Lightwood Forest is an elegant eighteenth-century home nestled in an ancient beech forest in rural Surry County, Virginia, and is one of America's most beautiful and unique historic vacation rentals. The estate comprises over one hundred 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 estate 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.
With the present health crisis, Lightwood Forest is the perfect getaway. The chaotic world seems a million miles away when there, with over two miles of trails to walk in peace and quiet.
Children love Lightwood House, with its many nooks and crannies to explore. While the house has many antiques, the furniture is sturdy (one could almost dance a jig on the dining room table without doing any harm) 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 there are two larger bedrooms, each with a queen-size canopy bed, one double bed in a smaller room, and two twin 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. This spectacular estate truly is a place of beauty, peace, and tranquility.
WEDDINGS AND EVENTS:
Friday noon through Sunday noon, up to 150 guests; ten guests may stay overnight at the house Friday and Saturday nights. Includes wedding ceremony area and space for a 40 x 80 tent for receptions, dinners, and dancing. $3500. Treasure hunts are also offered at Lightwood Forest for children under eight years old and for adults who are still young at heart! Follow the clues through the woods to find the hidden Faerie treasure buried long ago. January-December, $250.
The historic museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown are only a short drive and free, 24-hour, 20-minute car ferry ride away. All three 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. Many important historic Civil War sites are within an hour's drive, in the Richmond/Petersburg area.
River-front beaches can be found in Surry at Chippokes State Park, at Jamestown on the James River, and at Yorktown on the York River leading to the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia Beach itself 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 State Park, with historic buildings, Olympic-sized pool, and riverfront beach. Boat rentals are available at the Chickahominy River County 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 historic James River estates open to the public, are an easy 45-minute drive and can be found along Historic Route 5, which winds 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
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 Virginia
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 was Joy's influence that 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. There are few places in the United States 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.
|Zip Code: 23881|
Williamsburg Area, Surry VA. Lightwood is located in rural Surry County, Virginia, south of the James River, 1.2 miles from the Town of Surry, where restaurants, a post office, a bank, the county courthouse, a 7-11, a Dollar Store as well as gift shops can be found.
Lightwood is 3.5 miles from the free and frequent, 24-hour car ferry to Jamestown/Williamsburg, which docks at Jamestown on the other side of the river. From Jamestown, Colonial Williamsburg is a six-mile drive; Busch Gardens is eleven miles away.
Fireplaces, Free U.S. Long Distance Phone Calls, WIFI, satellite TV, Central Air and Heat, VCR, DVD player and DVDs, Hot Water Kettle, Coffee Maker, Keurig, French Press, Large Crockpot, Pots, Pans, Utensils, basic Condiments, Comforters, Bed Linens, Towels, Washcloths, Basic Soaps, Paper Towels, Bathroom Tissue, Two Canopy Beds (Queen Sized), Two Double Beds and Two Twin Beds, Walking Trails, Booster Seat, High Chair, Children's Playground (Outside Toys, Swings, Slide, and Play Tower), Children's Indoor Toy Closet, Children's Books.
|-||Nightly rate||Weekly rate||Monthly rate||Min. Stay||Change-over|
|Rate summary||$295 - $395||$1,750 - $2,625||$8,500||3 Nights||-|
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 :)
Stayed September, 2017
Our family thoroughly enjoyed the stay. It was magical and we would like to stay at Lightwood again.
Stayed August, 2017
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.
Stayed August, 2017
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!
Stayed July, 2017
This is the second time in two months that we have had the pleasure of staying at Lightwood. I reviewed this property in June 2017 and nothing has changed regarding this incredible property. It feels like you are transported back to the 18th century as the house was built around 1760 and is furnished and decorated with many period antiques, furniture, and pictures. As you drive up the front entrance, images of carriages and men on horseback come to mind as they traveled in Revolutionary times. Although the house is very historic, it is not lacking in modern conveniences and every need has been anticipated by the owners. We use this home as a base for our visits to Williamsburg, Yorktown, Jamestown, and even Busch Gardens and it is so convenient to all of those sites. The fact that you have to use the Jamestown-Scotland ferry to cross the James River only adds to the charm of your stay at Lightwood. After spending a day at Williamsburg or the other historic attractions, it is great to return to your retreat at Lightwood and get away from the all of the crowds. If you are looking for an extraordinary experience and to immerse yourselves in the history of the period, Lightwood is by far an opportunity you will not want to pass up.
Stayed July, 2017
Lightwood House was such a lovely property. Our group of five enjoyed it immensely. The house is so historic, you walk through the door and feel like you’ve stepped back in time. All the basics are provided and more. Once we got the hang of the ferry, it was super easy to hit all the sights the area is famous for. I would highly recommend staying here.
Stayed September, 2019
....at least that is what my daughter said in her note in the memory book at the house for Cliff and Joy. And I would have to agree. Lightwood House was by far the best place that we've stayed. I mean, forget the actual HISTORY of the house and grounds - forget the BEAUTIFUL house and grounds - forget that almost EVERYTHING you need is included in the house..... we actually felt like we had transported into another world. The feeling there was so welcoming and warm, right down to the tiniest touch of fresh flowers in every room. EVERY ROOM. We had so much fun just at the house, besides all the fun we had at all the attractions close by. From Virginia Beach to Williamsburg/Jamestown to Busch Gardens, even to the awesome Chippokes Plantation State Park ---- everything was great. We will most definitely come back to stay at Lightwood House. I would love to see the grounds in the fall !! If you come to this area be sure to see if Lightwood House is available for your stay.
Stayed August, 2019
Staying at the Lightwood house was amazing. It was very private and when you want to go out to see attractions it's only a short ferry ride away. It was the first vacation that our two dogs didn't have to be on a leash when taken outside so I know they enjoyed it too! The house was beautiful as well as the outside and trails. Cliff and Joy are so great. We did the treasure hunt add on and it was the highlight of our sons vacation. When we left our son said he wants to come every Summer and also every Fall and Winter! Thank you!
Stayed August, 2019
We had a very good reunion with the rest of our family. The accommodations were plentiful and very comfortable, in a beautiful rustic setting. We were in commuting distance of many local attractions, and were able to show our young ones many sites that increased their appreciation of colonial history. Shopping, gas and dining were all accessible by the local ferry, so we were never wanting for anything. We appreciate everything the owners and groundskeepers did to make our stay pleasant and comfortable.
The dining room was very special. The large table allowed everyone to sit together and serve food comfortably, and the kitchen was convenient for both food preparation and cleanup. The colonial style furniture lent a beautiful charm to the entire atmosphere of our stay.
Thank you very much! - The DeWalts
Stayed August, 2019
My family spent a wonderful vacation at Lightwood House. The house was equipped with all the amenities we needed for our stay. We can simply pack your bags and food. Everything else is there. We enjoyed walking the trails and peaceful evenings on the patio. The history of the house is amazing. Cliff and Joy did a wonderful job with restoration and period decorating. I loved the privacy of the house and property. We would definitely stay here again.
Pamela and Tom G.
Stayed July, 2019