With a title like that you are wondering first “what the heck is a Belnemus?” and second…who the heck says “pining for” anymore? Well Belnemus is an old plantation home far out smack between nowhere and the middle of nowhere. It is for lack of a better word a home I have been “pining for” for going on several years now.
“Pining” just fits. The definition is : to yearn intensely and persistently especially for something unattainable.
Did I ever mention I was a history major in college? I love history. I am fascinated by it and could spend hours reading history books. Such a geek! Just one of the many layers that makes me, “me” though so we will just keep moving on with this very long story.
We originally had our home on the market to sell in July 07 and the market dropped and selling it became a distant dream. Then the market kept dropping and now we sit upside down stuck in a neighborhood where at least I have fantastic neighbors that I love. But… we have never stopped longing to move back out of the burbs. Powhatan is this great little town out in the middle of the country but still somewhat close enough to the world. Although pizza delivery would be out (can one survive without pizza delivery? Every mothers question). I stumbled upon Belnemus one night while looking at Realtor.com and saw this beautiful old home. Now the one catch was it was out of our budget. But something still pulled me to drive out and see it anyway. Just for a peek.
As I pulled onto this winding driveway, surrounded by rolling fields, the peek of the red roof over the hills beckoned me to come closer. Now I had no idea if anyone was living there or not, knowing that this is out in the country you wonder if you will be “met at the door”. It was like a magnet was pulling me to this house though. And then there it was….this beautiful Georgian style home sitting on it’s knoll, surrounded by these trees! How can I explain these trees? There are just no words to describe them. Ginormous, centuries old trees that flank the sides of the most breath taking home. As I pulled around the back of the home it was like you could hear the centuries talking to you. The people and the hustle and bustle that must have once surrounded this house….well I can only imagine what it must have once been like.
So fast forward several years. It looks like it was on the market for sometime before heading to auction in the Fall of 08. But no one bought it, I suppose because it is still sitting empty. Over the last few years I have been slowly gathering history on this home. Why? Because it haunts me like no other house could. I may not be the type to believe in re-incarnation but if , let’s say I did believe in it, I would swear that somewhere in my past I have known this land, this home. I am stuck on it. Simply stuck. Not in the “I have to have it all for me” way. More in the “OMG! This beautiful home with this absolutely amazing history is just going to fall into the ground! Am I the only one seeing this? Am I the only one who sees this diamond in the rough?!” type of way…
From what I understand the owners are now divorced and have since moved states away. It happens. And then the market crashes and sigh… I feel for them. I do. So I am thinking that if Daryl and I can’t sell our home and purchase this home at the moment (and don’t think that I don’t think of ways daily to make owning it possible one day) someone out there must be able to love it and may just not be aware of this gem! Although I have a gut feeling most have no desire to live that “far out” these days. Let’s face it, if someone has $599,000 (the current price of the house), they are more than likely going to buy a nice shiny new house with no rehab needed. I understand that. This house is for someone who truly loves it (like me). They will be spending full time caring for it undoubtedly. I suppose that is the way of it for anyone buying a 200+ year old home. You buy it fully making a “commitment” to love and care for it. To honor it’s history and stories of the people that called it “home” once upon a time. A house that old remembers it’s people. I fully believe that…maybe I am just a die hard romantic though
But look at it and tell me you can’t hear the stories it must have to tell?
“Clarke died in 1831, leaving a substantial estate valued at over $6000 and
including mapping equipment, 16 slaves and “1 fiddle and bow.”
The house comes with several little buildings which would have been used for a smokehouse, ice house (they would bring the ice over from the pond during the winter), a tobacco building and the kitchen. I have no idea which one was which for the most part…well except the ice house and one of the buildings smells like a smokehouse so perhaps that was it. I had never seen an ice house before and Dave (the realtor) was kind enough to let me take a peek. As you can see from the pics it is the triangle building. The floor is falling in but you can still peek in and see the circle shape of the bricks going deep into the ground.
As you walk up the back walk way you feel so tiny compared to the huge trees and attached to one of those trees is of course…. an old fashioned rope swing. The kids are in love.
Do you see where the eve of what looks like steps are in the top right hand corner of the old picture below? That would be where the old steps are but they are covered now and there is a “new” stairwell put in around the turn of the century. Easily missed! Another fun one…see the little tiny frame on the wall kindof below it a bit? That is a little window in the other room so you could peek in and see what your guests were doing! I suppose their version of “caller id”…hahaha…cracking myself up over here!
I suppose it is odd to dream of a house and know all of these details but I tell my self we all need our dreams and many of my friend do have their dream homes…they just don’t have 200+ years of history behind them. Hence there is just more to know
So often we just let these homes disappear from our history and for Powhatan county the loss of Belnemus would be a great loss. It really would.