About Belle Grove Plantation
Belle Grove is located in the northern Shenandoah Valley near Middletown, Virginia. Its Manor House was built in 1797 by Major Isaac Hite and his wife Nelly Madison Hite, sister of President James Madison. Major Hite, grandson of Shenandoah Valley Pioneer Jost Hite, began the plantation with 483 acres and expanded it to a prosperous 7,500 acre enterprise, growing wheat, raising cattle and Merino sheep, and operating a large distillery and several mills.
Based on design principles of Thomas Jefferson, the elegant Federal era Manor House features intricate, hand-carved woodwork and a restored interior. The house was constructed of native limestone quarried on the property. Currently restored to Belle Grove's early 19th century elegance, the house is remarkably unscathed despite more than two centuries of turmoil and triumph.
Belle Grove was used as a headquarters by Union General Phillip Sheridan during the Civil War Valley Campaign of 1864 and was at the very center of the pivotal Battle of Cedar Creek. After a surprise attack by Confederate General Jubal Early in the early hours of October 19, 1864, General Sheridan quickly regained the territory, securing the Valley for the Union and boosting President Abraham Lincoln's chances for re-election.
Today, Belle Grove is a National Trust for Historic Preservation site and the centerpiece of the Cedar Creek and Belle Grove National Historical Park. Situated on 283 acres of the original 483 acres, Belle Grove showcases the Shenandoah Valley's breathtaking mountain views. Visitors to Belle Grove's plantation grounds may tour the Manor House, 1815 icehouse and smokehouse, teaching garden designed by the Garden Club of Virginia, slave cemetery, and a heritage apple orchard. For tour information and hours, please click here.