Belle Grove Covid-19 Crisis Fund

In 2013, we opened the historic 1670 property called Belle Grove as a bed and breakfast, historic site, wedding and event venue, festival venue and afternoon tea house. Belle Grove, located in King George, Virginia, was the property where President James Madison was born. The 1790 mansion that stands there today has seen many major events throughout America's history, including the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth, and was a headquarters for the Union Army during the American Civil War. Our bed and breakfast has been an international stop since the first day we opened, with our first reservation coming from New Zealand. Many awards have been given to our bed and breakfast and many repeat guests come back to stay over and over again.  Our afternoon tea, which started in 2015, won its first award as Best Afternoon Tea in Virginia in 2017. Menus that change monthly see many returning to not only enjoy our afternoon tea, but also the mansion in which we serve it.

Our tour programs include a Historic Mansion Tour which allows our visitors to see the mansion, hear about the history of the families that lived here and information about the furniture you see. We also provide an Enslaved History Tour that tells the story of the enslaved people that worked this land. Our most popular tour, Ghost Hunting Tour takes our tour guests on a nightly hunt for our ghosts that lurk the mansion, grounds and outbuildings. We are known as one of the most haunted locations in Virginia.  We have appeared on three national television shows including SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters (2014), National Geographic's Diggers (2015) and Travel Channel's Kindred Spirits (2019). We offer festivals twice a year. Our Spirits Festival offers wineries, distilleries, live music, artists, craftsman and food trucks is widely attended by people from Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia. Our newest festival, Sage Paracon offers those who are interested in the paranormal a chance to meet and greet and learn.

Opening Belle Grove was no easy task. We have spent years working to grow our business. We worked alone the first two years and took on staff the third year. We have six staff members we loving call our Belle Grove Family.  We have invested not only all of our savings, but also our blood, sweat and tears into this. Our love for Belle Grove runs deep. Money is always needed to continue the efforts of preserving and restoring, improving, maintaining and educating the public about Belle Grove. We started our foundation, the James Madison Belle Grove Foundation with this as our mission. Just before this crisis, we had started a new project, our Colonial Garden Project. This was to be a colonial style garden built on the side of our 1720 Summer Kitchen. We were to grow food and herbs that would have been used during the colonial era. We will have sub classes included that would talk about harvesting, preserving and cooking with the items we grow. Times have been hard at Belle Grove, but we always seem to pull through it. But when the Covid-19 crisis hit, we never dreamed it could be what brings us down. March 14, 2020, we celebrated the birthday of James Madison with guests visiting the mansion and meeting James and Dolley Madison. This was the last event and overnight we had since this crisis started. A week later, Virginia's governor issued a mandate that prevented us from doing business. We had to postponed four public events, our Mad Hatter Tea, Titanic Tea, Paranormal Lockdown and our Civil War Remembrance. We have lost all overnight reservations and afternoon tea reservations. We have had to reschedule two weddings and had one wedding cancel.  

While our business has stopped, our bill obligations have not. We have been able to defer some of our loan payments, but still have the month bills. We have had to lay off our staff until further notice.  Two of our staff members rely on our income to live. We have been doing Afternoon Tea and Luncheons to Go to help with those monthly bills we have to pay. Michelle has been working as a Postmates delivery driver to also help with the bills. It helps, but doesn't even come close to what is needed to continue. Thankfully, we have had several that have donated to us including someone who donated their stimulus check to us. That stimulus check went to pay the two staff members so they could survive during this. We have applied for the EIDL loan and the PPP. We were not able to get the PPP for the first round of funds. We have our application in for the second round. But we aren't sure if we will get it this time either. It will depend on how many more applications are ahead of us. Even if we do get it, we are only going to get $3,500, a far cry from what we need to survive. We are now being told that if we take this PPP, we won't be able to do the EIDL. And if we wait for the EIDL, we may not get it either. So what is a small business to do? We are glad we have been able to do our part to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus. But in doing so, we have placed ourselves in a very hard situation. One we don't know if we can recover from. So we are asking for your help. We want to be able to again offer the services that everyone have come to enjoy. Please donate to our campaign and help us spread the word by sharing it as often as you can. It is the only way we are going to make it through this crisis. Remember when you shop to support your local small businesses. Thank you for your support!

To find out more about Belle Grove Plantation and all the services we have to offer, please visit us at www.bellegroveplantation.com or through our Facebook page at Belle Grove Plantation at Port Conway.

#SmallBusinessRelief

Donations ()

  • Sheryl Hutchison 
    • $50 
    • 16 d
  • GoFundMe.org 
    • $500 
    • 18 d
  • Jake Sheddan  
    • $100 
    • 20 d
  • Paul Luck 
    • $50 
    • 20 d
  • Patricia Colvin 
    • $25 
    • 20 d
See all

Organizer

Melanie Darnell 
Organizer
King George, VA
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