Retaining Wall (Increase B&B Parking)
To increase B&B parking, we decided to clear the bank to the east of the 2nd floor deck. The left image is a "Before" shot. The right image is after clearing the sassafras under-brush. The bank will need to be cut back a few feet to the right of the deck post and a retaining wall built.
South Lawn Venue (Complete)
The grass is grown, the trees in full color. With the lawn cleared, one can now see the west-entrance arbor and cannon "blockade". We've added "rubber mulch" to the pergola walk and the grape arbor, and a timbered boarder to the near edge of the yard, helping to deflect parking and providing a clear edge to the venue.
South Lawn Venue (Ground Sculpted)
Finally, the old sod could be removed and the ground leveled to accomodate up to a 60' x 80' tent! Next step is to re-grow the lawn and install sufficient lighting for night-time events.
South Lawn Venue (nearly 200cuft of concrete unearthed)
The three unassuming flower beds were each actually disguises for 64cuft of concrete platforms -- originally intended for wind mills many years ago. After their removal and that of the two fruit trees, the ground was ready.
South Lawn Venue (Carport Removed)
Now to prepare the yard itself. At this point, we have removed the car port.
South Lawn Venue (Pergola Complete!)
The pergola is complete -- next: removing the planters, carport and trees.
South Lawn Venue (Pergola Under Construction)
The pergola and main bell-tower is well underway -- this image provides a great view of the overall yard area.
South Lawn Venue (Pergola Yard)
Late Spring 2015
The spring saw construction of the kiwi trellis and planting of more than a dozen hardy kiwis. The upper left image shows the new western entrance, with the base frame of its arbor -- eventually providing a much needed a "hole in the kiwi hedge". The right image is of the "bent" eastern entrance, between the new 100' trellis and the new blue berry patch frame -- the bend is to provide an un-broken hedge view from within.
Two views of the 90' blue berry frame, with its 21 3yr old plants -- awaiting next year's pergola.
South Lawn Venue (Pergola Yard)
In the spring of 2014, we built the planter boxes for the new kiwi trellis. The gap between the cannon will eventually become an arbor/bell tower.
South Lawn Venue Project (Pergola Yard)
BEFORE IMAGE (early spring 2014)
We have launched a multi-year project to add an enclosed yard venue area. The design will provide a "privacy hedge" and finished landscaping south of the manor house and sport a kiwi trellised hedge to the south and west, and a 90' pergola/blue berry hedge to the east. Since it will take several years for the plants to become fully established, they will be planted early in the project. This image of the area is at project start. (When completed, the three "flower boxes" on the left, car port (center) and two trees will be removed.)
Antique Statue & Dinner Gong
Fall is upon us, but we are ever adding to the ambiance (and Victorian functionality) of the estate. For the grounds, we have obtained an early 20th century, concrete yard statue, which will provide a "long-forgotten" sentinel overlooking the natural entrance to the glade.
For the manor house, we have added a 19th century "dinner gong" -- perfect for calling guests to the breakfast table.
Empire Melodeon, Drinking Horns, and Figural Lamp
What a rare find, and perfect for our transitioning project for the parlor. (Originally, we intended the parlor to be our "Bride Preparation" room -- so we need lots of mirrors.) But with the addition of our honeymoon suite, the parlor is being re-furnished as a ... parlor. We have been watching for just the right pieces, and just acquired an empire-style organ stool (c.1850) and rosewood melodeon made by Treat & Davis (since they were only in operation under that name for one year (before Davis was fired), we know it to be c.1864. It plays well, but needs new bellows fabric.
In addition to the melodeon, we were able to find a perfect pair of matching "white" ceremonial drinking horns (c.1880) and a very early 20th century paladin statuary electric lamp to complete the ensemble.
One of our neighboring is moving to Arizona and shutting down their Bed & Breakfast. As they were former antique dealers, we were fortunate indeed to acquire a few pieces of very unusual Victorian serving pieces, including:
- Cheese Server - slanted topped covered dish, to match cheese cut from an old cheese "wheel".
- Pickle Server - silver and blue crystal, with three owls watching over the treasure - truly exquisite.
- Pancake Server - hand painted covered dish with moisture vents in the lid - extremely quant & unusual.
We wish our friends only the best, but are pleased that these 3 lovely antiques will remain with us -- forever a reminder of the past.
We found a lovely pair of antique alabaster pillars which we will use in one of the bed chambers as bedside tables. They were carved in the late 19th century and originally used as plant stands.
"Online Availability & Reservations capability" on MillsapBaker.com
We have now added a "check availability" feature to our web-site so that customers can easily check which rooms are available on any day. The feature also allows customers to make reservations/bookings online, without needing to reach us first to confirm availability.
Just one more customer convenience.
"Victorian Hanging Lamp in Tower Room" at the Millsap-Baker Estate
We recently purchased and installed a hand-painted oil lamp in the bay of the Tower room. The lamp has over 50 prisms and has been electrified -- so that it can be fully used to provide a warm, evening light to the entire room.
"One Horse Open Sleigh" at the Millsap-Baker Estate
We have recently been able to obtain a genuine 19th century one horse open sleigh -- perfect for bridal pictures and nostalgic ambiance! The sleigh has been painted and ready for "use". We will be reupholstering the cushions soon.
New Arbor Entrance for the Glade at the Millsap-Baker Estate
The Glade wedding venue is a natural amphitheater nestled in the edge of a nearby woods. While it is surrounded on several sides by stately hardwoods, it is open on one side to an adjacent field – perfect for receptions, parking, etc. To enhance the Glade's privacy and back-to-nature atmosphere, we have just planted 160 willow trees and laurel bushes around the area which will visually close the Glade from the adjacent South Lawn reception area. To allow guests to pass through this wall of trees, we have built a wide entrance arbor -- not a spindly, white rental "arbor look-alike", but a real, 800 pound, 10 foot wide, 6 foot deep, permanent shelter around which we have planted climbing Blue Moon Wisteria. While it may be a while before the trees form the wall and the Wisteria creates a canopy, the arbor is currently available for strolls, ceremonies, and photographs.
Millsap-Baker Estate has added an Organic Berry Patch
We have just finished adding an all-organic berry patch, complete with 24 feet of "Fall Gold" yellow raspberries, 24 feet of "Heritage" red raspberries, and 48 feet of assorted thornless blackberries, including Apache and Arapaho. To be sure to get a bumper crop for our breakfast table, we first dug two 48 foot long trenches, 2 feet wide and 1 1/2 feet deep. We then obtained some compost from a near-by lumber mill and filled the trenches 80% compost and 20% top soil. While the black berry plants only bear on second year canes, we were able to transplant some of our older stock from another location on the estate. The raspberry varieties were chosen because they will bear on first year canes. So we will have both raspberries and blackberries this year! Fresh blackberries should be available in July/August, about the same time our mulberry trees are bearing; raspberries should ripen in August through late October. (During May and June, local strawberries will be on our table!) Come / Enjoy!
Millsap-Baker Estate has just upgraded the bedstead in the Tower Bedchamber
On March 1, 2014, the Millsap-Baker Estate obtained an incredible Empire style bedstead at local auction. One regional antique dealer estimated c.1810 -- the hardware confirms that estimate. The headboard is a 4-poster style of the period, with an ornate "hanging headboard". This is a choice addition to our Empire furnished Tower bedroom and significantly enhances its overall appeal. And yes, we will still be able to offer a full Queen sized bed in our Tower bedchamber. Enjoy!
Millsap-Baker Estate added a Quervelle secretary to Honeymoon Suite
The Millsap-Baker Estate just added a beautiful secretary made c.1820 by the reknowed Philadelphia furniture maker "Antoine Gabriel Quervelle" -- a maker of fine furniture for President Jackson's White House and some believe President Jefferson's personal collection. This stunning piece is now located in the lounge area of the Honeymoon Suite.
Millsap-Baker Estate has opened an enormous Honeymoon Suite
On August 23, 2013, the Millsap-Baker Estate opened the last of the manor house's bedchambers -- and this time a 700 sq ft Honeymoon Suite which includes a private lounge
and full bath.
Millsap-Baker Estate has opened the Tower Bedchamber
- Bedchamber -- a stunning open cathedral of over 400 square feet; 12 foot high, solid wood vaulted ceiling; and a full canopied, King-size bed.
- Lounge -- a spacious area of nearly 200 sq ft, complete with day bed, trundle, and thin-panel TV w/DVD.
- Private bath -- completely refinished in natural marble, white porcelain, oil-rubbed bronze, natural wood and mirrors -- an art deco showpiece.
On July 18, 2013, we finished restoration of our Tower bedchamber! This room gets its name from its distinctively Victorian archtictural design,
having originally been a corner, two story, octogonal shaped tower (the first floor of which is the bay-windowed Parlor), capped with an octogonal
spire and weather vane. This original tower feature, easily visible from the outside, has been obscured over the years by various additions to the
original house -- first the addition of an "indoor" bathroom in the mid-1950s, then by the addition of a modern kitchen and master bedroom in
the mid-1970s, and most recently by the addition of the 3000 sqft overlook deck.
With its second-floor, bay window view of the morning sunrise & cliff-overlook deck ï¿½ this bedchamber easily has
the most splendid view, if youï¿½re a morning person! The room has just been fully redecorated, though not in the grand Victorian style, rather
in a style more consistent with its early 1800s American Empire furniture. This includes a magnificent 1830s Butlerï¿½s desk and 1820s upholstered
bench and chair. But the most beloved piece is an original family heirloom, an 1840s ï¿½tiger mapleï¿½ queen-sized spindle bed, handed down in our
family since it was made by our forefathers ï¿½ and our personal bridal bedstead!
Millsap-Baker Estate has hosted its first wedding
On March 30, 2013, Vashti Alford and Trent Abshire became our very first couple married at the Millsap-Baker Estate.
By amazing coincidence, this was also the 33rd wedding anniversary of James & Connie Baker, current owners/caretakers of the Millsap-Baker Estate.
May their future be as joyful and blessed as our has been. Truly you have our deepest congratulations!
Millsap-Baker Estate has gone social
We are now on
Facebook -- check us out, and follow us for the latest news and happenings!
Major Bridal Publication Selects Millsap-Baker Estate
The historic Millsap-Baker Estate of scenic Damascus Virginia has been selected for a feature article in the winter/spring 2013 issue of Virginia Bride! In addition to sending their photographers to the estate, the publisher has requested actual photos from this spring and summer's weddings for possible inclusion in the article.
If interested, call for details, 276-492-4944.