Touring Pharsalia (A Historic 1814 Mansion)


On Saturday I toured Pharsalia, a beautiful 1814 mansion in Nelson County, Virginia.  My friend Suzanne writes for a local magazine and is including Pharsalia in an upcoming article on wedding venues.  She needed to visit Pharsalia to get information for her article and I tagged along.

Pharsalia, located at the foot of dePriest Mountain, was built for William Massie.  Foxie Morgan, the great-great-granddaughter of William Massie, has opened Pharsalia for weddings, classes, and special events.  She also has a cut flower farm and sells to customers both near and far.  If you live nearby, check out Pharsalia’s calendar of events.

Wouldn’t you love to have your wedding on the front lawn of this historic property?

Pharsalia in Nelson County


Picture a spring wedding here when the apple trees in the orchard are in bloom.  Be sure to check out Pharsalia’s website to see see pictures of this beautiful property during spring, summer, and fall.

Pharsalia View


The backyard would also be a pretty area for a wedding or for setting up a tent for dining or a bar.

Pharsalia Back of House


The neat thing about Pharsalia is that many of the original outbuildings are still standing.  The lower right hand side of this building was the outdoor kitchen.  The upstairs was a slave hospital.

Pharsalia Slave Hospital and Kitchen


Foxie showed Suzanne and me the kitchen.  Isn’t it amazing that this is still here and intact?  Pharsalia plans to offer a hearth cooking class this spring.

Pharsalia Kitchen


This building was originally the slave quarters for house servants.  The left side is now an office.

Pharsalia Slave Cabin for Household Help2


If you were a bride, wouldn’t you want to pose for a picture with your groom in that swing?

Pharsalia Slave Cabins for Household Help


Restrooms and a bar for events are on the left side of the building below.  This part used to be a garden shed and was replaced in recent years.  The right side is the original smoke house.

Pharsalia Smokehouse


The inside of the smoke house hasn’t changed over the years.  The trough below was carved from one tree and was used to salt the hams.

Pharsalia Area to Salt Hams


Looking up in the smoke house you can see rows and rows of pegs for hanging hams.

Pharsalia Smoke House Pegs for Hams


Behind the smoke house is a flat area that would be lovely for a wedding or for the wedding festivities.  There are flower gardens to the left and a view of the mountains to the right.

Pharsalia Party Area


Here you can see the flower gardens.  I would love to visit in another season to see these in bloom.

Pharsalia Garden2

The small smoke house in the flower garden was moved from Level Green, built in 1803 for General Thomas Massie, to Pharsalia in recent years and was restored by Foxie’s husband.  Click here to learn more about Level Green or to see more pictures.

Level Green


Event guests park in the riding ring and enter the festivities via the steps.  The cabin behind the riding ring is a slave cabin.  Another is to the right but has been modernized.

Pharsalia Slave Cabin

Just behind the smoke house is a beautiful pool.  Would you believe that I had a surprise 16th birthday party here?  My best friend from high school’s grandmother (Foxie’s mother) let Camille (my best friend) host a surprise party for me.  I remember jumping on the trampoline and swimming with all of our friends.  Camille took me to Pharsalia a time or two in high school and I’ve always admired and been fascinated with this historic property.

Pharsalia Pool


The ice house still stands at Pharsalia.  Ice was harvested from a pond and stored in this pit.  It was used for iced tea and ice cream, not to keep things cold.  Pharsalia Ice House2


The pit to store the ice is quite deep.  Foxie believes it has survived because it is under a building and protected from the elements.

Pharsalia Ice House


The saws and ice picks still hang over the pit.

Pharsalia Ice Equipment


I may be partial because Nelson County is where I grew up, but I truly think that it’s one of the prettiest places in the world.

Pharsalia Mountains


A two seated Johnny house that still functions is on the property.  Isn’t it cute and with an incredible view?

Pharsalia Outhouse and Mountains


Visiting Pharsalia is my most favorite activity so far for 2013.  Working there would be my dream job.  I think I might even work there for free!

Sharing With:
Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style
Metamorphosis Monday at BNOTP


  1. It’s amazing that so much has survived. I’ve toured lots of houses, none with slave hospitals, but plenty with ice houses. I never saw an ice pit, so now I’m wondering how those other ice houses worked. You’re right – This would be a great place for a wedding. I attended a wedding at a mansion in Goochland County. Guests were bussed from the hotel in Richmond. Are there hotels close to Pharsalia?

    1. Hotels are 45 minutes away. I think guests may stay at Wintergreen, a 25 minute drive. Someone should open a nearby B & B!

  2. How gorgeous this place is!!!
    Just love this post ( I do a series on houses for sell on Wednesdays because I love anything to do with old houses )
    Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. You have to make special arrangements to tour Pharsalia. I believe their website says that they do tours for groups of 15 or more.

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