Berry Hill was part of a land grant from the British Crown decades before the American Revolution. The estate was protected from destruction during wartime by the owner’s wealth and political clout and has a long and colorful history.
Berry Hill has it’s own historian and tour guide, and this retired teacher gives a great tour. He took us through the mansion, room by room, telling funny stories and sharing how the building has changed over time.
The main hall is just as impressive as the outside of the mansion. With twin staircases, this room highlights the original mistress’s favorite aspect of the building: symmetry. The downstairs also features marble baseboards from the same quarry as Michelangelo’s David.
Our guide pointed out more of the unique symmetrical elements around the building – including extra doors that lead only to the wall. Everyone was amused by that!
Twenty years ago, the estate was purchased by a French corporation who renovated it extensively. This beautiful pool was one of their additions!
After visiting the mansion, the pool, and the new on-site hotel, we ate lunch in Darby’s Tavern. Situated in the old kitchen, we feasted on gourmet sandwiches and salads and played in the beautiful, spring sunshine.
After lunch, we headed off to explore more of the grounds. Now encompassing 650 acres, there are many trails leading to historic sites, and we made great use of them.
We found these old stone remnants near a creek, and we had fun poking around, trying to see if we can figure out how it looked originally.
The kids also had fun playing near the creek and catching frogs. My Little Man couldn’t resist this one!
Berry Hill Resort and Conference Center is a beautiful place. We enjoyed learning about its varied past, but this National Historic Landmark has a bright future. Now often used for weddings, parties, and conferences, it would make a wonderful venue for any occasion. Should you visit southern Virginia, be sure to check it out.