Mulberry Hill is the ancestral home of the Virginia Carrington family, which was instrumental in many aspects of our country’s history from its infancy following the Revolutionary War leading up to the strategic Battle of Staunton River Bridge during the War Between the States. The estate earned the name “Mulberry Hill” from the endeavor to raise silk worms, which fed on the overabundant mulberry trees located throughout the acres. However, a local silk industry never reached fruition.
The manor house dates back to the mid 1700s: its outbuildings, law office, and grounds provide a perfect timeline of history for interpreting the life of a successful colonial family that encompasses more than two hundred years of history. The descendants of the Carrington family donated the house with all of its period antique furnishings as well as forty acres of land to the Staunton River Battlefield State Park in 2003.
This year, the Historic Staunton River Foundation, a private organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and development of the Staunton River Battlefield State Park is hosting an Open House at Mulberry Hill with an Antebellum-themed Christmas.
There will be a guided tour of the mansion, grounds and Judge Paul Carrington’s law office. Docents in period dress will be present in each room of the house and in the law office to inform visitors about the uniqueness and history of the treasured heirlooms and period antiques. Please share in the joy of visiting with a jolly ol’ Antebellum Santa Claus!
Also, there will be refreshments available to emulate what would have been available to families during Christmas for the duration of the hardships of the War Between the States. Confederate re-enactors of the 14th VA. Inf. Co. K and 23rd VA Inf. Co.willbe on hand along with volunteer interpreters to provide visitors with a glimpse into the past. See howsoldiers survived the harsh winters and what rustic and simple methods they used to celebrate the Christmas season. The re-enactors will bivouac in the boxwood gardens. Their encampment will be complete with tents, flags, campfires, and other accoutrements that will highlight an almost “realistic-feeling” of living history. In addition, an open campfire will feature period cooking techniques and foods.
During this time of year, when we often become wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, we should remember to take time out of our busy schedules to share in the joys of the season and to give thanks.
Come out and share in the yuletide and cheer of the holiday season by making plans to attend the Antebellum Christmas Open House at Mulberry Hill on either Saturday or Sunday, December 5 & 6 from 1-5PM. Don’t forget your cameras! The event is open to the public. Admission is $5/person and children under 6 are admitted free. Tickets are only valid for the one-day pass and can be purchased at the Roanoke Station Depot in Randolph. Parking is available at the Depot, and a free shuttle service will usher visitors to and from the Plantation.
The money raised from this event will go towards fulfilling the Foundation’s mission of supporting the Battlefield State Park and its continued restoration efforts at Mulberry Hill. The Foundation is exclusively operated by a dedicated group of volunteers and its yearly dues-paying members; if you are interested in joining the Foundation or would like volunteer with this event or future events, please call 434.454.6219. Also, please visit the Foundation’s website at www.stauntonriverbattlefield.org.
Although Staunton River Battlefield State Park does not offer lodging, www.virginiastateparks.gov.