Belle Grove offers free admission this weekend

Posted: September 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

Middletown — Belle Grove Plantation in Middletown will participate in a statewide celebration of historic homes this weekend as part of “Journey Through Virginia’s Historic Homes Promotional Weekend.”

In honor of Virginia’s Executive Mansion celebrating its 200th birthday, Gov. Bob McDonnell and first lady Maureen McDonnell designated 2013 as the state’s “Year of the Historic Home.”

As part of the celebration, 56 historic homes and museums across the state have agreed to offer free admission Saturday and Sunday.

Belle Grove Executive Director Kristen Laise said she is “delighted to have the support of the governor’s office in highlighting one of Virginia’s wonderful resources, which is its history. We feel like we are a wonderful example of that and wanted to participate.”

The 1797 manor house at 336 Belle Grove Road will be open its regular hours: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The house offers tours 15 minutes after each hour. The last tours are 3:15 p.m. Saturday and 4:15 p.m. Sunday.

Belle Grove is a stop on the “Virginia Time Travelers: Historic Homes Edition,” a program that uses a passport and incentive system to encourage participants to explore participating sites around the state, according to its website, historicalhomes.virginia.gov.

Visitors may print a Time Travelers Passport from the website, have it stamped at eight participating homes in Virginia, and mail it to the Executive Mansion to become a Master Traveler. These travelers are recognized on the website, receive a certificate signed by the governor, and are entered into drawings.

While the passport program is ongoing, having a weekend with free admissions at so many locations offers a good incentive to explore some of those historic homes, including Belle Grove, Laise said. “This is a great opportunity to encourage people who haven’t come to Belle Grove before to come and learn about it and enjoy its history.”

For more information, go to bellegrove.org.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com