I just love a place with a good story to tell. Here in the Fredericksburg region, I often come across delicious little niches where rich narratives are layered like the skin of an onion.
Stevenson Ridge, located just off Courthouse Road as you approach the charming and historic Spotsylvania Courthouse area, is one of those places.
The 82-acre retreat is home to 10 restored historic structures—many of which have been painstakingly moved from locations elsewhere in Virginia and North Carolina. The good folks at Stevenson Ridge offer cozy, quiet lodging, as well as special events and catering for everything from weddings to history symposiums to community fundraisers.
All of this sits on a bucolic sprawling property situated right next to the Spotsylvania Battlefield, part of the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park and site of the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.
That location makes Stevenson Ridge a great jumping-off point for exploring the battlefields, enjoying the outdoors at Lake Anna, shopping in downtown Fredericksburg or visiting other area attractions. But it’s also an excellent place to forget about the rest of the world and luxuriate in the natural beauty and unique collection of historic objects and structures on-site.
Events are held at the Lodge (pictured at left), a large structure that incorporates the framing timbers and roof trusses of an early 19th-century Canadian church. The doors to the banquet hall at the Lodge were once in the home of President Ulysses S. Grant.
The largest of the guesthouses is the Riddick House (pictured at the top of this post), a magnificent 1812 plantation home that was moved—every one of its 50,000 pieces catalogued and labeled—from North Carolina. In the master bedroom you’ll find a kidney-shaped desk that once adorned President Franklin Roosevelt’s Oval Office, and in the sunroom are four barstools whose former home is Elvis Presley’s Graceland.
Fill your days here with peaceful walks around the property, where you can ponder the origins of the other buildings. The one-bedroom Servants’ Quarters, built in the 1850s, was moved here from Stanardsville, and once served as headquarters for Gen. George Armstrong Custer.
The Log Home, also moved from the Stanardsville area, dates to the 1930s and reportedly was once a courthouse. The Spy Hill House is the oldest structure on the property, dating to 1732. It was moved from an estate in King George County.
Other features highlight the compelling history of the property itself. In the woods you’ll find what the National Parks Service has called the region’s best privately owned Civil War earthworks.
The original residence on the property, The Civil War House, is an antebellum home that has been restored as a 2-bedroom, pet-friendly guesthouse with original wood floors. On the mantel of the house’s cozy wood-burning fireplace you’ll find an electric clock with a Westminster chime that innkeeper Debbie Hawkins’ grandfather purchased on Dec. 7, 1950, as an anniversary present for his wife. (You know I can't resist a timepiece with a tale.) Manufactured by the Revere Clock Co. of Cincinnati, Ohio, the clock’s sales slip said it was “guaranteed to give perfect satisfaction.”
The same can be said for venturing out to this peaceful part of Spotsylvania, away from the hustle and bustle, to reflect on history, nature, or just the tranquil passage of time.