My dear Sister,
What an evening I have experienced just last night. The sensation for which I took part in will indeed be one that many will speak of as the highlight of the social season. As you know, I was to dine at the plantation home of Belle Grove in King George last night. It was to be a small gathering with just ten in attendance. But my dear Sister, you will not presume to know who was at this evening, Why my dear Sister, we were treated to the presents of President James Madison and his wife, Mrs. Madison! It seems that Belle Grove is President Madison’s birthplace and it gives him great pleasure to return to it.
We arrived at Belle Grove just before the hour of six. The lane which we traveled to the home was such a wonder to behold. The trees seemed to whisper of our arrival. There at the end of the lane was the home, such as I have never beheld. Upon entering we were warmly greeted and mingled in the Grand Hallway until our host and hostess descended from the upper floor. Before we knew it, President Madison and Mrs. Madison arrived. What a wonder it was to see them in person. I must say, Mrs. Madison was smartly dressed, which only added to her handsome features.
We were all presented to the President and Mrs. Madison. I was quite the nervous being as I stood waiting for their approach. Before I knew it, they were before me. What kind eyes President Madison has. He and Mrs. Madison were just as warm and kind as ever I saw. It did put me at my ease once we exchanged conversation.
We were then escorted into the dining room. Oh dear Sister, it was magnificent, We found our places and sat as the servants, two wondrous young girls of around ten and four provided us with beverage. The time was keep short with the lively conversation of the Madisons.
Our first course arrived to the delight of each guest. Arranged within a light pastry was a cream of Virginia Ham and Oysters. Upon first taste, one knew the evening would be something to behold. Our main course arrived plate after plate. Roasted Lemon and Garlic Chicken that simply melted in your mouth was accompanied by Cornmeal Fried Catfish, no doubt from the Rappahannock River just behind this home. The side of cream Pea a la Francaise with its petite pearl onion must have been selected for Mrs. Madison, knowing her love of everything French. This was accompanied by Hoppin’ John, Cornbread Stuffing and Artichokes with Hollandaise Sauce, another favorite of Mrs. Madison. What could be any better than the fest laid before us, but Sweet Potato and Pecan Biscuits, which I am to understand came from the cook at President Jefferson’s Monticello.
The final course arrived to the bright and delighted eyes of the guests. A two layer spice cake with a creamy frosting between layers was seated on an Apricot Sauce and topped with a Caramel Sauce drizzled on all. Oh my dear Sister, I don’t see how we made it through such delights!
The only thing better than the fare we were presented with, was the conversation of the Madison. President Madison enlightened us with his thoughts of his Presidency and those he had the privilege to serve with. What wit and good humor President Madison has. He and Mrs. Madison gave each of us their sole attention and discussed topics of wide ranges. I must say I see why Mrs. Madison is so well loved. She has an air about her that puts one at ease quickly and allow such wonderful exchanges. The President even paid a most tender comment to Mrs. Madison. Mrs. Madison had the advantage of facing the west and was able to enjoy the view of the sun setting on the river. How truly beautiful it really was. When she drew her husband’s attention to this view, the President responded that he wasn’t missing any thing of beauty as his view of her was all he needed. Such is to have two that care so much for one another.
Before the end of the meal, one of the guests, Mr. Veazey requested a moment of time to make a presentation to Mr. Darnell, the Innkeeper and Co-host of the evening. Mr. Veazey served in the military on a submarine named for President Madison! He presented Mr. Darnell with a picture of the USS James Madison and a plaque to add to Belle Grove. Mr. Darnell felt privileged and honor to be given such gifts.
After dinner, we reclined to the library for more conversations and pictures with the Madisons. By this time, we were all well acquainted and felt at our ease with the Madisons. Each of us was given an opportunity to have our pictures made with the Madison as well as to engage in quite a lively conversation with them. And oh dear Sister, it was quite lively!
Sadly our time came to end and we had to bid adieu to our wonderful host and hostess. It was such a glorious evening, one did not want to leave. But smiles appeared when the President and Mrs. Madison confirmed that they would in fact be returning at a later time. Oh dear Sister, I do hope you will be available to accompany me if I am asked to return. As I left, the President and Mrs. Madison gave me every assurance that I would be counted among them on their return.
With Warmest Regards,
To see more Special Events coming to Belle Grove Plantation
Please visit our Official Website at
And look under “Event Calendar”
Brett and I would like to thank each of our guests for coming and being apart of the first Official Public Event at Belle Grove Plantation!
We would like to extend a special thank you to President and Mrs. Madison.
As always we are honored to have you at the plantation!
If you missed seeing them at Belle Grove Plantation last night, you will have a chance to see them this weekend at Montpelier for Constitution Day and the Taste of Freedom Wine Festival!
for more information.
We would also like to give a very warm thank you to our two volunteer servers
Rachel and Madison
We couldn’t have done it without you!