One day on a trip to pick up groceries in the Fall of 2008, David and Charlene Scibal saw a “For Sale” sign outside of the Willow Grove historic house. Within 24 hours, the property was on its way to a renovation project on a massive scale.
“We had always admired the historic building and saw this as an opportunity to bring an old beauty back,” says David Scibal, “and the project was massive.” As renovations are wont to do, the pet project grew in scale over two years and the end result was a truly astonishing transformation:
The Inn at Willow Grove
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About The Inn at Willow Grove
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HISTORY ABOUT THE INN AT WILLOW GROVE
A BRIEF HISTORY ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY, VIRGINIA
History about The Inn at Willow Grove
Willow Grove was acquired in 1778 by Joseph Clark, one of the largest land surveyors in the region (it was he who surveyed Montpelier for the widowed Dolley Madison prior to its sale in 1844). Even from its origin, the manor house was incredibly special. In 1820, the original frame portion of the structure was valued at $1,125 (for reference, a “nice” home at that time was usually valued at about $200!) The original federal style house was expanded in the mid-1800s, when the brick structure with Jeffersonian columns and hanging porches were added by the same craftsmen chosen by Thomas Jefferson to work on the University of Virginia. At present, original structures including the schoolhouse, smokehouse, weaving house, ash house and spring house remain on the property. These structures supported the working farm for many years. Not unusual in Orange County during the Civil War, Willow Grove saw some action on the property. Trenches and gun emplacements are visible near the house and a cannon ball was found lodged in the manor house’s eaves many years ago.
The property has changed hands many times and has undergone any number of renovations and expansions since its origin in 1778. Willow Grove operated as a bed & breakfast for over 20 years before the current owners David & Charlene Scibal purchased the property in 2008 and began a massive, multi-million dollar top-to-bottom renovation that was completed in 2010. The Inn at Willow Grove has been transformed into a luxurious boutique hotel, full-service spa, and Forbes Travel Guide Four Star-rated restaurant that offers guests elegant and contemporary ‘urban meets classic country’ décor, gourmet farm-to-table cuisine, and gracious personal service - true Southern hospitality. With 25 elegant rooms and suites in the manor house and surrounding cottages, The Inn at Willow Grove invites guests to escape, unwind and indulge in luxury.
A Brief History about Orange County, Virginia
The Virginia colony was the wealthiest and most powerful colony in British America, and Orange County was very much a part of its growth and development. The county was formed in 1734, named for William (Prince of the Royal House of Orange) who married Anne, daughter of King George II. Orange County was the largest county ever formed in the state and at one point included all of Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Southern portions of what are now Michigan and Wisconsin, Western Pennsylvania and a large part of what is now the Commonwealth of Virginia. With deep roots in Revolutionary history (Orange County was the site of a famous clash between the Marquis de Lafayette and Cornwallis), Constitutional history (Orange was home to James Madison, America’s fourth President and architect of the Constitution) and of course Civil War history, Orange County is very much a part of key moments in our nation’s past. Robert E. Lee’s winter encampment in Orange lasted from 1863 – 1864 (his pew remains to this day inside the historic St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Main Street). In May 1864, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia clashed with the Federal Army of the Potomac in the Battle of the Wilderness (along Route 20), and, following a severe injury to his arm at the Battle of Chancellorsville, Stonewall Jackson was on his way to receive treatment at the historic Exchange Hotel in Gordonsville before passing away from complications with pneumonia in 1864.
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