Belvedere is a 245 year-old farm of approximately 1000 acres. The Fulks family purchased the property in 1968. They took it from conventional farming to sustainable biological/organic farming. Grain crops include corn, wheat and soybeans. Direct marketed areas include Strawberries (pick-your-own and ready-picked), The Great Pumpkin Patch, Educational Programs for school children, The Great Adventure Maze and a wide variety of Group Events & Outings.
A Fascinating History
Belvedere plantation was built along the Rappahannock River in the 1760′s by Col. William Dangerfield. By the standards of the time it was a modest sized plantation, yet still very prosperous. It also became a local hub for both commerce and social activity in the newly found American State of Virginia. Sources relate that Col. Dangerfield then owned about 40 slaves, annually exported 3600 bushels of wheat, owned a lot of horses, and was noted for his kindness and hospitality.
The 1774 diary of John Harrower opens a first-hand window into life at Belvedere in Colonial times. Harrower was the in-house tutor to the Dangerfield children as well as to others that lived nearby. Among these was 14 year-old neighbor John Edge, who was deaf and mute. Tradition has it that John was the first deaf person to obtain an education in the new nation of America. John Harrower wrote, “that, after five months, John Edge could write right well, understand the value of each figure and could work at single addition a little.” Harrower’s diary also mentions the quality of Belvedere’s fine strawberries, cherries, melons, honey, cider and toddies. Read an excerpt from the journal …
In November of 1775, Belvedere was used by the local Minute Men militia, for their required twenty days of muster and drill. Over 250 men from the surrounding counties of Caroline, Spotsylvania, King George, Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg. Tradition has it that Col. Dangerfield was very hospitable to the militia, providing the men all manner of good victuals and supplies during their stay.
The original two-story house still stands with several additions, including the current family dining room, which was once a chapel. The porch with pillars faces the nearby Rappahannock River.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Belvedere was also known as “The Peony Farm”, as its road frontage acres were devoted to growing peonies. These flowers were cut as buds in May and then shipped to metropolitan points such as Boston, New York City, and Washington D.C., where they were used in the traditional Memorial Day floral arrangements.