August 21, 2017

Visiting Belmont Manor

How lucky we were that Sunday was an absolutely PERFECT day! Not a cloud in the sky, warm temperatures, a light breeze and no humidity! So it was an ideal afternoon to head about 20 minutes south of Baltimore to visit the historic Belmont Manor, another house designed, in part, by my new obsession, Pleasants Pennington. IMG_4354

You get to the house via a long and very narrow and bumpy road before you finally see the allĂ©e of trees leading to the house which sits atop a hill. IMG_4348It is completely different from the last house I wrote about, and charming in its own way. IMG_4351First, the center portion is a lot older, dating to the early 1700’s, with the hyphens and wings added a bit later. In the 1910’s and 1920’s, Pennington added a lot more space to the house, extending it to the rear and adding to one of the wings. IMG_4363xxHe also designed the charming pool house. IMG_4567

Back to the house. It’s a lot more subtle and much smaller than the last house. It’s also a lot older. This was the original ballroom, and as you can see, the corners of the room are curved, a detail that’s only on the inside of the house, but one which elevates the room. IMG_4364

The manager of Belmont mentioned to me that the newel post on the staircase at Belmont is very similar to the one at the other house. Apparently, Belmont’s staircase was relocated when the house was remodeled, so in all probability, Pennington was the one who designed it.IMG_4371

IMG_3482 2This is one of the rooms which Pennington designed, and you can see his style here when compared to the last house. IMG_4360IMG_4361

This is the original back door to the house, which they moved during the expansion and centered on the back of the house. The door is in the corner of the room inside, but centered outside. They also moved the back stairs to the gardens.IMG_4382

Belmont has added a huge tent to the gardens because the space is primarily used for weddings and other special events. It’s so popular that it’s booked through 2018! IMG_4535

There is a grove of trees set up for outdoor weddings which seats about 200 guests. IMG_4571The gardens are nice, but not great and they’re sparsely planted. Luckily, there are a lot of the original trees dotting the property. IMG_4538

The other Pennington addition is the pool house, which is fantastic, but actually a pretty simple structure. The elegance is in the perfect proportions and the details. IMG_4540IMG_4543IMG_4558 What was originally a swimming pool is now a beautiful lily pond – spectacularly painted black to show off the plantings. IMG_4553IMG_4548IMG_4561

One of the highlights for me was seeing the grave of the steeplechase/hunter/race-horse, Billy Barton, the first animal featured on the cover of Time Magazine. He was the most famous race horse of his time and was purchased at the age of five by David Bruce, former owner of Belmont. image

He is buried at Belmont, standing up, in full tack.His stable-mate, Jay-Jay, is buried next to him.IMG_4575Belmont is open to the general public four times a year, the next in December. Check their website to see the exact information. Here’s an article with some information about the acquisition and history of the house.


  1. You are so right, that pool house is delightful. The fretwork is wonderful.


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