Monday, June 23, 2014

How Do You Describe the Feeling of Home?

We're always so delighted when guests tell us that Stevenson Ridge feels like a home away from home.

(And a shout-out to Chris, too, for one of his Civil War tours--yea, Chris!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Coming July 11: The Tobacco Barn!

It’s been a year in the making, but we’re finally about ready to open Stevenson Ridge’s next historic house. The Tobacco Barn will be officially open for guests three weeks from today, on July 11.

Yes, it really did used to be a tobacco barn once upon a time, although guests who stay there won’t find anything barn-like about it any more. Dan loves to restore antique buildings, so he’s been giving new life to that old barn and cozying it up for occupancy. Wait until you see it!

Carpenter Chris Kerr is putting the finishing touches on the building now. A cabinet maker and timber framer by trade, Chris has been Dan’s right-hand man in reassembling the Tobacco Barn. Chris did the beautiful cabinets in the kitchen of the Corn Crib and did some great work in the Riddick House, too. “He was instrumental in helping me get the Spy House back together,” Dan says.

The Tobacco Barn features a beautiful porch (like many of our other houses!) where guests can relax on an old-time country porch swing that hangs from the ceiling. Inside, a soapstone floor stretches wall to wall and room to room—even into the walk-in shower in the bathroom! Cross-beams bisect the high vaulted ceiling, which was once used for drying big bundles of tobacco leaves. The original timbers have been newly chinked. And of course, there’s a cozy fireplace (another Stevenson Ridge hallmark) framed by an antique mantle.

Many of our frequent guests have watched the Tobacco Barn’s progress with keen interest, and a few of them have even put in dibs already for the chance to stay there. If you’re interested in for a stay of your own, e-mail me at or visit our website at

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

His and Hers and Purrs

We see a lot of fun stuff at the weddings around here, but this cake topper was the cat's meow!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Friend in the Rose Bushes

Chris was trimming the roses in the garden next to the Riddick House the other day, nipping away dead buds and giving the bushes some TLC. Much to his surprise, he had some company: a black rat snake was draped in one of the bushes.

Unphased by Chris’s presence, the snake slowly slid out of the rose bush and across the mulch floor of the garden. It pushed its way through a curtain of leaves from the boughs of a Japanese maple, then around the mossy trunk of a large oak, before slipping across the lawn.

Although it’s always startling to see a snake in the bushes or slithering across the lawn, black rat snakes are good to have around because they keep down rodent populations. They're just not very good about lending a hand in the rose bushes.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

A Toast--And a Sampling of Wine--for Father's Day

Some of our July brides celebrated Father's Day with us today by bringing their fathers along with them for a wine tasting.

Every month, we offer brides the opportunity to sample our wine selection so that they can choose the wines they would like served to their guests at their wedding receptions. This month, we thought it would be fun to have our wine tasting on Father's Day so our brides could make a daddy-daughter day of it.

Thirteen people got together to sample nine wines. With the beautiful weather we had, we all sat outside under the back deck of the Lodge. Our wine rep, Sean, offered a little background about each variety while he poured. There was, of course, a lot of conversation about the varieties as brides tried to narrow down their choices. But there was lots of laughter, too, as fathers and daughters and other family members enjoyed each other's company. It was a sweet way for us to spend part of our day.

So here's a toast: to my own father, my stepfather, my grandfather, and my husband--and to all of you--happy Father's Day! Cheers!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Digging In the Dirt for the Drain Field

We’ve been moving some earth at Stevenson Ridge this week!

In preparation for the completion of our newest house, the Tobacco Barn, we’ve spent the week installing a new drain field on the property. A drain field is an environmentally friendly way to deal with waste water. The new drain field will allow us to eventually add as many as seven more historic houses to our property (and Dan says he’s already thinking ahead to the next one).

While we had to clear some trees to make room for the drain field, many of those trees found their way into the Tobacco Barn. Dan sent them off to the lumber mill, where they were trimmed and planed and sent back. Dan used the boards on the interior of the new building.

We're getting closer and closer to our grand opening of the Tobacco Barn. We’ll have some news to share about it next week!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Bring on the Funk

DJ Gerry Bradshaw gave guests a 70s flashback at a recent Stevenson Ridge wedding in the Riddick House. To help guests get into the mood, he broke out a few props and threw an Afro party! Time to get down and bring on the funk!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dillwyn House

Dan has a new project underway—and a new mystery to solve!

Dan recently purchased the disassembled frame of another historic building. The Dillwyn House, as it was once known, is a timber-frame home that dates back to the late 18th century. It measured fifteen feet by thirty, and once stood a story and a half high. It had four fireplaces—two on each story—a staircase, and three doors featuring distinctive Battenberg markings.

The only problem is that the building didn’t come with any instructions for reassembly!

But for Dan, who loves restoring old homes, there are no such things as problems—only challenges. He enjoys a good puzzle, and already he’s been reaching out to friends in the business and other experts who might be able to help him piece this one back together.

The building was rescued from Buckingham County, which sits at the geographic center of Virginia. According to records, two Civil War soldiers—including a major—had been buried on the property (Chris says he has a new mystery to investigate!). The home’s last tenant was a woman who had a large purple hydrangea beside the house; reportedly, her only piece of furniture was her piano.

Currently, the hand-planed timbers of the floor and one of the walls are already up. Dan has the rest of the structure stacked nearby, ready to go. Every time he has a free hour or two, he’s puzzling over the pieces, savoring the challenge.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Get a "Spectacular" View of Spotsylvania's Fireworks

Who doesn’t like fireworks? Spotsylvania’s “Star Spectacular” is coming up at the end of the month, and Stevenson Ridge is offering front-row seats and special amenities—and no traffic or parking hassles!

The Star Spectacular actually happens just before Independence Day, on Saturday, June 28. Festivities kick off in Spotsylvania’s Courthouse District at 3:00 p.m. with food, games, and three stages of live music. Then, in the evening: fireworks!

At Stevenson Ridge, we have a perfect view of those fireworks—and we want to share it with our guests. On Saturday evening, we’ll provide front-row seats, with blankets and chairs, sparklers, and a little extra “sparkling” surprise to cap off the celebration!

For guests who want a little something extra special, we’re offering a special “Star Spectacular” package that includes a fruit and cheese basket with a bottle of wine for Saturday evening and a breakfast basket—including muffins, fresh fruit, and juice—delivered to your cabin on Sunday morning. Add the “Star Spectacular” package to your stay for only $75.

Join us on the lawn, and give yourself a relaxing—and spectacular—start to the Independence season!