Swannanoa is an Italian Renaissance Revival villa built in 1912 by millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley (1841–1922) above Rockfish Gap on the border of northern Nelson County and Augusta County, Virginia and sits high atop the Blue Ridge Mountains at Afton. Small group tours of the palace may be arranged and on selected weekends the palace is open for tours to the public.
Intended to be a “summer place” for Richmond, Virginia millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley and his wife Sarah “Sallie” O. May, it reportedly took over 300 artisans eight years to build the structure, complete with Georgian marble, Tiffany windows, gold plumbing fixtures, and terraced gardens. Built as a token of love from husband to wife, the depth of James and Sallie May’s relationship was represented in the 4,000 piece Tiffany stained-glass window and a domed ceiling bearing the likeness of Mrs. Dooley. Despite the lavish expenditure, it was occupied only for a few years following completion in 1912.
For the latest tour schedule visit http://nelsoncounty.com/events-calendar/
or call the Nelson County Visitor Center: 434-263-7015.
Swannanoa offers a unique wedding site and is available for other private events, like tours, photo shoots, field trips, children’s birthday parties, and more.