When you come to visit Warner Hall, there is plenty to do and see all across the property. But within driving distance of the Inn, you’ll find some incredibly interesting locations to see and experience. Here are some of our favorites.
Abingdon Episcopal Church
Just four miles from The Inn at Warner Hall is Abingdon Episcopal Church, a house of worship on the National Register of Historic Places with direct ties to our own Col. Augustine Warner. According to church history, Abingdon Parish was established around 1650 by colonists who emigrated from Abingdon, England. The first church was likely a wooden structure near the York or Severn rivers.
Warner donated land to the parish and in 1655 its first brick church was built, the foundations of which can still be found inside the south wall of the church grounds. The present church was completed in 1755 and counted as a member John Page, who became a member of the first General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Just off of Route 17, the 143 acres of church grounds includes two buildings and a walled cemetery that holds the final resting places of members of noted Gloucester families, including the Burwells and Pages (who built the massive colonial estate called Rosewell, another stop on the tour). For more information, go here: http://www.abingdonchurch.org
To reach the historic, peaceful church grounds from The Inn at Warner Hall, drive north on Warner Hall Road, then left on Featherbed Lane to Route 17. Head south on the highway for approximately 2/3 of a mile. Abingdon Episcopal Church is on the left.
Brent and Becky’s Bulbs
Just a 15-minute drive from Abingdon Episcopal Church is one of Gloucester’s signature businesses, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. Known internationally for its quality bulbs, Brent and Becky’s Bulbs is a 28-acre working farm offering bulbs, seeds, perennials, plants, books and gifts.
Owners Brent and Becky Heath trace the company’s lineage back to 1900 when Brent’s grandfather moved to the area after falling in love with the daffodil, according to the business website. Gloucester was nationally known for its daffodil fields at the time and was a supplier of the flowers and bulbs along the East Coast.
The gardens at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs are bursting with flowers and blood during the growing season and are considered friendly to Chesapeake Bay. The gardens are a living display of how flower bulbs along with annuals, perennials, trees and shrubs can be organically incorporated to nourish Chesapeake Bay. For more information, go here: https://brentandbeckysbulbs.com
To drive to Brent and Becky’s Bulbs from Abingdon Episcopal Church, head north on Route 17 and take the Business 17 turnoff 4.8 miles later. Take the Route 14/John Clayton Memorial Highway turnoff 1.3 miles later and continue for 2.2 miles to Ware Neck Road on the right. Just a quarter-mile later go straight onto Daffodil Lane to Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.
The last of Gloucester’s 12 combination post offices and country stores is still in operation just a short jaunt down Ware Neck Road from Brent & Becky’s Bulbs. Historic Nuttall Store dates to the 1870s, with a U.S. Post Office open from 10:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m. and it still sports the squeaky wood floors and antique country store memorabilia to give it an authentic air, albeit with modern accoutrements. Like a Keurig, cold drinks that range from soda pop to lemonade to beer and a selection of wines from wineries as distant as Europe, South Africa and the Pacific Northwest and as close as the Charlottesville area.
If you’re hungry, Nuttall Store offers daily specials such as 1/4-lb. all beef hotdogs, or chicken or tuna salad, as well as made-to-order deli sandwiches: Pick the meat, the bread, the spread, the cheese and the toppings. If you’re really hungry, you can call ahead to pick up a free range chicken for the oven, or ribeye steaks for the grill. The store also offers seasonal oysters, local crabmeat, organic eggs a selection of cheeses to go with the aforementioned wine and Edwards boneless hams sliced to order.
To get to Nuttall Store from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, take a left on Ware Neck road and proceed 2.4 miles. The store is on your left.
Gloucester Museum of History
The only thing ordinary about the Gloucester Museum of History is that it’s located in an ordinary. The Museum of History resides in the Botetourt Building on Main Street, a pre-revolutionary war brick structure that’s one of the few remaining taverns — known as an ordinary in colonial times — of its kind in the U.S.
The long, two-story building has previously been a hotel and served as the Gloucester County administration building when it was purchased by the county in 1965 and restored to its 18th century appearance, when it was known as “John New’s Ordinary.” Inside are historic artifacts and memorabilia from Gloucester that include items from the Revolutionary and Civil wars. A small gift shop in the store offers for sale items that include books on Gloucester history, ornaments commemorating the county’s historic buildings and garden flags. For more information, go here: http://www.gloucesterva.info/MuseumofHistory/tabid/1033/Default.aspx
To get to the Museum of History from Nuttall Store, head north on Ware Neck Road to Route 14 and turn left toward Gloucester Court House. At the traffic light on Main Street turn right and go 1/2-mile. The museum is on the right at the Courthouse Circle.
Just beyond the Botetourt Building is the Courthouse green, home to a collection of historic buildings that include the Colonial Courthouse, circa 1766, where troops were mustered in the Revolutionary War. It is one of the few remaining courthouses still in use in America. Although legal proceedings are not held in the building, it is home to county meetings.
Also on the courthouse green is the Gloucester County Visitor’s Center, which includes an exhibit on Werowocomoco, the village that was home to Powhatan and his daughter, Pocahontas, when settlers established the first permanent English settlement in the New World in 1607. The 50-acre site is located on a privately held farm on the York River at Purtan Bay. Federal and state officials have plans to include the property in the National Park System.
Other historic buildings on the Courthouse Circle include a debtor’s prison, circa 1810, the old jail, circa 1873, and the Clayton Building, built atop the foundation of a building dating to 1770 that was the former Clerk of the Courts office and burned in 1820. Inside, an interpretive exhibit depicts a Clerk of the Courts office from the early 1800s. For more information, go here: http://www.gloucesterva.info/Portals/0/tourism/documents/Courtcircle_self_guided_tour.pdf
The ruins of Rosewell
The last stop on the driving tour is Rosewell, the massive brick ruins of one of colonial America’s early magnificent estates. Home of the prominent Page family, Rosewell was built of bricks between 1725 and 1739 and rose three stories from a 4,320-square-foot English basement. Four massive chimneys marked the east and west walls of the home that was compared by contemporaries to the governor’s palace in Williamsburg. It burned in an early morning fire in 1916, leaving behind the scarred brick walls and chimneys that give just a haunting hint of its magnificence.
Rosewell was home to John Page, grandson of the original builder, who attended college with Thomas Jefferson at the College of William & Mary. The two early patriots formed a lasting friendship that included long discussions about the future of the colonies that would become the United States of America.
The grounds and a visitor’s center and gift shop are open from April 1 to Oct. 31, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. It is closed on Fridays. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children ages 6 to 12. Children under 6 are free. For more information on Rosewell, go here: www.rosewell.org.
To get to Rosewell from the Botetourt Building, head north on Main Street for 0.4 miles and take a left onto Belroi Road. Continue across Route 17 for 3.8 miles to Hickory Fork Road. On the right at the intersection is a tiny house that was home to Walter Reed, a noted 19th century physician who proved that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes. Taking a left onto Hickory Fork Road, proceed 2.5 miles to Aberdeen Creek Road and turn right, heading 2.3 miles before turning right onto Rosewell Plantation Road. Continue on Rosewell Plantation Road for about 4/10 of a mile. The visitor’s center is on the left.
To return to Warner Hall, retrace the route back to Hickory Fork Road. Go right on Hickory Fork Road to its intersection with Route 17. Turn right onto the highway and proceed 0.4 miles before going left onto Featherbed Lane. Head 2.4 miles to Warner Hall Road and go right. A mile later you will reach The Inn at Warner Hall.