8/10: Rockwood Celebration

Rockwood Manor
Rockwood Manor

Imagine a road in the wilderness that carried settlers and travelers to the West in the 1700’s. It was a frontier trail, wagon road, stage route, and antebellum turnpike. That historic road is The Wilderness Road which runs through the New River Valley. Two sites along that trail in this region, Rockwood Manor in Dublin and the Wilderness Road Regional Museum in Newbern, are teaming up for a special event in August.

Rockwood Manor, which was built in 1875, will be the site of a benefit for the Wilderness Road Regional Museum on Thursday, August 10, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tickets for August Celebration at Rockwood will go on sale July 12 at the museum for $35 per person, or they may be purchased onsite the day of the event for $40 per person. Included will be home tours, heavy hors d’oeuvres and desserts, and live music. A cash wine bar will be available and a silent auction will be held.

Tours of the historic home will bring the past alive. Discover what treasure was found stored in the newel post of the curving staircase, the center hall’s exquisite focal point. See the patina of the ash and walnut inlaid floors in the foyer and center hall. Learn the “dark” memory from the childhood of Rockwood’s current matriarch Sarah Kent Drummond-Schell in the space that is now the powder room in the center hall. Hear about relatives – the McGavocks, Cloyds, Kents, Bells and others – who shaped the region’s rich history. Tour guides will talk about these families and the history of the home, specifically the rooms in which they are stationed.

The 10,000 square foot home sits on 68-acres of land and is registered as a National Historic Landmark. Visitors will learn about the plenum windows in The Cloyd Room that originally provided access to the home’s wrap-around porch. The home features 10 bedrooms, 17 fireplaces and 8 ½ baths and furnishings of the period, many of them family heirlooms. The exterior bricks were created on-site from clay that was dug on the property and fashioned by hand. Ornate ironwork adorns the outside crown molding above the windows. On the lower level, visitors will see and learn about the French drain that protects the home from water damage.

An interior designer by trade, Drummond-Schell says she chose the paint colors of the Cloyd and Kent rooms to draw guests’ eyes up to the “crown” of the room, stunning plaster medallions, assumed to be crafted by Italian artisans in the image of the lady of the house and fruit of the land. They are ornaments of the finely-appointed crown molding. The color, she says is also “to bring in God’s sunshine.”

Now a popular venue for weddings, events and for its amenities as a bed and breakfast, Rockwood Manor is located at 5189 Rockwood Road, off of Route 100 in Dublin near New River Community College. Innkeeper of Rockwood Manor is Drummond-Schell’s son, Frank Drummond.

The Wilderness Road Regional Museum is owned and operated by the New River Historical Society. It is located within the Village of Newbern in Pulaski County, at 5240 Wilderness Road, Dublin, VA 24084. Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum during hours of operation—Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.