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Eighteenth-Century Plantation House In Private 100-Acre Forest Park

Bedrooms 5
Space 222 m²
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 HOUSE is an elegant eighteenth-century plantation home 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 small room; and two single beds in an attic room adjoining one of the queen bedrooms. In order to get to the upstairs bathroom one needs to go through the queen bedroom from the attic room. It often acts as a type of family suite. Downstairs there is a small bedroom with a double bed. The bed is against the wall, so it can be difficult for the "outside" person to get out over the "inside" person in the middle of the night. There are two large bathrooms, one up and one downstairs. The upstairs bath has a tub/shower arrangement, and the downstairs bathroom has a 6 foot jetted tub and a separate walk in shower. Stairs are steep in case someone might have problems with them. There is only one closet and one wardrobe to hang things, but each bedroom has a chest of drawers.

The rest of the house is large enough to spread out in, with a large entrance hall, large dining room and comfortable living room. There is a large fenced-in front and back yard, and 100 acres of forest, meadows and streams to explore on over two miles of hiking trails.,

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 an hour
Response rate:
Calendar last updated:
March 15, 2018

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

Thank you so much for opening this beautiful house to our family and guests. This was a perfect site for a wedding: the house, the woods, and most important, all the love, care, and warmth here. We cannot express enough gratitude for all that you have done for the wedding. We roamed the grounds, and shared the wedding reception with family and friends, and in the chill of the evening enjoyed a hot tea by the fireplace. The dogs love the "Dog Mahal!" If any couple is as blessed as we were to find you, you will be able to make new friends, a warm couple, and one of the most amazing places for a special ceremony. We are already talking about coming back for our anniversary!
Nov 2017
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Accommodation and Amenities for this vacation house rental in Spring Grove

Property Type:
  • house
  • Guests provide their own meals
Floor Area:
  • 222 m²
House Rules:
  • Check-in: 4:00 PM
  • /
  • Check-out: 10:30 AM
  • Max. occupancy: 10
  • Min. age of primary renter: 25 ...
  • Children welcome ...
  • Parties/events not allowed ...
  • Pets considered ...
  • 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 ...
  • long term renters welcome
  • 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 -
(88 traveler reviews)

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Eighteenth-Century Plantation House In Private 100-Acre Forest Park
average rating of 5.0 based on 352 reviews

Fabulous!! Perfect!! Incredible!! Highly recommend to make this a destination get away for family, d

  • 5 of 5

Highly recommend Lightwood as a destination get away for family, friends, dogs, and kids!! Most serendipitous experience I’ve ever experienced!!

  • Submitted: 13-Jan-2018
  • Stayed: January 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for the review. It was a pleasure meeting you, and having you as guests. I am glad your doggies had a great time as well!
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Beautiful property! Authentic yet cozy and comfortable. Very friendly owner

  • 5 of 5

Beautiful property! Authentic yet cozy and comfortable. Very friendly owner

  • Submitted: 13-Feb-2018
  • Stayed: February 2018
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for your kind words. It was a pleasure having you as guests!
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Perfection steeped in history

  • 5 of 5

Our family was so pleased to return to Lightwood House and found it even better than we remembered. And...we thought it was perfect last time.

  • Submitted: 2-Jan-2018
  • Stayed: December 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
Owner's Response: Thank you so much for the review, and for being our guests once again. It was a pleasure seeing you, and having you at Lightwood. We will continue to do our best to keep adding to the house and grounds, so that our guests can have a truly memorable experience. Having guests like you is a large part of what makes it all worthwhile.
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1 0

Outstanding ,

  • 5 of 5

Outstanding, beautiful historic home, gorgeous property, owners go out of their way to make your stay enjoyable, and fit your individual needs. Close drive to all historic sites, beautiful ferry ride to Williamsburg.

  • Submitted: 15-Dec-2017
  • Stayed: November 2017
  • Source: HomeAway
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Beautiful historic home

  • 5 of 5

The home is beautiful, quaint and decorated in period furnishings including steep stairways, low stairway ceilings and fireplaces in several rooms - parlor, dining room, kitchen, bedroom...

We so loved staying in the home and all the "faerie" tales that came along for adventures in the forest. We will definitely come back!

3 miles from ferry ride into Williamsburg - Jamestown, Yorktown etc.

Not much for shopping in Surry so play grocery and other shopping in Williamsburg.

  • Submitted: 4-Dec-2017
  • Stayed: November 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Absolutely wonderful!

  • 5 of 5

Beautiful grounds, house and loved the ferry over to Williamsburg

  • Submitted: 28-Oct-2017
  • Stayed: October 2017
  • Source: VRBO, from HomeAway
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Car: necessary


Rates & Availability

Rental Rates for this vacation house rental in Spring Grove

Rental Basis:
per property
Owner accepts payment in:
Convert Currency
Rate Period Nightly Weekend Night Weekly Monthly Event
Winter, 2018
Jan 2 2018 - Mar 31 2018
3 night minimum stay
Spring, Summer, Fall. 2018
Apr 1 2018 - Dec 31 2018
3 night minimum stay
My Standard Rate
3 night minimum stay

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.
Contact Owner