Belle Grove Middletown Reviews
Great historic house tour at Belle Grove Jun 19, 2010
Belle Grove is a Georgian Colonial house in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. It was built in 1797 by Isaac Hite who owned a 7500 acre plantation surrounding the house. Hite was the grandson of Shenandoah pioneer settler Joist Hite. Hite was on the make. He married Nelly Madison, the sister of James Madison (the fourth President), and was friends with Thomas Jefferson. But his focus was planting rather than politics.
Hite was a very successful businessman as Belle Grove demonstrates. The house is finished in limestone blocks rather than the usual brick or wood construction of the period. It's solid, built in the Pennsylvania German tradition of thick walls and heavy supporting timbers. The main floor rooms have 13-foot ceilings, making the rooms at Mount Vernon or Montpelier seem small.
The house is maintained by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Tours of the restored main floor rooms and the kitchen are $8.00 and worthwhile. Numerous Hite descendants have contributed family pieces to the house. (He had 12 children with two wives.) The house was occupied until 1964 and has required little structural restoration. Photography is not permitted except in the cellar.
The grounds are open to walk around where the kitchen garden, blacksmith shop, and foundations of the original house, Old Hall, can be seen. National Park Rangers give scheduled free presentations in the shady grove in front of Belle Grove.
Part of the Daytripping around Virginia travel blog
Part of the list Historic Houses
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