Shirley Plantation is the first plantation in Virginia and was settled in 1613. I recently got to “meet” Lady Cessalye Sherley at historic Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg. Lady Cessalye never came to Virginia to see the estate that her husband named for her. Her portrait is in the main gallery at Jamestown and her husband’s hangs beside her. I can’t say I blame the lady for remaining in England. At the time, Tidewater Virginia was a very dangerous place to live for new European immigrants.
Family owned by the Carters, Shirley Plantation today is a one-of-a-kind Colonial place--according to experts there is no other place that holds so many original colonial plantation buildings on original site. It is also the oldest family-operated farm in the country.
The Great House is spectacular and I have to think that its square build is one thing that has helped it survive the hurricanes of southern Virginia. When I was writing my novella "Return to Shirley Plantation" I tried to put myself I the character of my hero, Matthew, as he approaches this home. Even at the time of the Civil War, in 1862, the house and structures were already about 150 years old.
|covered well, back of smokehouse and storage|
Original buildings include a two-story brick laundry and a flanking kitchen across the Queen Anne Forecourt. In the forefront of the property are two--two story L-shaped brick buildings--the storehouse and the ice house.
The Flemish bond brickwork is spectacular on all the buildings. The bricks for the house and the buildings on the property were made onsite. Indentured servants are thought to have helped design and build the home and the outlying buildings on the property.
The kitchen is housed on the first floor of a two-story brick building to the right of the property and closer to the house. On the side of the Great House there is an entry/exit door used to go to and from the kitchen. The modern day kitchen is in the basement of the house.
One of my favorite buildings is the dovecote. Colonists ate young doves (squab.)
The Carter family still owns the home although they were not the original owners of the property. Carters married into the Hill family and have occupied it for hundreds of years. Depending upon the time of year, various crops are growing in the fields all around Shirley, bordered by the James River. For instance in Charles City County right now the second crop of winter wheat is growing. There are a consortium of farmers who harvest many fields throughout the area, including the vast acreage at Shirley.
This National Historic Site has no equal for the colonial era fan. Many books have been written that include Shirley Plantation’s history as well as pictures of its beautiful buildings and property.
|bend in the James River|
Shirley Plantation is currently open for visitors. Groups and individuals and tour groups (as well as special interest groups) are welcome. The seasoned traveler to the area knows that this is not always the case. A plantation may or may not be open to the public any given year dependent upon any number of factors. In fact Shirley recently had to close for a couple of days for a super special upcoming project that cannot yet be disclosed (not even to the wonderful Debbie Lynne Costello, co-founder of this blog, who tried to stop there whilst on a trip through Virginia recently!) And the plantation was closed recently for a wedding for the family member who actually lives (yes lives!) in the house, upstairs. This is after all, a family estate. Felicitations to the happy couple and congratulations to Shirley Plantation on their 400th anniversary!
Bio – Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D.
Carrie Fancett Pagels (www.carriefancettpagels.com) debut release Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, is a Kindle Civil War best seller. She contributed to God’s Provision in Tough Times, releasing in June 2013 http://www.amazon.com/Provision-Cynthia-Howerter-La-Tan-Murphy/dp/1938499441/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358266747&sr=8-1&keywords=cynthia+howerter
Her short story Snowed In: A Northwoods Christmas will appear in Guidepost Books “A Christmas Cup of Cheer” in October, 2013.
Carrie Fancett Pagels
Facebook Author Page http://www.facebook.com/pages/Carrie-Fancett-Pagels/317053071710640?fref=ts
Facebook Personal Page http://www.facebook.com/carriefancettpagels
Carrie has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her novella, Return to Shirley Plantation to one lucky commenter! Winner will be announced tomorrow AM.
Great post, Carrie! I love reading about the Shirley Plantation, especially after reading your stories! The pictures are great, really puts a face on the gorgeous property. Have a wonderful week and God bless!ReplyDelete
Debbie, you have to get up here to VA. Right now I am in NC so I need to get up there too, lol! Thanks for coming by and so glad u liked this post!Delete
Interesting blog entry - love touring the south & viewing colonial plantation buildings! This is a new one for me, will have to put it on my list.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!
Bonnie, I hope you will enjoy reading this novella. Thanks for coming by this great blog!Delete
Loved the photos! Can't even imagine how grand it is in person. Carrie's novella, Return to Shirley Plantation, really transports you back in time and reveals the gentility of life in a southern plantation. Good luck to everyone on the giveaway!ReplyDelete
We have to get you down here Kathy! Thanks for having me on and thanks so much for your kind words!Delete
So awesome, I love old homes and the history behind them. Thank you Carrie.ReplyDelete
Me, too, Linda. I hope your week is going better!Delete
I can't believe how old the buildings are, and in such beautiful shape! Sounds like a wonderful place to visit - I'd love to see the inside of it!ReplyDelete
It is amazing Bethany! Last time I was there this couple goes "oh my gosh did you see this--the building (storage house) was built in 1700's!)Delete
a wonderful posting...thanks for the chance to read carrie's novella :)ReplyDelete
kmkuka at yahoo dot com
I hope you will get to read it soon! Blessings Karen!Delete
Enjoyed this, Carrie. I'd love to go back to Colonial Williamsburg someday...it's been WAY too long. And I love that name: Cessalye. I wonder if it was pronounced Cess-a-lee? Doesn't that just roll off your tongue? Beautiful name!ReplyDelete
PAM, that is how they pronounce it. You have to get back to VA! thanks for coming by!!Delete
Sounds like such a fun and good read! Would love to win it!ReplyDelete
Melissa, of course we need you to read my novella! Great to see you here!Delete
I think they are just the prettiest buildings...thanks so much for the fun post and for the chance to win! truckredford(at)gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
What a pretty name you have! Good to see you here!Delete
Very interesting. Now I want to take a road trip to Virginia.ReplyDelete
A J Hawke
Do you feel like a winner AJ? Because I heard through the grapevine that you are! BlessingsDelete
Hey Carrie, Great to have you on here today! I sure wish we could have gone through Shirley Plantation when we were there. Maybe I can get Joe to take me up there on a weekend trip. Wedding is behind us, Son is here, I'm off to buy your book! Hugs!ReplyDelete
I hope you enjoy it, DL--and if you do then post a review. If not... well.... haha! Great to be here visiting! Big hugs!!!Delete
I just loved reading about the plantation! They are all beautiful buildings - I love the old brick look. I cannot imagine that they have been around that long. I'd probably stand and stare for ages at it all just dreaming of what might have gone on there. I have Carrie's book, but haven't started it yet - now I can picture it while I'm reading!ReplyDelete
Thanks Susan! That Flemish bond brickwork is amazing--all made by hand at Shirley. Yes--now u have to read it!!! Blessings!Delete
Thanks for even more insight into the history of the Shirley Plantation! I already wanted to visit it, now even more so....lol.ReplyDelete
I enjoyed the book very much, and thank you for writing and sharing it!
Hi Betti! Thanks so much and so glad you enjoyed it. Many blessings!!!Delete
Carrie, I loved reading this about the Shirley Plantation. Hard to believe there are any buildings still standing after 400 years, I don't think this will be the case of any built now, if GOD hasn't come by then. I so wish my kids had of known about this place in 2009 when they traveled through VA. on vacation.( 3 couples of them.) I want my daughter to see and read this so will tell her to visit this site. If you see a comment by her, it will be Donna Lawson. This would be my dream vacation. Hugs, Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)comReplyDelete
The buildings were constructed in the 1700s but the plantation was started 400 years ago, Maxie. Hugs!!!Delete
Beautiful and fascinating. Thanks for sharing this valuable landmark!ReplyDelete
Karla, I love this place and the staff is amazing. People should get out and see this National treasure.Delete
Great posting!! I would love to visit Shirley Plantation. Maybe a trip to Virginia. History is so important. Thank you for this wonderful information and for entering me in your giveaway!!ReplyDelete
Barbara, Put it on your bucket list and get over there to see it! Great place! Thanks for coming by!Delete
This looks very interesting and something that I would love to look into.ReplyDelete
centraleast2 at gmail dot com
I SURELY would love to see Shirley Plantation!! The pictures are great and thanks for the info as well as the chance to win!ReplyDelete
JoJo, it is a great place! Thanks for your kind words!Delete
I really love Christian historical fiction. I am also wanting to learn more about periods of time in American History.
Good for you, Anne! I love all this stuff, too! Blessings!Delete
And the winner of our giveaway, selected by random.org, is A.J. Hawke! congratulations, A. J.! Carrie will be contacting you with your copy of her fabulous novella.ReplyDelete
Thank you everybody for coming by and leaving a comment.
Thanks so much for having me on, Kathy! I'll be back home on Thursday evening. Blessings!Delete