|Property type||chateau / country house|
|Minimum Stay||2 nights|
Steeped in History
Step back in time to 1763, when William Churchill, the patriarch of one of Virginia’s leading colonial families, completed the construction of Wilton House, an elegant, now beautifully preserved, T-shaped Georgian plantation house near the Piankatank River in the Tidewater region on Virginia's Middle Peninsula.
Whether you come for a weekend or a week, a month or a season, Wilton’s eight graciously furnished rooms -- filled with 18th and 19th century antiques, dramatic oriental rugs, and an alluring collection of 19th and 20th century paintings – will provide stimulation for the senses, respite for the soul, and renewal for the spirit.
Three bedrooms and three accompanying bathrooms make Wilton House an inviting setting for one or two couples or a small family or group of friends. The house can comfortably accommodate up to six overnight guests.
This historic plantation house is a travel destination in its own right. But Wilton is also a convenient jumping off point to explore the quiet pleasures of Tidewater Virginia, from kayaking along the nearby Piankatank River, to sailing from Deltaville, eating fresh oysters along the Rappahannock, or exploring the nearby villages of Urbanna, Kilmarnock and Gloucester Courthouse. Richmond, Colonial Williamsburg (intimately tied in spirit and history to Wilton House), and a host of James River Plantations are within an hour’s drive.
The House: Reception Rooms
Sit for a while in the paneled parlor, the most elegant room in the house, with walls wearing only their second coat of paint ever, “Williamsburg blue,” applied over 200 hundred years ago. Mr. Churchhill entertained his most important guests in this showpiece room. Today the furnishings are intentionally simple -- just four early Queen Anne chairs around a 1760 drop-leaf table, placed in the center of the room -- the better to appreciate this remarkably well preserved paneling, in the high-style of the late Colonial period. This can be a place for a game of cards, for animated conversation, or for simply imagining what has transpired within these four walls over the past two and a half centuries.
Across the hall, the Red Room awaits, a less formal, but no less striking parlor with its stunning red-painted woodwork. This gathering room is the perfect spot for conversation among friends, drinks before a fire, board games, reading, or listening to music. (One of two Bose music systems is here in The Red Room.)
There are no TV screens at Wilton, but there is high speed Wi-Fi throughout the house and in this spacious room you might comfortably catch up on your email or otherwise connect to cyberspace while sitting on the Sheraton period sofa, or one of two the circa 1790 lolling chairs. Or you may be inspired to sit at the impressive ca. 1800 Virginia slant-front desk and bookcase and pen a letter to an old friend. The antique furnishings here, as in the rest of the house, are not just to be viewed and admired but to be used for their intended purposes. Make yourself at home.
Formal Dining Room and Country Kichen
Walking from the two front parlors and the central passage between them toward the back of this T-shaped house takes you to the staircase hallway. This is the heart of Wilton, and, yes, it’s all original: the painted paneling, the heart pine stairs themselves, the walnut balustrades and handrail.
Passing through the staircase hall, the elegant dining room beckons. The mostly Federal period furniture here includes the ca. 1800 mahogany Hepplewhite table, with its impressively figured wide boards; eight Federal period dining chairs, and a 1790 Baltimore serpentine sideboard with two Federal knife boxes sitting atop. A tall clock keeps the time, and sparkling period-style lighting illuminates several 19th century American paintings on the walls. Plus, all you need for an elegant dinner setting is at hand: gleaming crystal stemware, Havilland Limoges 'Vieux Paris' china, and flatware to match.
Despite all the attractions of the foregoing rooms, you may find yourself spending a lot of time in the kitchen, with its warm hearth of 250-year old brick fabricated on the premises. Abundant bright natural light from its three windows on the east, north and west walls reflects off newly plastered white walls over 18-inch thick masonry. Underfoot are warm (and well worn!) heart pine floors. There are top of the line appliances here, of course, and gleaming white French Limoges porcelain as well as everything you need to cook -- for two or ten (or not at all.) The feeling is of a country style kitchen, simple yet elegant. A late 18th century hutch table and six Windsor chairs provide an inviting setting for everyday day meals, or perhaps an intimate chat over a spot of tea.
Head up the steps from the stairway hall and you will find three bedrooms and three full baths. To the right at the head of the stairs is the privately situated master bedroom suite, in the rear portion of the house. You first enter the bedroom, with its inviting antique queen-sized, four poster bed, ca.1820. Early red-painted wooden shutters here will keep out the unruly morning sun. Beyond is a large, full bathroom and dressing area, where a 4-foot square Carrera marble and glass rain shower mixes company with 250-year old heart-pine floors and the most unusual of the 23 window seats in the house. In front of the hearth, a 1760 mahogany, “colt-footed” Irish drop leaf table and accompanying desk chair invite you to linger.
The two other bedrooms and bathrooms sit across the upstairs hallway in the front of the house. The large Churchhill Room, on the Southwest corner, has its own en suite bathroom, with tub and shower wand. This amply proportioned room features an antique Southern black walnut acorn-top bed, retrofitted as a California king. Two easy chairs (ca. 1980!) and a stunning 1790 mahogany slant front desk make this an inviting space for sitting, reading, writing, study -- and sleeping!
On the Southeast corner is the smaller third bedroom, the Salem Room, with its mahogany carved double bed, ca. 1820, a ladies dressing table and a 1790 shield-back arm chair, (all from the Massachusetts North Shore, possibly Salem.) This bedroom is served by the adjacent hall bath, with its spacious subway-tiled shower.
And, yes, there is more. Outdoors, two patios and several benches invite you to enjoy the fresh country air and the massive English boxwoods that wrap around the front of the house.
Beyond, a stroll along the driveway, across the fields and through the woods of Wilton’s 25 acres makes a nearly one-mile loop.
Need just a little more solitude? A 19th century log cabin -- heated but not plumbed -- sits 100 feet to the west of the house; its one room with fireplace and sleeping loft above provides a place apart.
And last but not least is another special feature of Wilton plantation. One hundred and fifty feet to the east of the main house is a circa 1840 dependency. This 16’ x 32’ cabin is a duplex structure, divided down the middle into two rooms, each with its own outside entrance and fireplace. This outbuilding was most likely used as a slave dwelling as well as a kitchen and perhaps a laundry. The chimneys have been rebuilt, and failing plaster has been replaced and re-worked, but the structure, like the main house, has lost none of its authenticity. Guests are invited to use the cabin, and their imaginations, to ponder what it must have been like to live and work in this space nearly 200 years ago.
Your host during your stay at Wilton will be Judith Dickinson. Judith was born in the south west of England and has spent her professional life in the hotel industry and private estates. She uses these skills running her bed and breakfast, Atherston Hall, in nearby Urbanna. Her attention to detail ensures Wilton is always beautifully prepared for arriving guests . She will be also be happy to make special arrangements for your visit, including catered meals, provisioning, housekeeping, laundry service, and event planning.
Wilton and its 250-year history beckon. We await your inquiries -- and your arrival.
I grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and have lived and worked in Washington DC for the past four decades. No doubt my New England roots and Virginia's fascinating early American history lured me to explore and finally take on the preservation of this remarkable colonial plantation house.
Judith Dickinson purchased this chateau / country house in 2011
At a time of personal transition, I was looking for a project that was engaging and challenging. Wilton House was it! Though 250 years old, this colonial plantation house had never been modernized. And, miraculously, it retained almost all its original features -- masonry, flooring, woodwork, floorplan and exterior foot print. Even the paint dates back to the 18th century. All it needed was some tender loving care -- and modern plumbing, heating, cooling, and electrical systems. The result, I think, is a very livable home with all the modern comforts but with the authentic look, touch and feel of the 18th century original. Live here for several days, or a week, or a month and breath in 250 years of Virginia history.
A just published book, 15 years in the making, by the folks at Colonial Williamsburg, entitled 'The Chesapeake House,' features a picture of the front hallway at Wilton. It's a stunning image, but one that is easily matched by a dozen or more similar sights at this remarkable property. Two hundred and fifty year-old woodwork with 250 year-old paint. Paneled interior shutters on 9 over 9 windows downstairs, 6 over 6 up. Twenty-three -- count'em -- window seats. Heart pine floor boards, never varnished and never ever sanded, that have only gotten more beautiful, and soulful, with time. Wilton will be high on the list for lovers of old architecture and historical homes. But you won't have to be a history buff to recognize that this is simply a beautiful place to slow down, breath deeply, and allow your soul to rest and then expand.
"Dear Mr. Foster,
Thank you for letting us stay in this beautifully restored house. We have enjoyed learning about the history of the house, as well as the time period when it was bnuilt. We are very thankful to have been able to stay here. From the serene landscape to the incredible furnishings, our stay here has been extremely enjoyable."
As a Richmond, Virginia girl, my grandmother, great aunt and mother took me to antique auctions and shops, estate sales and historic homes from an early age. They educated me about antiques and periods and though I am far from an expert, they instilled in me a love and respect for antiques and restorations done correctly. Wilton is the epitome of what those ladies taught me. Respect what you have been left, restore it with the least modification and where you must modify do so with care and quality. Other reviewers have done an excellent job of describing the furnishings in the home. The antiques are beautiful and the ability to "go behind the rope at the museum" and use them on a daily basis is so much fun. I kept waiting for the museum docent to come tell me to get back on the tour! The grounds and area surrounding Wilton are quiet and beautiful. Though within a reasonable distance to grocery stores and restaurants, you definitely need a car while staying at Wilton.
Though every modern convenience exists at Wilton, these additions have been done with such care that they meld the old and new seamlessly. The bathrooms and kitchen have been done beautifully and add to the experience at Wilton. My husband fell in love with the kitchen and cooked much more than normal for a vacation. The light in the kitchen, layout and luxury appliances made the room feel so comfortable yet appropriate for the home. The bathrooms are equally beautiful and unique... and of course spotless and clean. The beds are comfy (we slept in two!) and covered with high thread count sheets and equally comfy pillows. Unlike many vacation homes available for rent, the basics were already in the home plus many additional items. No need to buy the usual condiments, paper products or coffee. A bottle or two of wine and some great Virginia whiskey were also to be found.
We loved our time at Wilton and would definitely return. It was the type of vacation that is difficult to duplicate!
Wilton is a place apart. For those who value exquisite design, thoughtful accommodations and the very idea of historic preservation, this is an extraordinary experience. We felt fortunate, indeed, to be able to stay in a home with so much original fabric: paneling, brickwork, painted surfaces and handsome heart pine floors. The restraint in decorating and choice antiques--none of which were fussy, thankfully--made every moment a visual treat. Among the things we appreciated were: historic prints, pierced tin lanterns, "Picass-esque" paintings, pottery from past and present, durable and attractive linens, light channeled through deep set windows, stacks of beguiling books and always, the smell of boxwood. Kudos for a remarkable restoration and thanks to Judith for her informative and warm welcome. We can't wait to return.
I loved so many things about Wilton, but above all else I loved the tranquility. It’s stately, it’s beautiful, but most of all, it’s peaceful. Look across the green fields: There’s that classic silhouette against the sky. Wind up the drive, step through the door, and you’re part of Wilton’s long, long story. A place that’s endured for 250 years has a way of putting your worries into perspective.
And you’re the guest of a perfect host who provides every comfort. A kitchen that’s a cook’s dream. In every room, easy chairs and excellent lighting . . . not to mention antiques and artwork worthy of a museum. Stacks and stacks of wonderful books. Guaranteed sweet dreams in luxurious beds. And baths that would spoil a Hollywood celebrity.
Judith’s kind welcome; dark, dark nights for stargazing; doing needlework in the Red Room; gently touching woodwork carved before there was a United States of America: These are my fondest memories of Wilton, a gem of hospitality in a jewel box of history.
My family and I stayed at Wilton House for a weekend in mid May, 2014. What a beautiful place - a lovely combination of historical preservation and luxury resort. An easy drive to Colonial Williamsburg... but much more authentic! The entire house has been restored with respect for the history of the site and an incredible aesthetic eye. The owner is also an art dealer, so the house is full of amazing paintings, not to mention the antiques! There are also lovely paths outdoors. For the history buff, the library is stocked with books on Virginia History - why don't you read one in the parlor with its *original paint*!? I literally wandered around just *looking* at everything... so beautiful!
The bed/bath areas rival many luxury hotels, and the kitchen is fully equipped for cooking your own meals. My kids loved it, but if you have children, just consider: do your kids mix well with a house full of antiques and art? If that's going to be stressful for you, consider this place for a grown-ups retreat, instead. With three bedrooms, this could be the site of the best girl's weekend, ever!
In short, fantastic property, and I'd love to go back.
In Middlesex County, in Virginia's 'Middle' Peninsula, near the Piankatank and Rappahannock Rivers and Chesapeake Bay close to historic homes and churches and one hour to Colonial Williamsburg, Richmond and many James River Plantations.
|Rental Period||Minimum Price||Additional Nights||Weekend Night||Weekly||Monthly *||Event Price|
My Standard Rate
2 night minimum stay
for 2 nights
|Refundable Damage Deposit||$500.00|
|Notes||For stays of more than one week, fresh linens and towels are provided weekly, unless other arrangements are made for more frequent housekeeping services.|
* Approximate monthly price. Actual pricing will depend on the days of the month you stay.
Please Note: The owner of this property accepts payment in the original currency specified (USD), before use of conversion tool. The conversion tool is provided for your convenience only. The owner may accept other currencies if specifically agreed in advance.