Historic Farm Stay
Ditchley Cider Works, Klmarnock, Va.
Roots run deep in Virginia, and few places run deeper than Ditchley Farm. The rich acreage of the Northern Neck was home to Algonquian-speaking Native Americans for centuries before Chief Powhatan made the acquaintance of Captain John Smith at Jamestown in 1607. Colonel Richard Lee arrived in 1639 as secretary to the colonial governor, and soon after acquired acreage near Dividing Creek. The Georgian-style manor house built by his great-grandson dates to 1752. In 1929, philanthropists Alfred and Jessie Ball duPont purchased and expanded the property, adding a stately caretaker’s house. After them, it passed into the hands of the duPont Foundation and then was left empty.
Enter Cathy Calhoun and Phil Grosklags, who purchased the 160-acre waterfront estate in 2014. Their years-long restoration has won awards for historic preservation, and today the farm is part of a conservation easement. The caretaker’s house has been turned into a cider house and tasting room, for boozy juice pressed from farm-grown apples. Across the lane, Belted Galloway cattle graze contentedly; elsewhere are hogs, ducks, and turkeys. A large lawn connects the two red-brick houses, creating an ideal space for events, be it cider tastings with food trucks and live music or estate buyouts for weddings and other celebrations.
Guests renting the Cider House get the run of the house, including the tasting room, kitchen, and four bedrooms. The more formal Manor House is usually rented as part of a buyout for weddings. Overnight stays include a true farm-to-table breakfast, and the use of kayaks and SUPs, ideal for exploring Dividing Creek from the farm’s private sandy beach. The couple is currently restoring a third house, located on the creek with a beautiful pier, which should be available by mid-August. You’re just three miles from Kilmarnock, which makes it a great base for exploring the Northern Neck.
Ditchleyciderworks.com. Cider House from $520/night via airbnb.