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A Rappahannock River Retreat

Inside Wheatland, a family's Greek Revival plantation in Virginia

August/September 2015

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Wheatland, built circa 1850, overlooks the Rappahannock River.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The two-story Greek Revival plantation house has two identical facades, each proudly greeting the river or road with a two-story entry.

photo: Patricia Lyons

Family silver and portraits on display in the dining room.

photo: Patricia Lyons

photo: Patricia Lyons

A classic canopy bed and plenty of reading material.

photo: Patricia Lyons

Floral wallpaper in a bedroom.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The central staircase.

photo: Patricia Lyons

photo: Patricia Lyons

Wheatland in 1910.

photo: Patricia Lyons

A collection of game bird and waterfowl etchings.

photo: Patricia Lyons

After the Civil War, the family had to sell furniture and silver to keep the property, but descendants later found original furniture, books, and oil portraits in the house’s attic.

photo: Patricia Lyons

Over time, the family has added period-appropriate pieces bought from nearby antiques dealers.

photo: Patricia Lyons

Hunt-ready waders in the mudroom.

photo: Patricia Lyons

“The house could be updated, but that’s not what we’re going for,” says Louise Bance. “It feels suspended in time.”

photo: Patricia Lyons

Pup at the ready.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The family strolling to the river.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The view of the Rappahannock River from Wheatland.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The house sits atop a raised brick basement.

photo: Patricia Lyons

The original Saunders wharf burned in 1900, but its 1901 replacement, a massive wooden warehouse perched on timbers along the bank, still stands.

photo: Patricia Lyons

“The river is the reason Wheatland and all the other beautiful old homes are here.”— Peter Bance

photo: Patricia Lyons

Wateremelon and wine inside the steamboat wharf at Wheatland.

photo: Patricia Lyons

Today in the wharf, kayaks and canoes fill stalls that once held livestock and bushels of wheat.

photo: Patricia Lyons

photo: Patricia Lyons