As you proceed down the winding half-mile drive toward the mansion, you expect to be transported back through the pages of Virginia history. And indeed you are. You are traversing land that has known the footsteps of Native American tribes, Colonial planters, slaves and free people of color, Union and Confederate soldiers and some of the Commonwealth's most distinguished families.
The Berry Hill Estate originally was part of a 105,000-acre tract granted by the English Crown in 1728 to William Byrd II. It became a self-sufficient operation, producing vegetables, hay, oats, corn, livestock, tobacco and wheat. The property would change hands many times, showing ownership throughout the years by a number of notable Virginia families. Counted among them were Benjamin Harrison, fourth Governor of Virginia and a signer of the Declaration of Independence, as well as Edward Carrington. Carrington was the nephew of another Colonel Edward Carrington that, along with General Nathaniel Greene, frustrated Earl Cornwallis' British army by winning the Race to the Dan.
Carrington sold the plantation to his cousin, James Cole Bruce, who built the present Greek revival mansion in 1842. Today its stately eight-columned façade stands as one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in Virginia. After 100 years of Bruce family ownership, The Berry Hill Estate was sold. It lay vacant until 1997, when a global corporation joined forces with the Virginia Board of Historic Resources in an ambitious collaboration to restore the property to its original grandeur.
After its multimillion restoration and conversion in
July 1999, The Berry Hill Estate celebrated its grand re-opening as a
premier executive conference facility and leisure destination.