Friday, July 20, 2012

Oak Ridge Estate and Gardens


Thank God we got some much needed rain yesterday afternoon and this morning. Our parched gardens and fields were desperate for it. We still need much more to get the water levels back up but we are thankful for the amounts we received.
Since the garden is thankfully wet this morning I will share some more pictures taken on vacation this summer.

Oakridge_Mansion_Front This is Oakridge Estate situated on a lovely mountain ridge near Arrington Virginia. Its beautiful mansion, grounds and gardens speak of a by gone day of opulence and grander.

OE_Mansion_Back_Entrance Back Entrance

The Colonial Revival Mansion is surrounded by 5,000 acres of land and still operates a working farm.


We saw workers throughout the property  on our way into the mansion mowing and baling hay, not doubt for the many beautiful horses that were in the fields. There was also a horse racetrack on the property.

Old Water Tower

Recorded history of the Oak Ridge Estate begins in the 1730s with the original land grant. The earliest owners were two Bristol merchants, John Harmer (ca. 1710-1791) and Walter King (ca. 1714-1792). As British subjects, their property was confiscated in the American Revolution. Some of their holdings were acquired by Col. William Cabell (1730-1798).
Through the years the Mansion has  had several owners and was left vacant for twenty years where it fell into disrepair.

OE_Telephone_Office Old Telephone Office

In 1989 the property was purchased by John C. Holland, Sr. of Suffolk, Virginia, who was a salvage yard operator. The Estate is now owned by Mr. Holland's children. In addition to the resident proprietors, Oak Ridge has a small support staff. Since 1990, the Oak Ridge Estate has been under restoration and documentation. Our goal is to understand all aspects of the Estate's history and connections while restoring the property as much as possible to the Thomas Fortune Ryan era.

OE_Carriage_House Carriage House

We were informed by the guide that son, Mr. Holland had passed away in December and his widow was in residence on the top floors of the mansion. One hopes that the restoration will be continued by children.

One area that saddened us was to see the large conservatory that must have been spectacular in its day in such a state. With years of no occupancy and hurricanes the glass was almost all destroyed. They have hopes that this too will be restored one day.

A lizard was in dire peril here. LOL!

A past this fun statue and down the path was a roadway that lead to where once the mansion had its own train station. Visitors and guests of the family back in the day were transported to the carriage house where they then walked the pathway that leads to the main entrance of the mansion.

OE_CuttingGardens A cutting garden is still grown at the mansion.

OE_CuttingGarden_Paths And a huge arbor surrounds the cutting garden on three sides.
Most of the spring plants were out of bloom at the time of our visit.


But there was a huge planting of these frilly poppies.


Rose Companion

OE_Italian_Garden On the back side of the mansion was this spectacular Italian Garden making it more beautiful that the entrance way.
Who would not want backdoor friends to enter this way. LOL!

Throughout the Italian garden were columns and statues.



Below the Italian and formal gardens a balcony over looks down upon a large rose garden and a view of the surrounding hills and valley below.




I have saw a few water wells where they drew water with a bucket from a rope but this has to be the fanciest. LOL!



We were given free pass to walk anywhere around the grounds where the many gravel paths or roadways lead us.


This was a little out of the way side trip that we took on vacation and it turned out to be a gem.
Everyone have a wonderful weekend and….
Happy Gardening,



scottweberpdx said...

Wow...can you imagine actually LIVING there!

Muddy Boot Dreams said...

That is an amazing estate, how wonderful to have a chance to see such history. Could you imagine strolling the grounds after embarking the train....taking tea on the front lawn. Sigh...

Thanks for sharing such beauty with us.

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Kay said...

What a beautiful estate and the grounds are just as beautiful. Looks like a wonderful place to visit.

Nadezda said...

Lona, very interesting trip! I love Italian garden with statues. I'm glad you had much rain finally!

Skeeter said...

It is so sad to see such places of grandeur of yesteryear fallen into disrepair. I do hope that generations to follow will continue with restoration. It would be a shame to loose such a wonderful place. The missing glass panels just make one want to cry. I can only imagine the glorious times of the past for this place. Wow…

Zoey said...

I don't think I have ever seen those frilly poppies. Nice!

I think the conservatory looks beautiful even in its current state of disrepair. I can only imagine how it would look fully restored.

bakingbarb said...

Good you got some rain, we are getting more than our fair share as is usual here.
My gosh what a stunning place to visit, such a majestic place in it's time. I imagine it must have been so grand and the gardens in their day even more stunning. Quite beautiful.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

What a beautiful place! I hope they are able to complete the restorations.

Bernie H said...

It's wonderful to hear you finally got some rain. Here's hoping there's more on the way. Oak Ridge Estate looks quite magnificent. I just adored that little telephone office. How grand! Loved the boys mucking about around the tree stump too! What a fabulous piece.

Sadun blogi - Satu's blog said...

What a wonderful place you've visited! That lizardstatue is "wow".

Have a nice weekend. Let's hope you'll get more rain.

Darla said...

Glad you got some rain. What a peaceful looking place, such a large conservatory...sad. I just love the frilly poppy, don't recall ever seeing one like that!

Bernideen said...

what beautiful gardens and buildings - lovely tour you gave us!

~Gardener on Sherlock Street said...

What an amazing place. That conservatory will be stunning filled back in with glass. Thank you for sharing all your beautiful photos!

Gardening Under The Influence said...

I have been re-reading 'Gone With The Wind' this summer. Oakridge looks like the perfect Tara.

Alistair said...

Truly stunning, as is the photography.

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Wow! What a magnificent garden and grounds. The house is nice too! I know you enjoyed your time here... I wouldn't want to leave.

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...

Wow! I thought I knew most of the places in VA to check out and you have shared a new one!! Very nice. thanks for letting us in on a lovely garden and home.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic estate Lona! I spent part of my childhood growing up in Virginia but I never knew about this place. The conservatory & greenhouses are fabulous. I sure hope they find a way to restore them. Lovely shape. I'm glad you detoured to visit. I'm writing it down in case I ever get back to see it in person. Looks like a place I could spend a lot of time....


Looks like a gem, all right. I would love to explore the house too. Thanks for sharing.