Fortsville kicks off Christmas home tour

Published 1:36 pm Friday, November 9, 2018

By Mary Woodruff

The Riparian Woman’s Club of Emporia is once again delighted in presenting the 16th Christmas Home Tour. This takes place on Friday, Dec. 7, from 4:30 to 8 p.m.; and on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tour begins with the area’s only Airbnb owned by David and Jessica Yoder.

Welcome to Fortsville, also known as the home of John Y. Mason (1799-1859,) who was born in Hicksford, Greensville County. The plantation home is located in Sussex County in the Grizzard community. The stately home is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmark Register. Once located on a 1,000-acre farm, today stands on approximately four acres. Fortsville has the original flooring, doors, hardware and features eight fireplaces. The bricks used during an earlier restoration were made on the farm.

The original owners of Fortsville were John Fort and Olive Coleman whose daughter, Mary Ann, married John Y. Mason. Mason was a prominent politician who served in the Virginia House of Delegate, Virginia State Senate, U.S. Congress, U.S. Judge, twice as U.S. Secretary of Navy and U.S. Attorney General.

The overview of the past history of Fortsville leads to what is happening presently at this grand old plantation. Fortsville was acquired in 2017 by David and Jessica Yoder. The Yoders are known locally for Pineview Greenhouses. They acquired this home with exciting plans for its future. Today, it is the latest local venue for all kinds of celebrations to include, parties, family and class reunions, meetings and more. It is the area’s only Airbnb! The four-bedroom Airbnb is located in a quiet Southern Virginia rural setting where one can relax in the peaceful countryside while enjoying nature.

The new Fortsville will be decorated for the Christmas holiday season. A must-see on the tour. Fortsville is located at 5088 Fortsville Road, Emporia, in the Grizzard community.

Others whose homes on tour are John and Jenny Holtkamp, Ken Newcomb and Steve Smith, Mary Ann Renner and Mark and Wendi Simmons.

Tickets cost $13 each, and may be purchased at the Chamber of Commerce, from any Riparian Club member, the Peanut Patch in Courtland, or by calling 434-594-4369.

MARY WOODRUFF is a member of the Riparian Woman’s Club.