Every year, a prized item at the Amazing Life Games preschool auction in Washington is a weekend trip to Oak Grove Plantation bed & breakfast. Pickett teaches there several days a week when she is not operating the inn from May to September.
The winner at this year’s auction, Kristen Degan, had a lot of good things to say about Oak Grove:
“We thought our B&B days were over once our kids came along, but this is a kid-friendly B&B!!!
“There are 3 rooms upstairs that are perfect for a large family and one bedroom downstairs that is perfect for a family of 3 or 4 (with kids on an air mattress). There are paths throughout the 400 acres for kids to explore, a train that goes under a bridge (that you can stand on while the train goes under!) really close to the house, an old cemetery, and a bunch of areas in the yard where grown-ups can sit and hang out.
“South Boston, VA is 4-5 hours from DC, but you can break up your trip with a stop at the Children’s Museum or the Science Museum in Richmond. Or you could combine a stay at Pickett’s with a stay in the Shenandoah Valley, breaking up the trip that way and avoiding traveling on 95.”
Adds this year’s preschool director, Deborah Kline: “I second Kristen’s recommendation! My son and I spent two nights at Oak Grove, and it was definitely a highlight of our summer.”
River boating is a popular sport in Halifax County, part of the Southern Virginia Wild Blueway. Children, fishermen and river rafters are just a few of the people who will enjoy paddling the easy-flowing rivers in this part of the state.
We’ve sent some of our visitors to River Traders, which rents kayaks and canoes at Staunton River State Park, just a half-hour from our inn. Experienced boaters can stop at the Route 360 bridge over the river, get their boats and have their car driven to the River Trader store in the park, where they can end their four-hour boat ride.
Less-experienced paddlers may prefer to rent the boats at the park and paddle around the Staunton and Dan rivers, just before the waterways enter Kerr Lake, also known as Buggs Island Lake. “The water has slowed down so much by then that you can even paddle up and down the river,” says owner Bob Bateman. His rates are $50 for a canoe and $40 for a kayak at Route 360 and $40 for a canoe and $30 for a kayak at the state park. Boaters should call him first to set up a time at 434-575-1022. His email is email@example.com.
Boating is also popular on Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston and the Banister River, especially where it runs through the town of Halifax. There is a landing at Kings Bridge for boating to Terry’s Bridge landing, past scenic undeveloped wilderness and an occasional egret and even bald eagle.
In such a rural area, there are no city lights to diminish your view of the skies. The planets and constellations that you can’t see in Washington or Raleigh are quite visible here.
You can do star gazing from our front yard to see the Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Orion or whatever else you want to view. But you can also go to a star-gazing program at Staunton River State Park, about a half hour from here. The park has teamed up with the Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) to offer star gazing programs on July 17 and Aug. 21 from 9 to 11 p.m. This is an opportunity to gaze at the night sky’s celestial bodies through high powered telescopes with the guidance of seasoned astronomers. The star gazing is held near the visitor center. Ask us for details.
Now let’s talk about the T— word, the one no one wants to talk about. But we will. Ticks are common in the woods of rural and urban communities, and one or two might try to latch onto you if you walk in the deep grass.
Hiking is one of the favorite activities on our 400-acre farm. We take care to be sure that our guests are not burdened by these crawling insects. In some cases, they are known to cause Rocky Mountain spotted fever and, mainly further to the Northeast, they can cause lyme disease. Harmless but itchy chiggers also roam in the grass.
–The three-mile trail is mowed regularly, keeping the grass pretty low.
–We advise hikers to wear long pants and tuck them inside their socks.
–We have insect spray that will deter most ticks. If you would like we can treat your pants overnight with tick-resistant spray
–At the end of a hike, we suggest that hikers check themselves for ticks. A shower isn’t a bad idea.
–If a tick is found, it is best to remove it with tweezers because fingernails aren’t always effective. Drop it in the toilet or a cup of rubbing alcohol to be sure it doesn’t latch on to somebody else.
–You can also just sit on the tick-free front porch and enjoy a glass of lemonade.
Don’t miss the Prizery’s Summer Theater, featuring the fabled “Wizard of Oz” with a score by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, and “Anything Goes,” with music by Cole Porter. Mike will appear as a preacher in “Anything Goes,” just a year after being a priest in “Les Miserables.” Is he being typecast? Maybe he should go to divinity school.
Starting this Friday (June 19), join Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto as they travel the universe of Dorothy’s imagination. Over 20 collegiate and professional actors and technicians join a local company of more than 50 people to bring this classic 1939 MGM film to life on stage. Shows at 7:30 p.m. June 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 and July 2-3. And 2:30 p.m. June 21, 24, 28 and July 1. Additional information at www.prizery.com.
And beginning July 10, you can see Anything Goes, the age-old tale of Boy-Meets-Girl, featuring wonderful tap-dancing numbers and songs such as “I Get a Kick Out of You,” “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” “S’Wonderful” and “You’re the Top.” July 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., and July 12, 15 and 19 at 2:30 p.m.
Spend the night at Oak Grove Plantation, where you discuss the musicals with Mike and Arianna Jerome, a theater major who is staying with us.
After hosting our daughter’s wedding there on May 16, we decided to open up our historic inn to others who want to get married. We can provide local catering, tents, tables and chairs, photos, music, wedding cake and local wine and beer for up to 150 people.
We had a wonderful time with friends from all over the country celebrating the marriage of Sara and Lance, who are from the Washington area but will live in Richmond. The weather was perfect, and so were the guests and local services!
Oak Grove has been named one of the 14 leading eco-friendly B&Bs in the country by bedandbreakfast.com. The article in its latest newsletter says:
“This stately antebellum home blends past and present, promoting both the B&B’s 200-year history and the modern potential of solar-generated energy. The property houses a solar photo-voltaic system that generates clean electricity. “Our guests will be able to sip lemonade on the front porch as my ancestors once did, then tour the 25×10-footlineup of solar panels in the back field,” says innkeeper Pickett Craddock, whose family has owned the former tobacco plantation since 1820. To make the property greener, the owners are installing “low-e” energy-efficient storm windows on the south side. Guests who arrive in hybrid vehicles get a third night free.
Each of three rooms is spacious and dressed to impress in gorgeous hardwood floors. Depending on choice of accommodations, guests will feel right at home (but also far from home) in the company of an antique oak desk, canopy bed, and large handmade rug. Awaken to the aroma of breakfast specialties wafting from the Oak Grove kitchen on into the charming Victorian dining room in which it’s served. Anyone for Cluster Springs egg puff, lemon soufflé pancakes and homemade biscuits?”
Most of our guests love our bed & breakfast. “Warm hospitality in a peaceful country setting,” wrote one customer. “Oak Grove is the very best place I could have hoped for!” wrote another. Still, you may not want to come if:
- You hate dogs. We have two very friendly standard poodles who love to be petted. We are a dog-friendly B&B, and our guests can bring their dogs and stay in the Library. Solution: Let us know you don’t like dogs and stay in the family suite.
- You want a place close to the city. We are an hour from Durham but about two hours from Richmond and 4 ½ hours from Washington. Solution: You can take a train or stay longer. Time your trips to avoid weekday or weekend rush times.
- You want to watch TV. We say we skipped the 20th Century: We do not have a TV but we do have wi-fi for streaming your favorite shows to your computer.
- You and your friend prefer breakfast alone rather than with others in the dining room. Solution: It can be arranged, if you wish.
- You are startled by train whistles. One-hundred-car trains travel a quarter mile from the house several times a day. Solution: We can provide earplugs, but the trains don’t bother most people who are used to city noises. Many run to see the trains and photograph them.
- You want shops and restaurants within walking distance. Solution: Drive to South Boston and walk to the interesting local shops and restaurants.
The Halifax Solar Co-op will have its final info session at 2pm Saturday January 24 at the Stem Education Center 315 South Main Street, Halifax, VA 24558 The info session is intended for Halifax County residents and business owners interested in going solar as a group and saving money off the cost of an installation.
Word of mouth is the best way to help grow our co-op and increase the size of the group. Tell your friends and neighbors!
Help us Select the Co-op’s Solar installer: Bid Selection Committee Meeting January 25
The request for proposal (RFP) was issued on Dec 19th to get competitive bids from area installers. We now need members of the co-op to select the group’s solar installer as part of the Bid Selection Committee. No solar knowledge is required to be part the Committee and VA SUN facilitates the process by compiling the bid information, explaining technical concepts and facilitating the meeting- in which you’all select the installer for the group.
The Selection Committee will be held at Halifax Town Hall, January 25th at 2pm (70 South Main Street, Halifax, VA 24558)
To participate in the Selection Committee, please RSVP to me (firstname.lastname@example.org.
Details at: http://www.vasun.org/halifax-county-solar-co-op/