Belle Grove Plantation Ghosts

One of the most common reports of paranormal activity include orbs and strange light anomalies appearing when guests take photographs and some have even been lucky enough to capture what looks very much like spirits in their pictures.

Apparitions are a seemingly common sight at the property, with a total of 23 full body apparitions reported since March 2013. The majority of these spirits are described as being Union Civil War Soldiers which would be very relevant to the area. These ghostly soldiers have been seen standing guard at the plantation’s entry posts, crossing the driveway, walking in the plantation fields and even walking in and out of the main house. Given the plantation’s former use as a Union Headquarters from 1861 until the end of the Civil War it is not a great surprise to see so many civil war soldiers still lingering here.

However, the spectral soldiers are certainly not the only ghostly figures to be seen at Belle Grove Plantation. Another common report comes in the form of ghost cats, 2 are reported to dwell here! Not only have visitors and staff actually heard meowing when there has been no cat present, but people have felt it walk across their bed during the night, or even curl up on the pillow beside them! At least one guest has also mentioned actually seeing a cat, but the owners were insistent that no cat was inside the building at the time!

Another of the entities who seem to reside in the mansion is Jacob, the ghost of a small boy who has been known to bounce a ball in the upstairs hallway. He is described as being mischievous in his nature and loves to move and even steal kitchen utensils from time to time. Paranormal teams have recorded EVP’s of Jacob in the Turner Suite which is one of the most active spots in the entire building.


Since moving into Belle Grove in March of 2013, I have seen a total of 23 full body apparitions. Of these, most have been of Union (Federal) Civil War Soldiers. There four that I saw late one evening as I was leaving the house to go to dinner. It was just twilight, but I could still see pretty well. As I turn the corner of the walkway, there standing between me and my car were these four soldiers. Dressed as you would expect Civil War period, you could even make out their height and difference in looks. At this point I had seen so many, it had become common place. So I jokingly said, “Well you could have at least turned the light on.” The light is a motion detected light we have on the garage. We have two of them, one on each side. At the point I said this, I wasn’t close enough for it to turn on. But not a second later, the lights came on. Now they think it’s their job to turn them on.

The last time was during a really bad storm that produced a tornado in the area. I was racing home to beat the storm. When I arrived at our white entry posts, the lights came on. I was over an acre away! I laughed and said, “Guys, I’m not there yet.” My husband said that he thought an animal could be triggering it. So on the way back to the house one night, just as we got halfway down the drive to the garage, the lights turned on. I looked at my husband and said, “See!”. There were no animals around.

The soldiers have also been seen by our overnight guests. One couple were leaving for dinner when they saw what looked like riding boots quickly crossing the driveway. They caught this when their headlights flashed around as they turned out of there parking space.

Other soldiers we have seen – One standing guard at the white entry posts. He had a gun resting beside his leg as if he were standing at attention. Another was seen as we came home from dinner. As we drove down the highway that runs beside our property, I saw a soldier cross the highway and walk into our plantation field. Our plantation was held as a Union (Federal) headquarters from 1861 to the end of the war. General Burnside, General Robert E. Lee and General Stonewall Jackson have all been here.

One last sighting of a soldier happened when I first arrived. The next morning, I was up sweeping the formal dining room. We didn’t have any furniture at the time and I was just doing something to keep busy. As I glanced out of the formal dining room window, I saw a Union (Federal) soldier walking from the side of our porch along the outside wall area going towards the south side of the house. He had a blue shirt, untucked, black belt on the outside of his shirt, blue pants, a Union (Federal) cap with a symbol on top, no pack or gun and had brown hair that was shoulder length. He didn’t have glasses and he was walking with his head down so I couldn’t see his face!

Brief History

Belle Grove Plantation is a plantation mansion and estate that dates back to the 17th century. Established in 1670 as a tobacco plantation with 1,000 acres, this estate is a Virginia Landmark and is the birthplace of President James Madison. The mansion was built over the original plantation settlement in 1791 for the Hipkins-Bernard Family, it was expanded in 1839 for the Turner Family.

The plantation and the livestock was forcibly taken from the Turner Family in 1861 by the Union Army and held until the end of the Civil War. General Robert E. Lee, General Stonewall Jackson and General Ambrose Burnside are known to have been at this plantation during this time.

After the war, Belle Grove played part in the pursue of John Wilkes Booth as a stop over for the Union Soldiers pursuing him. Garrett’s Farm, the location where Booth died is just four miles away from Belle Grove.

The plantation was completely restored between 1997 to 2003 and boast all original architecture with updated modern conveniences.

Opened to the public August 2013, this bed and breakfast is rank #1 of 707 bed and breakfasts in the Commonwealth of Virginia by Tripadvisor since March 2016.


  • Historic Tours
  • Wedding and Special Event Venue
  • Public Events offered year round
  • Private and Public Paranormal Investigations
  • Museum
  • Riverview
  • Souvenirs
  • Located along the Chesapeake Bay Wine Trail
  • 694 acres of Farm Fields, Wooded Acres
  • Birdwatching and Wildlife

Room Rates

Spring and Summer Special

  • Hipkins-Bernard Suite – Was $199 for Monday – Thursday and $245 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays, Now $150 for Monday – Thursday and $175 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays
  • Conway Suite – Was $230 for Monday – Thursday and $255 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays, Now $175 for Monday – Thursday and $199 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays
  • Turner Suite – Was $265 for Monday – Thursday and $295 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays, Now $215 for Monday – Thursday and $245 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays
  • Madison Suite – Was $265 for Monday – Thursday and $295 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays, Now $215 for Monday – Thursday and $245 for Friday – Sunday and Holidays

Overnight Stay includes a full gourmet breakfast. Rates are based on Double Occupancy. Additional fee of $25 per person over Double Occupancy. We are sorry, but we have an age limit of ten and over for children. Tax and gratuity not included.

Things to Do

There are plenty of things to see and do in this part of Virginia, especially for those who have an interest in the history. This plantation can be considered a “hub” for all the local attractions. Centrally located, you can stay and play in Washington DC, Baltimore or Richmond. Lots of historic sites to see, award-winning vineyards, food to temp the biggest Foodie and shopping for some of the best antiques in the area. If you are an outdoor type, there are hiking trails, kayaking and cycling down some of the most beautiful country roads you can see in Virginia.

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