Category » Holidays At Chester
Looking for a place to get away from it all with your special someone? Look no further. Chester is an intimate and private getaway where you can focus on each other. Our warm and welcoming rooms have beautiful four-poster beds, cozy chairs, luxurious linens, oriental rugs, and private baths. Gourmet breakfasts are served at your own fireside table each morning, and our arboretum grounds are the perfect place for a morning walk with a hot cup of coffee.
Venture just down the road to explore our local brewery, have a casual Italian bite, or walk the levy by the great horseshoe bend of the James River. Plan a visit to the many local vineyards that surround the inn, or head into Charlottesville for five-star dining and wonderful shopping. Zip up to Wintergreen for some seasonal skiing or snowboarding. Whether you stay in bed all weekend or explore all the things that our area has to offer, you’ll definitely feel like you’ve gotten away from it all!
There’s something about coming “home” for the holidays. It starts with the journey…whether it takes an hour or ten is irrelevant. There is preparation and planning and packing, and the hurried finishing of tasks that must be completed before you can leave. Then, of course, there’s the traffic and the weather that, while annoying, seem to matter less because you are looking forward to the destination.
Never mind where you’re headed–the home you grew up in, a place where good friends and family come together, or a new place that you’ve picked out just for yourself for a few short days–you finally arrive.
With all of the preparation behind you, you can finally find the space to take in and appreciate all things–the small and the large. A favorite tree. A warm fireplace. A special view. A glass of wine with your partner. A visit with an old friend. A walk in the woods with your mother. Reminiscing about holidays past with your siblings. Or maybe it’s simply the blissful sound of silence as you turn to the first page of a good book and enjoy a cup of hot tea.
Here at Chester, we’ve welcomed hundreds of guests into our home each year, with the goal of making you feel like it’s yours as well. Wherever you find your home this Thanksgiving, we here at Chester send our very best wishes for a peaceful journey, a grateful heart, and the knowledge that “home” is just as much a state of mind as a place to visit.
If you’re looking for a true small-town celebration that makes a big bang this 4th of July, you’ll find it in Scottsville. Each year, the town kicks off the day with one of the oldest and largest parades in the state of Virginia. From members of the armed forces (from the Revolutionary War forward!), a bagpipe clan, and fire trucks from many counties to pageant winners in convertibles, Shriners in small cars, and floats galore, there’s something to entertain everyone. (You’ll even get to meet many local politicians along the parade route!) For our granddaughter, nothing beats the candy that is tossed to the spectators along the way.
Following the parade, it’s time for lunch at one of the local restaurants, and a chance to try out the delicious brews at the James River Brewing Company. Or maybe you’d like to hop onto the river for a canoe or tubing adventure with James River Reeling and Rafting. Regardless, you’ll want to make your way down to the riverfront pavilion as the afternoon gets later to make sure you get a good spot on the lawn for the live music that starts at 5 pm, featuring Redlight Rodeo, a popular bluegrass band.
As the sun sets, you’ll want to turn those blankets around or climb up and sit on the levee to enjoy one of the most spectacular fireworks displays we’ve ever seen in a town of our size. The fireworks start at 9 pm, and are usually a good 30 minutes long!
Come and spend the 4th of July with us, get a true taste of Americana and celebrate the liberty and freedom of our country and a nice weekend away from it all! Rooms are available at the inn, and we can’t wait to see you.
Welcoming wreathes at the main entrance
A festive welcome to the house
For the past twenty years, we’ve been entrusted with preserving the body and spirit of this wonderful home, built in 1847 in classic Greek Revival style. And there’s no better time to honor the beauty and history of this house than the holidays. We’ve done many different things over the years, from following the historic Williamsburg style of fresh fruit towers over the doors to decking the bannisters with wreathes, but when it comes right down to it, what makes this house so beautiful around the holidays is a nature-inspired approach that brings the outside in, and sends a warm and inviting glow back into the world during the darkest time of year.
English boxwood is a prized possession among the world’s best florists, and we’re lucky enough to have stands of it right outside the front door. Growing at only an inch a year, we actually have wholesaler florists who come and maintain them for us each year in exchange for what they trim! Luckily, there’s plenty to go around! Simple wreathes adorn the driveway pillars and front doors, and candlelit windows provide a beautiful winter evening scene.
200 bird ornaments and nests adorn the tree.
Our Fraser Fir
Those of you who have seen our Christmas tree know that, each year, we select the most beautiful Fraser Fir we can find and fill it with nearly 200 bird ornaments, the majority of which are authentic reproductions of what we see in nature, as well as a collection of nests from around the world. Complemented by classic ornaments that go back several generations, our share of children’s and grandchildren’s creations from years past, and the china doll angel that presides over the season, we think our tree is a sight to behold.
We also have a host of other interesting collections, from our Hummel crèche to our carolers and nutcrackers. All of them come with family history or stories. Along with our own traditions, many friends and neighbors bring their own touches to share with us, from a Kentucky iron horse on the front porch to handcrafted wreathes from the local commune. It is truly our privilege to add to the history and story that is this glorious and historic home, Chester. We wish you all a happy, peaceful, and joyous holiday season and look forward to seeing you soon!
Byer carolers on the piano
Nutcrackers on the mantel
Hummel figurines in the dining room
Hand-crafted bay leaf wreath
Poinsettias from Kingsland Greenhouse
Those of you who have visited Chester during the holiday season know that our Christmas tree is decorated mainly with birds. At our “taking-down-Christmas-census” today, we counted over 200 birds–from doves and wrens to the more flamboyant flamingos and peacocks! We’ve been collecting for some 45 years now, so as you can imagine, there’s quite a variety.
And what would a tree be without a few nests? As we head into the deep of winter, we thought we’d remind you that spring is just around the corner. Here at Chester, an arboretum and certified National Wildlife Federation habitat), we provide a home to many birds as they bring little ones into the world. We often have the privilege of finding their nests, which we gently place onto our Christmas tree each year. We do our best to identify them (some of our feathered friends are better builders than others) and thought you’d enjoy seeing some of them here.Below, you’ll find the nests of an African weaver bird, wren, cardinal, Carolina wren, chimney swift, mockingbird, and the red-eyed vireo.
Happy New Year from Chester!
It’s hard to believe another year has flown by, but here we are. With turkey leftovers in the fridge, it’s time to turn our attention to decorating Chester inside and out in a holiday style that befits this grand old house. Each year, the act of hanging wreaths and roping and adorning the entrances has such a feeling of tradition … and makes us think about past generations who were preparing Chester for the holidays in the mid-1800s.
We don’t normally adorn our gardening tools with wreaths, but they make a wonderful staging place for our preparations! As an arboretum property, we have lots of natural materials at our fingertips to create some beautiful things.
We just picked our bay laurel and wove gorgeous and fragrant wreaths that will last all winter long (and provide some wonderful seasoning for stews in this cold weather!). Chester is home to a majestic stand of English boxwood, which is sought after by the florist industry this time of year. You might not know that this greenery is rather rare; it only grows an inch or two a hear. A floral wholesaler comes each year and prunes the stands for us in exchange for the trimmings.
The nine-foot Frasier Fir is also staged in the garage, and will soon grace the living room. As a newly certified member of the National Wildlife Federation, we’re excited to send in a photo once our tree is decorated! With over 35 natural nests collected from as close as our backyard and as far as Africa, and 150 bird ornaments, we’re willing to bet you’ve never seen a Christmas tree like this one.
Chester is open, the fires are roaring, and we’re in the holiday spirit. Come and enjoy a toasty and warm stay with us!