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Welcome to the Millsap Baker Estate, located in Damascus, Virginia!
"Get-aways" in the mountains are for seclusion ... for privacy ... for tranquility – a time to be alone with your closest and to refresh your love ... and yourselves.
We understand that.
If you're looking for a special place, a place for memories you'll forever cherish – you've found it in The Millsap-Baker Estate – truely the "Jewel of the Mountains"©.
Here you don't just get a room and a breakfast – you get personal attention and service that is truly "a cut above the rest".
Just Imagine ...
Enjoying your breakfast while watching the sun rise from the cliff deck.
Reading a good book while lounging on an antebellum fainting couch in the sitting room.
Sipping a warm cup of coffee on the front porch, then play cards in the Parlor.
Strolling the grounds and the glade with your loved one before enjoying a good movie in the Library.
The west lawn's stone table is perfect for a relaxing picnic before playing yard games or taking in the area's attractions.
In the evening, entertain guests in the dining hall or on the cliff-overlook deck, and when it's time to retire, there are three Victorian bedchambers to choose from and two elegant full baths for your convenience.
Yes, three original bedchambers have been restored to true Victorian grandeur – great for overnight stays as a cozy bed & breakfast in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, or even for a memorable destination wedding you and your guests will never forget.
Whether your ceremony will be inside or out, the Millsap-Baker Estate provides perfect accommodations for all types of get-togethers, from formal dinners to casual, relaxing parties. Consider our scenic Damascus Virginia location, nestled in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and just 9 miles from Abingdon Virginia, for your wedding or next party.
Travelers are always looking for memorable and relaxing experiences. Let’s discover more through the words of our innkeepers, James & Connie Baker. Many thanks to them for sharing their own secrets with BBOnline.com! Why do most travelers stay at your inn? What are you best known for? What makes your inn unique?
History, Antiques, Natural Beauty, and southern care & comfort
Dave Millsaps, a gifted wood carver and building contractor, was responsible for many of the historic, Victorian homes in the Damascus Virginia area and throughout Washington County Virginia. His carving talent was nationally recognized and published; and his clients are said to have included many famous people of his day, including Will Rogers, Randolf Scott, and President Theodore Roosevelt.
He built his historic house in 1895 to be his personal home and woodshop, but as with the proverbial barefooted cobbler, after 50 years and the completion of countless clients' homes, he never finished his own. When Dave's niece nearly died in childbirth during the Great Depression, her young son, James C. Baker (1928 - 2009), came to live with Dave, his wife, Molly, and their only child, Vera. Upon Vera's death in 1971, James inherited the property and personally performed a 7-year total renovation and 40% expansion of the original Manor House. In the 1990's he and his son, Dr. James Baker, added seven "out buildings" and another 40% to the living space, including a "mother-in-law's" apartment over a double garage and shop, which they attached to the Manor House by a second story bridge. In 2009 another full restoration and renovation of the manor house was begun, this time by Dr. Baker to prepare The Millsap-Baker Estate for use as a wedding and event venue and Bed & Breakfast. The house has been in our family since it was first built over 117 years ago, and is now welcoming you to become a part of its history.
At the Millsap-Baker Estate, we have just completed a 3 ½ year restoration of the manor house and grounds to grand Victorian style. The house looks and smells brand new – just as it would have appeared in 1895 when first built. Rather than the typical "family farm" style common to many bed and breakfasts, we choose to recreate a "professional's home of the 1890s", e.g., the style more common to a lawyer's or doctor's home of the period. The manor house has also been fully refurnished with beautiful period antiques, from the Empire style (1810-1850) furnishings of the Tower bedchamber, to the Eastlake style of the parlor, to the elaborate Victorian style found elsewhere.
The grounds have been carefully landscaped to present the estate, without excessively detracting from the natural beauty of the area. From the southern tree swing love seat, to the grape arbor with reversible love seat swing, to a 3000 square foot cliff-overlook deck, to an 1870s barn and fully operational hand-pump and pump house, to a natural private area glade, the grounds include many quite, scenic reposes.
My wife, Connie, and I take great pleasure in serving and helping our guests to enjoy our home to the fullest possible. We serve a full, hot, home-cooked breakfast – timed to fit their vacation needs and catered to meet their personal preferences. Seven types of complementary wine is provided to each room, as well as chocolates, and homemade baked goods – bread, cookies, etc. We have an endless snake bar, always fully stocked with about 50 choices of snacks, fruit, soft drinks, cheeses, etc. – all included at no additional charge. Over 3000 DVD movies are available in the Library, as well as hundreds of books dating from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. Every room is also furnished with Hotel Spa-quality robes and monogrammed towels in the bathrooms.
What do you love most about your inn?
My family heritage and personal history entwined with this historic manor house. I am certainly proud that such a famous wood carver as Dave Millsap first built this home and lived here for nearly 50 years. But more than that, I grew up here. I've lived here most of the last 40 years, ever since my father inherited it from Dave's only child, Aunt Vera – and before that, for several years, my dad even grew up here.
I remember helping Dad rebuild the original house when I was but a teenager: restoring the original structure where we could; replacing rotten walls, floors, and ceilings; adding plumbing, electric, telephone, roofing and siding; moving doorways and windows, and raising the house onto a foundation; and adding a huge kitchen and master bedroom for Mom (an extra 1000 square feet). We also built a large garage/shop and second floor apartment for my wife, Connie (my childhood sweetheart and literally "the girl next door") and I to live – an additional 2500 square feet. Every room, every nook, is cherished in my childhood memories, willingly written in my sweat, blood, and occasional tears.
What do I love most about this place – it is a part of me, a part that will endure, and a part that I do willingly share.
If someone has never been to your city, what is the #1 reason to come visit?
Most people come to Damascus to enjoy the natural beauty of the blue ridge mountains of Virginia and family-friendly atmosphere of our small town. Damascus is also at the heart of the "Virginia Creeper Trail" – a rail road bed converted to bike trail that runs from White Top Station down hill 17 ½ miles to Damascus then on another 17 miles, slightly uphill to historic Abingdon, VA. There are many bike rental and shuttle services available in town that, for a modest fee, will take you to the top of the trail, so that you can enjoy the ride through the mountains, across scenic wooden trestle over winding stony creeks – all on a gentle grade downhill to Damascus.
What’s the best compliment you have ever received about the inn?
Despite the exquisite antiques making it seem like one was in a beautiful, living museum, the owners made them feel so comfortable and "at home" – like they always belonged there.
What’s the best kept secret about the area?
Definitely the people. The town and its people retain the loving neighborliness of a time gone by in too many parts of the country. The people are the type that would not think of driving by without stopping to help someone that might be in need, or sharing their garden with strangers. Everyone is ready and truly interested in stopping to lend a hand or just to chat.
If a traveler is staying at your inn for 4 nights, what should he/she do in the area?
Relax. If you're looking for the busy, hub-bub of the city, you've come to the wrong place. Damascus is a place to just enjoy life at a healthy pace, whether it is bike riding, riding a horse, fishing, hunting, sitting on main street and chatting to passers-by, or hanging out at the town's gazebo park to watch the kids play in the community playground. Plan on taking your time and enjoying life – take a picnic to "back-bone rock" park, or a hike on White Top Mountain or Mount Rogers.
Is there anything within walking distance of your inn?
Natural Beauty. The estate is about 6 ½ acres about a half mile from town. Some people walk into town, but most just relax and enjoy nature and quite serenity.
What is your favorite restaurant/food in the area?
For very fine dining: The Tavern (built in the late 1700s), excellent cuisine, about 12 miles, est. $50+/plate
For fine dining: Old Mill Restaurant (built in early 1800s), excellent fair, about 1 mile, est. $25/plate
For good, plain food: Blue Blaze Café, solid simple food, about 1 mile, est. $12.50/plate
How many rooms does your inn have?
Currently 3 double occupancy bedchambers, and 2 full baths ( with an in-line hot water supply, so you never have to worry about running out!)
Do you accept pets?
Sorry, but with the fine antiques and hand-carved wood, we simply can't accept pets.