Belle Grove to kick off 2015 season

The Belle Grove Plantation hosts its annual cocktail party this weekend, kicking off this year’s “Hite of Excellence Extraordinary Series of Sumptuous Feasts.”

The kickoff party, held at the historic mansion from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, is the first chance people have to buy tickets for the upcoming season’s events. Karen Haizlett, volunteer and outreach coordinator at Belle Grove, said there are 14 themed dinners and private events scheduled for this year.

“It’s the first night to get to see all the events we’re having, along with menus and dates,” she said. “And then of course there will be hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a silent auction.”

Events range from a Cinco de Mayo celebration with authentic Mexican cooking and tequila tasting and a Midnight in Paris event with Parisian cuisine and French wines to an open hearth cooking class and spring wildflower hike.

At another event, the movie, “Cold Mountain,” will be shown to ticket holders at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester.

“For a lot of our events, there’s a limited number of people who can attend,” Haizlett said. “So anybody who comes to the kickoff party gets first choice.”

The Hite of Excellence dinner series, named after Belle Grove’s original owner, Isaac Hite Jr., has been held for the past 17 years. The party also features a special 257th birthday celebration and cake for Hite.

Haizlett said proceeds from ticket sales will fund Belle Grove’s educational programs and historic preservation projects.

Tickets to the kickoff party are $25 per person and $40 per couple, and can be purchased online at

Tickets for the dinner series events will be sold online the following week.

The Belle Grove Plantation is located between Middletown and Strasburg on U.S. 11.

For more info, visit or call 540-869-2028.

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or

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