Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Berkley Plantation

When standing on the grounds of the Berkley Plantation in Charles City Virginia it is hard to imagine the day that colonists first set foot on the property.  That year would have been 1619.  And if the views from the land were anything like the view we had then I can understand why they chose that spot.  The sun setting on the James River was magnificent.

This last Friday night Mark, myself, Emma, my sister and her hubby visited Berkley and took part in the Autumn Sunset and Spirit Tour.  It started off with a brief history of the plantation and quickly had us taking a tour of the grounds and gardens on the property surrounding the house.

This is a side shot of the manor.

The "Bachelor's house".  Used for male visitors.  Now the gift shop.

Our tour guide

The manor and the grounds were built in the Gregorian Style which means everything is very symmetrical.  If there is a garden on this side of the house then there is a garden on the other side of the house.  If there is a door in the hall there then there is a door in the hall right across from it.  It did make for some interesting house and garden plans. 

Looking from the house down to the river.

This would be the river side of the house.

Flower gardens.

Some of the boxwood gardens.

As we toured the grounds we were told of some of the tragic events that had taken place over the years.  This lead to some ghost stories and stories about things that go bump in the night.  That really was more the purpose of this tour but I was really more interested in the house and the land.  I have to say that the whipping wind and the chill in the air did lend itself to a great night for ghost stories.  But chasing a baby around really didn't help me get in the ghostly mood. 

Part of the tour was to the Taps Memorial.  The song Taps was written and first played here at Berkley. 

Taps Memorial

Following the memorial we visited the small family cemetery on the grounds of the plantation.

Family Graveyard

Emma with her new pom poms

After all this touring (ok only about an hours worth) we headed for the gazebo for some light refreshments. 

Sunsetting behind the gazebo

The Ladies

The final part of the tour was the main manor.  Pictures and recordings in the house were prohibited :(   We started in the basement with a quick video about the history of the home.  Then we were divided into two groups and given a tour of the first floor of the house.  All the furnishings in the house were antiques and simply gorgeous.  We heard more ghost stories and about strange things that had happened in the past.  They let us draw our own conclusions on if they were true or not :)  All of this part of the tour was done by candle light.  Now that part scared me.  A 200 year old house with candles!  I was sweating!  Or was that just the heat? 

A few other random pics I got...........

I think we all had a good time.  Next time I think Emma may need to stay with Granny :)

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