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Eighteenth-Century Plantation House In Private 100-Acre Woodland

Bedrooms 5
Space 2,400 sq. ft.
Property type house
Minimum Stay 3 nights


About the property

Estate, 5 Bedrooms, 2 Baths, (Sleeps 1-10) 100 Private Acres

Williamsburg area; Surry, Virginia. Williamsburg area's top guest-rated vacation rental; second highest guest-rated vacation rental in Virginia on VRBO/HomeAway!

Lightwood is an elegant eighteenth-century plantation house nestled in an old-growth beech forest in rural Surry County, Virginia, and is one of America's most beautiful and unique historic vacation rentals. The estate comprises over 100 acres of woods, meadows, and streams, and is part of the land given by Chief Powhatan to Pocahontas and John Rolfe as a wedding gift. Lightwood House was the center of a prosperous tobacco plantation and the home of a Revolutionary War soldier and his family. Built in four different periods circa 1760 to 1795, Lightwood House is completely restored and features exceptional detailed woodwork and authentic furnishings, yet also offers all modern conveniences including a jetted tub, satellite TV, and WIFI.

Children love Lightwood House with its many nooks and crannies to explore. While the house has many fine antiques, the furniture is sturdy and we have never had a problem with damage by enthusiastic little ones. So please don't worry about turning kids loose in the house, as long as obvious and normal precautions are taken.

Recent additions to Lightwood include four long case "Grandfather" clocks, two of which are over 300 years old. The bells are silenced when guests are there, and they can easily be stopped if the ticking bothers anyone.

While the surroundings are completely rural and secluded, the house is only one-and-a-half miles from the town of Surry, where basic essentials are available, and three-and-a-half miles to the 24-hour, 18-minute, free car ferry ride to Jamestown and Williamsburg. From the ferry dock on the other side of the James River, Jamestown is one-half mile, and Colonial Williamsburg six miles away.

The house has five bedrooms and two large bathrooms (the downstairs bathroom features a marble walk-in shower and six-foot whirlpool bathtub), a living room, dining room that seats up to ten comfortably, large classical entrance hall, fully equipped kitchen, laundry room, four fireplaces (three with gas logs or stoves), and back porch, for a total of 2400 square feet. Upstairs are two large bedrooms, each with a queen-sized canopy bed; one double bed in a smaller room; and two single beds in an attic room adjoining one of the queen bedrooms. Downstairs there is a small bedroom with a double bed.

The house is furnished with antiques from the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early-nineteenth centuries. A picket-fenced back yard with period outbuildings including a smokehouse used to smoke the hams for the coronation feast of King Edward VII, completes the scene. Two miles of nature trails meander through the woods and meadows of Lightwood Forest and offer a close look at local wildlife, which includes deer, turkeys, foxes, turtles, hawks, owls, woodpeckers, and bald eagles. Lightwood offers a private setting and a truly unique and exciting opportunity to step back into another time, all the while enjoying the comforts of the twenty-first century. It is truly a place of beauty, peace, and tranquility.


Friday noon to Sunday noon, 150-guest maximum, with overnight stays for up to ten; packages start at $2,450.00 (off-peak season) to $2,950.00 (peak season.) Includes wedding ceremony area and space for up to a 40 x 80 tent.


The historic museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown Settlement, Historic Jamestowne, and the American Revolutionary Museum at Yorktown are only a short drive and free 24-hour, 20-minute car ferry ride away. All four of these national and international attractions are connected by the beautiful Colonial Parkway, which begins at Jamestown where the ferry docks, follows the banks of the James and York Rivers, passes through Williamsburg and ends at Yorktown and the Chesapeake Bay. Additionally, many important historic Civil War sites are within an hour's drive of Lightwood in the Richmond/Petersburg area.

Pristine riverfront beaches can be found in Surry at Chippokes Plantation State Park, at Jamestown on the James River, and at Yorktown on the York River. Virginia Beach is only a little over an hour's drive away. Williamsburg is also the home of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA theme parks. Surry County attractions include Bacon's Castle--America's finest seventeenth-century manor house; Smith's Fort Plantation, the site of Captain John Smith's fort of 1609 as well as a lovely 1760s brick house; and Chippokes Plantation State Park, with historic buildings, Olympic-sized pool, and riverfront beach. Boat rentals are available at the beautiful and unspoiled Chickahominy River State Park in Williamsburg/James City County.

The historic waterfront town of Smithfield, and seventeenth-century Saint Luke's Church, is a 20-minute drive away. Well-known James River plantations, open to the public, are an easy 45-minute drive and can be found along Historic Route 5, which meanders through Charles City County. Richmond is over an hour's drive, and Washington D.C., can be reached in around three hours (depending on NOVA/I-95 traffic conditions

Keywords: House/Estate, child friendly, pet friendly, historic, elegant, unique, woodland.

More Details

Cliff and Joy Williams
Member since: 2004
Speaks: english
Response time:
Within 12 hours
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
November 20, 2017

About Cliff and Joy Williams

Lightwood is owned by Joy and Cliff Williams. Joy is from County Durham in north-east England, spent part of her childhood in Zambia, and came to Virginia to attend Saint Margaret's School in Tappahannock. She graduated from the University of Richmond and later received her Master's degree in Early American history from the College of William and Mary. Cliff, with old Virginia family roots, spent part of his childhood in Hawaii, attended Indiana University School of Music, and came to work for Colonial Williamsburg as a musician in 1974. He bought Lightwood in 1978 and during the time spent restoring it also worked as an operatic baritone, singing principal roles at such places as the Santa Fe Opera, Barcelona's Teatro Gran Liceo, and the Vienna Staatsoper. He and Joy married in 1989 and lived at Lightwood with their sons until 2003. After moving to Williamsburg, they opened Lightwood House in 2004 as a vacation rental and have enjoyed sharing it with guests from around the world ever since.

Cliff and Joy Williams purchased this house in 1978

Why Cliff and Joy Williams chose Spring Grove

Since the age of ten, I had always wanted to restore an historic house. Several years after moving to Williamsburg to work for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, I discovered Lightwood House abandoned and forlorn in rural, unspoiled Surry County, on the south side of the James River. The house was in an advanced state of deterioration, but still had great possibilities. I began the work in 1978 and after ten years had made considerable progress. However, it has been Joy's influence that has truly civilized the old place and turned it into the gem it is today. Having worked for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for many years, I was familiar with the love that visitors to the area have for Colonial American history. With Williamsburg nearby, it seemed likely that an eighteenth-century plantation house could be enjoyed by guests as a home base from which to discover Virginia's historic sites.

What makes this house unique

Staying at Lightwood is truly a unique and extraordinary experience and visiting the property can be a vacation in itself. Only a few places exist where it is possible to be so immersed at once in both colonial history and nature. Guests enter a different world after passing through the gates leading to Lightwood, and stepping into the entrance hall is like traveling back in time to the early days of our nation. And although the feel of history is everywhere at Lightwood, all modern conveniences expected in the twenty-first century are provided. The extensive grounds and walking trails at Lightwood are a nature lover's (and a dog's) paradise, and many other historic and scenic sites and attractions are close by. Guests can visit Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown from the comfort and luxury of their own eighteenth-century plantation.

Guestbook comments from the owner

Tomorrow we depart for home--a little sad to leave--but ready to return to Western NC and our homes. Your beautiful Lightwood home has enlivened our imaginations and our conversations about those who have crossed its threshold for over 200 years. The beauty of the architecture, the nostalgic touches in each room, the loveliness of the grounds, all combined to capture a place in our memories that will live on in our family when we gather and reminisce about our season here.

Our spirits have been renewed as we are reminded what befell those first valiant souls who came across the waters to establish their lives on American soil. And what a depth of gratitude we owe the American Native Indians. The land we possess and our liberty is nothing short of magnificent. To those Forefathers we say thank you.
Oct 2017
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Car: necessary


Spring Grove House Accommodation and Amenities

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 2400 sq. ft.
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM / Check-out: 10:30 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Minimum Age Limit for Renters ...
  • pets considered ...
  • Events Allowed
  • children welcome ...
  • non smoking only ...
Location Type:
  • Rural ...
  • Adventure
  • Away From It All
  • Family
  • Historic
  • Romantic
  • Tourist Attractions
  • Air Conditioning ...
  • Clothes Dryer ...
  • Fireplace ...
  • Free Long Distance ...
  • Gas Fireplace ...
  • Hair Dryer
  • Heating ...
  • Internet ...
  • Iron & Board
  • Linens Provided ...
  • Living Room ...
  • Parking ...
  • Telephone ...
  • Towels Provided ...
  • Washing Machine ...
  • Wireless Internet ...
  • Coffee Maker ...
  • Cooking Utensils ...
  • Dishes & Utensils ...
  • Dishwasher
  • Kitchen ...
  • Microwave ...
  • Oven ...
  • Pantry Items ...
  • Refrigerator
  • Stove ...
  • Toaster ...
  • Dining ...
  • Dining Room
  • seating for 10 people
  • 2 Bathrooms
  • Bathroom 1 -
    Bathroom 2 -
  • Both bathrooms are spacious. The upstairs bath has a tub/shower arrangement. The downstairs bath has a six-foot jetted tub, as well as a separate walk-in marble-tiled shower, with a built-in marble bench. Towels and wash cloths are provided.
  • 5 Bedrooms, Sleeps 10
  • Bedroom 1 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 2 - 1 queen
    Bedroom 3 - 1 double
    Bedroom 4 - 1 double
    Bedroom 5 - 2 twin/ single
  • Queen-size beds (2): Two larger bedrooms upstairs with a Queen-size bed in each room. Double beds (2): One small bedroom upstairs with a Double bed, and one small bedroom downstairs with a Double bed. Twin or Single beds (2): One Attic room with two Twin beds. The Attic room adjoins one of the Queen bedrooms. In order to get to the upstairs bathroom from the Attic room, one needs to go through the Queen bedroom. The rooms act as a kind of family suite.
  • Books ...
  • DVD Player ...
  • Games ...
  • Music Library ...
  • Satellite / Cable ...
  • Stereo ...
  • Television ...
  • Toys ...
  • Video Library ...
  • Deck / Patio ...
  • Golf ...
  • Kayak / Canoe ...
  • Lawn / Garden ...
  • Outdoor Grill ...
  • wheelchair inaccessible ...
Pool / Spa:
  • jetted tub ...
  • churches
  • cinemas
  • festivals
  • library
  • live theater
  • marina
  • museums
  • playground
  • restaurants
  • ruins
  • theme parks
  • water parks
  • winery tours
Leisure Activities:
  • antiquing
  • bird watching
  • boating
  • miniature golf
  • outlet shopping
  • photography
  • scenic drives
  • shopping
  • sight seeing
  • walking
  • wildlife viewing
Local Services & Businesses:
  • ATM/bank
Sports & Adventure Activities:
  • cycling
  • fishing
  • hiking
  • hunting
  • swimming
Fireplaces, Free U.S. Long Distance Phone Calls, WIFI, satellite TV, Central Air and Heat, DVD player and DVDs, CD player and CDs, Coffee Maker, Coffee Grinder, Electric Water Kettle, Large Crockpot, Blender, Mixer/Beater, Comforters, two Canopy Beds (Queen Sized), Two Double Beds, Two Twin Beds, Booster Seat, Children's Playground (Outside Toys, Swings, Slide, and Play Tower,) Children's Indoor Toy Closet, Children's Books.


Exceptional! 5/5 -
(83 traveler reviews)

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Eighteenth-Century Plantation House In Private 100-Acre Woodland
average rating of 5.0 based on 342 reviews

An amazing historical wonderland!

  • 5 of 5

My parents, my brother and his family, and my family - 10 in all- stepped back in time to stay at this lovely home. It was like living in a museum! The grounds are breath taking! It was too hot to do much exploring but would love to return in cooler weather. The house has everything you could possibly need to feel at home- with fresh wildflowers scattered in different rooms and a fully stocked kitchen. Cliff came by to give us a tour of the house from an architectural view as well as the antiques in the house- Cliff was always available when needed but we enjoyed the solitude and just being together as a family. It is not far from the free ferry over to Jamestown which we used most days and enjoyed the ride as it took us from civilization back to our private woods and house! We were celebrating my parents 50th anniversary - looking for a trip with a wow factor- done cruises, town houses and hotels- but this surpassed them all - the ability to be alone together in a serene historic home- couldn't ask for anything more!

  • Submitted: Jul 26, 2017
  • Stayed: July 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a pleasure for me as well to meet you. Joy and I are always gratified when guests have an appreciation of history and nature, and enjoy both while staying at Lightwood.
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Absolutely wonderful!

  • 5 of 5

Beautiful grounds, house and loved the ferry over to Williamsburg

  • Submitted: Oct 28, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Stepping back in time...

  • 5 of 5

What a delightful week at Lightwood House. The home has all the modern day amenities with incredible character and charm of an eighteenth century plantation home. Our dogs enjoyed their vacation as well! The ability to navigate easily on the walking trails was an added plus. The close proximity to Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown was nice. A timely ferry ride up the river will get you to everything within 30-45 min.

  • Submitted: Oct 27, 2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Highly Recommended !!!!

  • 5 of 5

This was our second stay at the Lightwood House and we cannot wait to stay and visit again.

What an absolute pleasure it was. We enjoyed everything about our stay !!

Thank you again Cliff and Joy for letting us stay in your home and enjoy the feeling of being transported back to the 1700's with modern day conveniences :)

  • Submitted: Sep 11, 2017
  • Stayed: September 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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  • 5 of 5

Our family thoroughly enjoyed the stay. It was magical and we would like to stay at Lightwood again.

  • Submitted: Sep 2, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Lemont, IL USA

A Peaceful Retreat

  • 5 of 5

Visiting the William's vacation home allowed us to continue our step back in time. After touring historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, we welcomed a return to this quiet and serene eighteenth-century plantation. A walk in the woods, a refreshing drink on the patio listening to song birds, or a delightful meal shared with family in the antique-filled dinning room helped us relax and savor the memories of the day.

Lovely artwork, antique furniture, comfortable rooms, and modern amenities made our stay in this home so rewarding. Our time spent here was too short.

  • Submitted: Aug 20, 2017
  • Stayed: August 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Rates & Availability

Taxes and fees are additional

Additional information about rental rates

If mid-week dates are still available (Monday through Thursday) 10 days or less before your planned trip, feel free to make a reasonable offer. (3 night minimum)

Owner's Cancellation Policy

  • 100% refund if canceled at least 60 days before arrival date.
  • Service Fee fully refunded on cancellations that qualify for 100% refund.