Stevenson Ridge

6901 Meeting Street, Spotsylvania, Virginia 22553
Innkeeper(s): Debbie & Dan Spear and Jennifer Mackowski

A November Sunrise at the Ridge 26 Nov 2016, 5:24 pm

from Chris

A recent sunrise at the Ridge….


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Local Newspaper Spotlights Civil War Book 17 Nov 2016, 12:00 am

SD-coverThe Free Lance-Star ran an article Tuesday about the book Seizing Destiny: The Army of the Potomac’s “Valley Forge” and the Civil War Winter that Saved the Union, which was co-authored by Stevenson Ridge Historian-in-Residence Chris Mackowski. The newspaper article was written by veteran writer Clint Schemmer.

Seizing Destiny, which was written by the late Albert Conner, Jr., looks at the major transformation of the Union army during the bleak winter of 1862-63—period of the Civil War that historians have usually overlooked.

Chris assisted with rewrites of the manuscript. “It’s Al’s book, though,” Chris says. “He compiled one of the most impressive collections of research I’ve ever seen.”

Conner passed away earlier this year after a lengthy illness.

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Stevenson Ridge Yard Sale This Saturday! 15 Nov 2016, 8:18 pm

We have a big indoor yard sale coming up this weekend at Stevenson Ridge. On Saturday, from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., we invite you to join us in the Lodge to pick and poke your way through a treasure trove of goodies. A number of Stevenson Ridge employees and their families will be setting up tables, so there’ll be a wide assortment of stuff to choose from.

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Apple of Your Eye 10 Nov 2016, 6:49 am

from Chris

A recent couple offered their guests a sweet treat, perfect for autumn. To celebrate the fact that they’re “Apple-ly Married,” they gave guests a self-contained caramel apple kit: a fresh macintosh and a small jar of caramel sauce, wrapped together and tied with a burlap-string bow.

May they live apple-ly ever after!


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A Splash of Spring Color in the Fall 9 Nov 2016, 8:35 am

Although the leaves are changing and falls colors abound, we do have a few hold-outs around the Ridge. These pansies are still stunning visitors who stop by the Riddick House.


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Visiting a Civil War Hero’s Hometown 4 Nov 2016, 1:00 am

upton-birthplace-covered-signfrom Chris

For students of the battle of Spotsylvania Court House, one of the most famous stories is that of a Union officer named Emory Upton. On May 10, 1864, Upton devised a plan to attack the Confederate line along the western face of the Mule Shoe Salient. The attack involved brand new tactics, but it also looked like a long shot. Superiors told Upton he’d be promoted to brigadier general if he came back successful; if he wasn’t successful, he was told to not bother coming back at all.

On the national park’s driving tour at the Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield, tour stop #2 lets visitors follow in the footsteps of Upton’s men as they made their attack. It did succeed, but because Upton didn’t get reinforcements, Confederates eventually reversed those gains and repulsed Upton’s men. Because the defeat was not Upton’s fault, he did end up getting a promotion because of his innovative tactics.

Upton went on to play a role in later events around Myer’s Hill on the eastern side of the battlefield a few days later.

Earlier this week, I had the chance to visit Upton’s birthplace in the upstate New York town of Batavia, located about midway between Buffalo and Rochester (and about an hour and forty-five minutes from the university where I teach). I was invited to attend the dedication of a new state historical marker placed on the former Upton homestead. It was a special opportunity to find a far-away connection to a story I know so well from Spotsylvania.

For more on the trip, and on Emory Upton, you can read a full account at Emerging Civil War.


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Slow-Cooker Apple Cider–Mmmm Mmmm! 2 Nov 2016, 7:08 pm

Photo courtesy: The Recipe Rebel

Photo courtesy: The Recipe Rebel

from Elizabeth

Now that Halloween is over, everyone is getting in the spirit for the holiday season! Most of us in the office at the Ridge love this time of year and everything it brings over the next couple of months.

As the temperature drops, here is a delicious slow-cooker cranberry apple cider recipe to try this month or for upcoming holiday parties. I promise: it’ll make your house smell amazing! The recipe is courtesy of the Recipe Rebel.


  • 1 liter apple juice
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 liter cranberry juice
  • ½ cup of sugar, stevia, honey or other sweetener
  • 3 cinnamon sticks (whole)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice


  1. Add all the ingredients to a 4 quart or larger slow cooker. Stir.
  2. Cook at least 3-4 hours on low or until hot. Keep warm as long as needed on the low or warm setting.
  3. Leftovers refrigerate wonderfully and reheat just fine!

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Digital Traces 24 Oct 2016, 1:00 am

Traces of the Bloody Struggle-coverTraces of the Bloody Struggle: The Civil War at Stevenson Ridge, Spotsylvania Court House by Chris Mackowski is now available digitally through, courtesy of Savas Beatie, LLC.

The book recounts the action on the eastern front during the May 1864 battle. (Click here for more about the book.)

Hard copies of the book are available only through Stevenson Ridge: $10 plus shipping. For ordering info, contact

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Food Show 21 Oct 2016, 1:00 am

fellow-foodiesChef Brad, Jennifer, and Chris recently took the trip down I-95 to Richmond to attend a food show hosted by Performance Food Group (also known as PFG). Held in the ground floor of the Altria Theater in downtown, the food show brought together dozens of vendors who provided everything from fresh produce and pasta to sauces, dips, and dressings. And the best thing of all: it was all you can eat (okay, maybe that’s not so great for the waste line even if it was a field day for the taste buds!).



PFG serves as a clearinghouse for vendors like this, who vary in size from some of the world’s largest corporations, like Nestlé, to small mom-and-pop operations that produce specialty foods locally/regionally on an as-ordered basis.

Chris, our historian, was just along for the ride. This was his first food show, so it was an exciting opportunity for him to explore and experience. For Jennifer and Chef Brad, though, the food show was a chance to connect with some of the valued food providers and producers who help keep our kitchen stocked at Stevenson Ridge. Brad, for instance, was able to talk to a produce vendor about custom-cut veggies. Jennifer was able to shop around for new seasonal juices for the breakfast baskets people order when staying in the cottages.

We always strive to provide the best-possible food experiences for our guests—fresh, surprising, and, whenever possible, local and seasonal. Food shows like PFG’s are one way we stay on top of all the latest trends and ideas. This allows us to create specially crafted catering proposals created specifically for our brides and grooms and other event planners. Every proposal is custom made!


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Stevenson Ridge on C-SPAN: The Atlanta Campaign 20 Oct 2016, 1:00 am

C-SPAN’s coverage of the Emerging Civil War Symposium at Stevenson Ridge continues this weekend with Steve Davis’s talk on John Bell Hood’s July 20, 1864, attack outside Atlanta. The talk will air on C-SPAN3 on Saturday, October 22 at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Meanwhile, C-SPAN3 will re-air Dave Powell’s talk on battle tactics on Saturday, October 22 at 3:10 p.m. Eastern time. And Chris Mackowski’s talk on Spotsylvania’s Bloody Angle will re-air on Sunday morning, October 23, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.

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