In just days, The Virginia Cliffe Inn will be transformed into a holiday shopping extravaganza when Christmas at Granny’s Craft Show opens this Friday. The show, which runs through Sunday, is a sought-after Christmas tradition for many shoppers.
Christmas at Granny’s got its start in 1980 when Janice Clifton, Inn proprietor, and her mother, Margaret, owned a craft consignment store in Laurel Park called Granny’s Attic. “We also had a wonderful home with lots of space, so we decided to decorate our home for Christmas and fill it with crafts and invite the public,” says Clifton. “The first year, we had about 850 people attend. We decided to repeat the event, and it grew by word of mouth each year. By the third year, we had over 3,000 people attending. By the tenth year, we had 10,000 guests attend in one week.”
As the event grew, Clifton’s father, James, partnered with McLean’s Restaurant to serve food from Clifton Cottage. “Dad played his player piano and jukebox for the customers, which was a huge hit. The show grew to the point that in 1995 we expanded the show to an entire week,” Clifton says.
In 1998 the family opened The Virginia Cliffe Inn to the public. It was the first bed and breakfast in Henrico County.
The Inn is constructed from wood, bricks, the staircase and many other original materials reclaimed “from the old circa-1850 farmhouse on the property,” says Clifton, noting her father was a general contractor who modeled the family’s home “after George Washington’s former military headquarters in Newburgh, New York.”
The Inn, dedicated to hosting weddings, showers, lodging, holiday parties, and other events, is now all decked out for the holidays.
During Christmas at Granny’s, the Inn will be filled with a unique collection of crafts from about 65 area crafters, artists, and bakers. Every room of the historic home will be filled with styled displays to match each room, just as they would be displayed in someone’s home.
“We will have all kinds of pottery, recycled items, wooden items, jewelry, artwork, tabletop books, wreaths, and baked goods that can be sampled in the kitchen,” says Clifton, noting there will be one central cashier “for all purchases, unlike a traditional booth-style craft show.”
Glen Allen Market is providing food that will be available for purchase. The event benefits St. Joseph’s Villa, a special needs nonprofit facility in Richmond that helps 57 localities daily. Children and young adults from The Sarah Dooley Autism School at St. Joseph’s Villa come to The Virginia Cliffe Inn twice a week to practice job skills.
“I have worked at St. Joseph’s Villa and am still passionate about it,” Clifton says. “We will always have some tie-in to a nonprofit. I want what I do to have meaning and purpose.”
Clifton will be holding a VIP night that requires a ticket on Thursday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. “Most all of our crafters will be there,” she says. “We try to make it a special night. Call the Inn at 804-382-0500 for VIP tickets.
Hours for Christmas at Granny’s at 2900 Mountain Road in Glen Allen are as follows: Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.