Published: September 06. 2012 2:07PM
Written and photographed by Renata Parker
The story of Villa Crawford began 100 years ago. Located in the midst of Virgina’s rolling countryside, punctuated by award-wining vineyards and hunting grounds, the original 8,000 square-foot country estate first served as the home of Florence and Robert B. Crawford.
Throughout its history, Villa Crawford would be transformed a number of times from a private estate to a country club; then to a hotel where it become the backdrop for a number of Hollywood movies, elegant soirees and intriguing mysteries; and finally into the north cornerstone of Keswick Hall at Monticello, the award-winning resort it is today.
Keswick Hall is a place to remember. In keeping with its grand historic past, Keswick’s 48 luxurious rooms and suites, as well as the refined main rooms, are filled with period furnishings, antiques and art that tell the story of the home.
Designed by notable architect Eugene Bradbury, Villa Crawford’s style is reminiscent of the Italian villas the Crawfords may have visited during their travels to Tuscany. The manison still maintains its original staircase, ceiling moldings and fireplaces.
In her book “The Story of Keswick Hall,” author and resident historian Patricia Castelli fully captures a century of social events at the home.
“Keswick has endured many changes throughout its history and yet, has maintained the authentic charm of the country estate it once was,” Castelli says.
With décor inspired by Louis XV, guest room No. 9 — which once served as the original master bedroom — is one of the most requested guest rooms, Castelli says. Featuring original hardwood floors dating back to 1912, this romantic haven includes French doors that open onto a private terrace and offers breathtaking views of the golf course and infinity pool below.
With world-class service a hallmark to its name, Keswick Hall offers amenities you would expect from an award-winning luxury property. On site is an 18-hole Arnold Palmer-designed golf course, a tennis center, two swimming pools, a full-service spa and fitness center, walking trails, complimentary bikes, a wine-producing vineyard, picturesque garden areas, and two restaurants.
Castelli says events celebrating Keswick’s 100th birthday will culminate in September with a fashion show luncheon featuring a century of fashion, and then an elegant Centennial Gala with cocktails, dinner and dancing under the stars.
Just a short stroll from your room is Keswick’s Courtside Vineyard, which produces a its own fine white table wine as well as a sweet dessert wine. Wine lovers will enjoy monthly themed wine-tasting events. During my visit, the Argentina wine dinner included an authentic outdoor barbecue and flamenco dancers. Virginia is the fifth-largest wine producing state in the country and the resort is just a short from more than 25 vineyards.
Dining at Keswick’s Fossett’s is a must. Named after Thomas Jefferson’s chief cook at Monticello, Edith Fossett, Keswick’s main restaurant features such delectable Virginia favorites as braised Mount Vernon farm lamb loin rubbed with rosemary and served with Parmigiano and mascarpone ravioli. Or try the free Union Grass Farm duck confit ragout with butternut squash, arugula and cracklins.
After dinner, stroll the many formal and informal gardens in a self-guided tour, slip into the Snooker room for a late-night game of billiards or nestle by the fire in the library and soak in the peace of this Virginia gem.
|The story of Villa Crawford began 100 years ago.Photo courtesy of Keswick Hall|