Ever dreamed of visiting the romantic mansions of Italy but don’t have the time or money to get there? We’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s a stunning mansion modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome just 20 minutes from our Inn! We visited it a few weeks ago and can’t wait to share our photos with you.
According to Wikipedia, Swannanoa was built in 1912 by millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley above Rockfish Gap, which is the southern end of the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park and the northern boundary of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
It took more than 300 artisans eight years to build this amazing structure, complete with Georgian marble, Tiffany windows, gold plumbing and terraced gardens! At the time of its completion, it was a state-of-the-art structure, the first in Nelson County to have electricity and boasting both an elevator and dumbwaiter.
After a brief period as a country club, the mansion sat empty for many years until the current owner, J.F. Dulaney, Jr. of Charlottesville, began a major renovation in 1999. Since this time, Dulaney has been attempting to restore the property to its original glory. Today, small group tours, open houses and weddings are held on the property. We were one of the lucky pairs to tour this grand palace and marveled at its beauty!
Please consider joining us during your visit to the Swannanoa Mansion and truly step back in time with the rich and famous. If you want to see the rest of our pictures, please visit our facebook page!
Bill and Eileen Hoernlein