful waterside locations for the perfect outdoor ceremony, but as everyone knows, Mother Nature often presents challenges along with her pristine beauty. With heel protectors, one small annoyance for brides can be simply remedied. If the ground is soft because of a recent rainstorm, heel protectors can help stop that embarrassing moment when a shoe gets planted but the foot within wants to keep walking, especially in the presence of a hundred witnesses! At Stevenson Ridge, we do our very best to think of everything, even the smallest details, to make weddings and other special events as perfect as can be.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Rt. 208 Sale Trail

Sometimes, the trail may be long and of much toil, but this journey will prove to be worth the hike!  The Rt. 208 Sale Trail on September 13-14th will take you on a 24- mile excursion filled with the wonder of discovery and the thrill of finding a great bargain. Treasures abound, not only in the glory of the historical realm of Spotsylvania, but also along this unique Sale-Trail, which promises to be an adventure like no other! On this expedition, the industrious yard-sale champion and novice alike will delight in the distinctive experience of reveling in the beauty of a scenic route while encountering the delightful community of Spotsylvania, seeking to sell their stuff.  Caravan with the gang for this first ever, one of a kind, without fail, 208 Sale Trail!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

An Extraordinarily Extravagant Engagement

One very romantic groom-to-be designed and orchestrated, with the help of some fabulous vendors, an engagement to remember! Because Spotsylvania holds a special charm, namely Stevenson Ridge, along with a rich, historical heritage, it caught Jeff's eye as an amazing backdrop for his dream engagement. Booking the humblest cottage on the property, Jeff flew his sweetheart Cristina across the United States to share a special get-away. His ruse was a birthday celebration, but little did Cristina know, he'd also flown both families in from California, who waited anxiously for the big moment. While the couple toured Fredericksburg, a whirl of activity was spinning out the plans that Jeff so carefully made to make this proposal unique and unforgettable. The caterer, A Taste of Elegance, set out a scrumptious brunch, the photography dynamo, Kitt Creative plotted out the best place to hide in the garden. Musician Mike O'Connell warmed up on the gleaming grand piano as the family arrived via a Limo Shuttle from the Limo Co. The excited family members each performed a special role in the proposal. Three young children were positioned with signs reading, "Will You," "Marry," "Me," with an extra special guest wearing the "?" around her neck: Stevenson Ridge's own sweet puppy, Maggie. As Jeff was lured back to the property for a "forgotten" shirt, Cristina first got an inkling when she noticed the large banner bearing her name stretched across the pillars of the stately Riddick House. As she approached with her hands upon her chin, her family brought forth the signs and Jeff dropped to one knee beside the fountain, asking her to spend the rest of her life with him! She accepted through tears and was quickly surrounded by her family to celebrate the joyful occasion with an afternoon spent celebrating at the Riddick House. We can safely wager Jeff had the best birthday ever as he received the gift of a promising future with his lovely bride-to-be, Cristina.  We can't wait to hear what Jeff plans for the wedding!!
Photo Credit: Kitt Creative

Written by: Amy Whittaker

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

FOR SALE: Fall Decor

Fall is just around the corner which means the leaves will start changing, the air is more crisp and the Sun turns in a little earlier every day. Stevenson Ridge has a variety of Fall decor that is available for sale. If you are interested in any or one of these items, please contact Elizabeth.
Left Photo: Guest Table Assignment Book $20
Middle Photo: Pillar Table Centerpieces 44" tall $30 each (qty 5)
Right Photo: Pew Bows $15 each (qty 10)

Left Photo: Table Flowers $7 each (qty 6)
Middle Photo: Mantel Piece w/ battery-operated lights 60" long $75
Right Photo: Large floor arrangements 5' tall $100 each (qty 2)

Solid Wood Candle Stand 54" tall $60 each (qty 3)

Monday, July 29, 2013

July 2013 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to check out our latest bridal newsletter!

Photo Credit: Carley Rehberg Photography

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact our Wedding Director, Elizabeth.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Memorial Day Activities near the Ridge

Lake Anna Winery

Looking for a fun new way to spend Memorial Day?  Dance under the stars on Friday, May 24.  Lake Anna Winery is hosting “Memorial Day into the Night.”  From 6-10pm enjoy live music by Reunion, BBQ from Gregory’s Grill and Lake Anna wines.  Tickets can be purchased online at for $15/person. 

If you are looking for fun, family activities, visit Ferry Farm or Kenmore to take in local history.  Events throughout the day will include house tours, a tea, theater productions, a World War II USO dance and more…  Click here for a full list of activities.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Conneen/Jarrell Wedding

Congrats Stephanie & James! Click here to check out their wedding on 
United with Love.
Photo Credit: Amanda Dorian Photography

Friday, April 5, 2013

"Going Green: A Mindset that Saves Money, Makes a Better World"

What does "being green" mean?  For me, it's not about crunching numbers to determine my energy or waste reduction or making substantial investments in new EnergyStar appliances.  For me, "being green" is just a state of mind, an extra step in the thought process.  Before I throw something in the trash, before I make a new purchase, before I grab a new piece of paper just to jot down a telephone number... I stop and think.

This being said, when it came to starting up my business, I was more concerned with getting the doors open than I was about "being green."  It wasn't until I began to see the amount of waste that is produced in the hospitality industry, that I realized my folly.

It pained me to throw out the small bottles of bath amenities after just one use and to count the cases of water we went through in a week.  Realizing there was an opportunity, we started making changes to reduce the amount of waste.  We installed amenity dispensers in the showers, replaced plastic bottled water with reusable glass bottles, changed to cloth hand towels in the bathrooms and kitchens, and much more.

Now, the "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" philosophy is something that is embedded in our daily operations.  Not only are our employees trained on our green practices, caterers who work at Stevenson Ridge are as well.  The special events industry creates a lot of waste, and so we have implemented a few policies such as requiring recycling, permitting only recyclable plastics and prohibiting disposable linens.

We also take advantage of the opportunity to educate inn guests.  Signage is located in each cottage explaining Stevenson Ridge's commitment to green practices and ways the guest can help such as reusing towels, turning lights off when they leave, and using recycling containers.

From a business perspective, it is exciting to say that what we do actually saves us money.  Although we spend a little extra for recycling pick up, energy-efficient light bulbs and upgrading to low-flow shower heads, we more than make up by reducing our energy and water usage, eliminating unnecessary purchases and repurposing supplies such as frayed bed linens for cleaning towels.

For 2012, we estimated a savings of more than $4,000 from just turning the heat down and hot water off in between guests stays, and using bulk amenities instead of disposables.  For a small business, this is significant savings.  However, we are always looking at more ways to better our efforts and save a little money.

This post was published by Jennifer LaRock in the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce's April Chamberlink.  Jennifer is a proud member of the Green Business Initiatives Advisory Committee and assists the Chamber in promoting green business practices.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Adrian Cabin Getaway (A Guest's Story and Review)

We had the pleasure of sitting down to chat with a weekend guest and writer and share the history of Stevenson Ridge.  Click here to see what she had to say about her stay in the Adrian Cabin.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 2013 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to check out our latest bridal newsletter!

Photo Credit: Carley Rehberg Photography

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact our event coordinator, Elizabeth.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February 2013 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to check out our latest bridal newsletter!

Photo Credit: Carley Rehberg Photography

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact our event coordinator, Elizabeth.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 2013 Newsletter

Click here to see the latest updates at Stevenson Ridge.  We hope you can join us for our Open House this Sunday!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

January 2013 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to check out our latest bridal newsletter!

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletter, please contact our event coordinator, Elizabeth.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Staff Trip to A. Smith Bowman Distillery

While searching for unique activities for our guests, the staff took a trip to the A. Smith Bowman Distillery in early January.  After taking a wrong turn, we are now ready to give you tips on how to get there!  Upon arrival, we were greeted by Mary who provided us with a great tour of the facility and Truman Cox, the Master Distiller.  The picture above is where the whiskey and bourbon barrels are stored during the aging process.  Once we completed the tour, we were able to try samples of the A. Smith Bowman products.  Truman joined us during the tasting to share more about the flavors of each liquor and told us about his experimental batches!  With an ABC store in-house, you are able to pick up whatever you like and they have some fun things you won't find in your typical ABC store.  I will be going back to pick up the barrel chips for grilling!  If you are looking for a fun activity, you can tour the facility alone or as part of the Grapes & Grain Trail.  Guests can purchase tickets in the office or at any of the Grapes & Grain Trail stops.  To learn more about the distillery, click here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

2013 Wedding Trends

This vintage theme is slightly changing from the rustic burlap and mason jars to the Roaring Twenties. This trend has perfect timing for 2013 as the “The Great Gatsby” with Leonardo DiCaprio premiers this summer. So get in touch with your inner Daisy Buchanan while planning your vintage wedding.
Photo Credit: Warner Brothers

Although Emerald Green was announced as Pantone’s 2013 Color of the Year, the lighter but just as earthier, Mint Green, is popular among brides. Perfect for spring and summer weddings as this trend is fresh, fun and shabby chic. Get creative with your décor as this retro color will look great with little hints of gold or melon.
Photo Credit: Wedding Elation Blog

Why choose just one color when you can have them all? Incorporating many colors within your wedding décor is a fun trend that will be a hit as each bridesmaid, tables at the reception, centerpieces, or any other décor can each represent a unique color. Whether you choose jewel tones, primaries or pastels, your guests will enjoy a colorful day!
Photo Credit: Wedding Elation Blog

What’s more romantic and charming than lovebirds (or birds in general)! This trend is easy to integrate into your big day; you can’t walk into Hobby Lobby or browse Pinterest without seeing these cute creatures! You’ll find bird-themed stationary, cake toppers, statuettes, favors, etc. Don’t forget the birdcage for your cards!
Photo Credit: Wedding Elation Blog

Mini Menus
Smaller is better! This year mini menus are going to be a hit at weddings as miniature food will be seen more often for cocktail hour and desert bars. Mini waffles, mini cheeseburgers and fries, mini pies and cakes will be passed around so whatever you choose for your mini menu your guests are sure to love this itty bitty trend.
Photo Credit: Wedding Elation Blog

Monday, January 21, 2013

Stevenson Ridge's Best of 2012 Weddings

As we begin a new year, the staff at Stevenson Ridge reflects back on the amazing year we had in 2012. These are our TOP 5 moments we had at our 2012 weddings...

#5 Rocking out with the Blue Tip Revue
DJ’s are great to entertain your guests during your reception but it was refreshing to have a live band perform at a few of our events this past year. Instead of the overplayed “Gangnam Style” or the “Electric Slide,” the Blue Tip Revue provided a refreshing new sound of Motown grooves and guests boogied all night! Even though live bands are no longer as popular as they use to be, the staff at Stevenson Ridge enjoyed the change of entertainment for the night.
Photo Credit: Blue Tip Revue Facebook Page

#4 Roasting at the S’more Bar
Yum! This was a hit at one of our weddings where Caroline Street Catering setup a S’more bar inside the Lodge. Guests had the option to choose different kinds of chocolates (i.e. Reese’s, Hershey’s, Butter Fingers, etc) to melt with the classic marshmallow and graham cracker. Contact your caterer to see if this is possible for your wedding day.
Photo Credit: Amanda Dorian Photography

#3 “You can tell everybody this is your song”
This wedding couldn’t have been more adorable and perfect as this couple said “I Do” and their two families merged as one. The couple’s children (from previous marriages) wrote a song just for the newlyweds and performed it at the ceremony. There wasn’t a dry eye in the audience and it was wonderful to see how much this family loves one another.

Photo Credit: Ampersand Photography

#2 Daddy Breaks it Down on the Dance Floor
This lovely Father/Daughter duo took the floor for their special moment. The music started off nice and slow then it switched to more upbeat and fast tempo songs! The duo jumped into a choreographed routine having everyone attending enjoying this unique Father/Daughter dance. YouTube more videos of Father/Daughter dances that change the beat unexpectedly.

Photo Credit: Mathy Shoots People Photography

#1 JMU’s Duke Dog Crashing the Reception
This bride & groom LOVED their Alma Mater and actually surprised their entire wedding party and guests with JMU’s Duke Dog in attendance. He came out dancing and everyone cheered in amazement! Then he hung out for a little while to pose in photos with the guests. This crowd pleaser was a great way to start the party at this wedding!

Photo Credit: Katelyn James Photography

We hope everyone had a great and safe holiday season as we gear up for our 2013 weddings!

Written by: Elizabeth Timms

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fredericksburg's 8th Annual Restaurant Week

Restaurant week is back!  January 18-28 participating Fredericksburg restaurants will feature two course luncheons and three course prix fixe dinners for $10.13 and $20.13, respectively.  Enjoy fine dining at any of the following restaurants: Bavarian Chef, Bistro Bethem, Brock’s Riverside Grill, Capital Ale House, Castiglias, Colonial Tavern, Eileen’s Bakery & Café, Fizzlebottom’s Café, Foode, Jake & Mike’s Kybecca Wine Bar, La Petite Auberge, Poppy Hill Tuscan Kitchen, Ristorante Renato, Sunken Well Tavern, Tru Luv’s and Virginia Deli.  Click here to see sample menus.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Annual Wine & Chili Cook-Off

This weekend the Heart of Virginia Wine Trail is hosting its annual Chili Cook-Off.  If you are looking for a fun excursion during your stay, visit Cooper Vineyards, Grayhaven Winery, James River Cellars or Lake Anna Winery to enjoy tastings and chili samplings.  Spotsylvania’s own Lake Anna Winery holds the “Chili Cup.”  Spend your weekend warming up with chili and local wines.  Tickets can be purchased at any of the wineries.  For more information, visit

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Stoecker/Lysher Wedding

Congrats Erin & Michael! Click here to check out their wedding on 
El Paso Wedding Blog | Belle The Magazine.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

December 2012 Bridal Newsletter

Click here to check out our latest bridal newsletter!

To subscribe to our monthly bridal newsletters, please contact our event coordinator, Elizabeth.