Rockcliffe Farm Retreat & Lodge
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There are a ton of activities to do at Rockcliffe Farm retreat Rates for lodging, weddings, canoe rental and more We have some of the best fishing in central Virginia Contact us to book your getaway
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Contact us today to reserve your getaway! 434-933-4371

Contact Rockcliffe Farm

Mrs. Joan Rockwell

Rockcliffe Farm Retreat, LLC.
816 Walkers Ford Road
Concord, VA 24538
(434) 841-1589

Get directions to Rockcliffe Farm Retreat Here

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5.  Come stay with us!  Income produced by guests staying at our Lodge is the “gas in the tank” that keeps this Retreat going.

ql Rockcliffe Farm Retreat & Lodge
  Our Mission:
To provide a setting in which children can spend time outside and learn about the quiet joys of being in the woods, in which artists of all descriptions can come to be inspired, to provide recreational access to the James River, and to protect forest land for the world.
There is much being said these days about how children are suffering from lack of “outdoors time”, and how they no longer know how to play outside, even how to just BE outside. We want to participate in reversing this trend.
We’ve both found great inspiration from being in the woods, and feel it can be an inspiration to painters, writers, poets, and photographers.
There is a limit to the amount of river frontage available along any river. We’re very grateful for the frontage we have and want to share it with you!
And finally, forests are important to the world for a multitude of reasons. If they’re not preserved and taken care of, they cease to provide those benefits.

Here’s how we came to feel passionate about what we’re doing here:

We’re both from quiet areas, in which we used to play outside all the time. Joan grew up in a quiet suburb of Chicago, climbing trees and reading books in them, and often exploring the small swamp area across the cinder road from her house which has now been developed.  Hugh was always out exploring near his home or camping in the mountains and deserts of Southern California. 

The neighborhoods around both their original homes are now very developed and urbanized.  The cinder road has been paved, all of Hugh’s fields and hills have houses on them. 

Joan and Hugh have put the Retreat into a permanent Forestry Conservation Easement, which means it is to remain no more developed than it is the day you visit it.   You may come back to it in 50 years and it should look pretty much the same, except for changes caused by weather and regular building maintenance.

In choosing to stay at Rockcliffe Farm Retreat, you are helping protect woods, water, and wildlife forever. 

Each guest here plays a part in the forestry preservation, which in turn leads to cleaner water in the James River and ultimately in the Chesapeake Bay, a more sustainable ecosystem for plants and animals, and cleaner air for everyone.  

Among the ways we try to be a “green setting” are the following:

We encourage recycling by our guests
We provide refillable containers of hand washing soap in all bathrooms, and at all sinks
We offer cloth towels as an alternative to paper towels in all bathrooms
When we replace appliances, they are all energy efficient
We have replaced all incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent or led lights
We refill the dishwashing soap containers in the kitchen
Cleaning products are limited to vinegar, baking soda, and Dawn, as much as possible
We reuse and recycle sponges, and all cleaning cloths and materials, including “Swiffer” products.
Clothes washing detergent is homemade and based on baking soda and Borax, vinegar as a softening and rinse aid.
We encourage guests to use refillable water bottles.
Outdoor lights are on timers to save electricity
When possible, mulching with wood ground from trees on the property.
We use “natural products” (we have horses) to fertilize lawns and flower beds as much as possible. 
We use vinegar to kill weeds.  Round-up does NOT disappear as it is claimed to do. 
Even during large events, we encourage recycling and sustainability.
We actively work to minimize potential sources of erosion into our streams and the James River, which helps lessen sediment in the James River (and ultimately in the Chesapeake Bay). 


About Us

The roots of Rockcliffe Farm Retreat are in the mountains and deserts of San Diego, California, and in an old farmhouse in Winnetka, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

The owners, (Mr. and Mrs.) Hugh Radcliffe and Joan Rockwell, grew up living outside as much as possible. As kids, we had similar interests, though thousands of miles apart. Hugh, in the idyllic southern Cal climate, mostly enjoyed doing everything outside, camping, hiking, and hunting whenever he wasn't in school, and fishing in the Pacific Ocean in a rowboat he still has. That area (Spring Valley), is now totally built up and paved over. Joan played in a wetlands which is now the site of a multimillion dollar mcmansion, read

books while sitting in trees, and did as much boating as possible both as a kid and an adult. We both moved several times and always watched as trees, fields, farms, and views gave way to sprawl and/or congestion, and concrete.

We met in 1994, when we found ourselves both in Appomattox, Virginia. Joan had acquired 100 acres on the James River which she hoped to make available to inner city children for hiking and enjoying nature, and to artists who might be inspired by the beautiful setting. Hugh loved the idea of this. How to achieve it, though?

After we got married, we built a house on the 100 acres, and were unexpectedly and gradually able to purchase adjacent properties, thinking thereby to keep even more forest undeveloped.

In 2003, property came up for auction on our road which had a family house on it and was adjacent to our property, though 1/2 mile down the road. This house had a kitchen large enough for a group, we thought. Other bidders stood back on auction day, and we were able to purchase the house. We applied for a conditional use permit, then spent one and a half years remodeling the house so that it could accommodate guests who would enjoy the "retreat" we hoped to achieve.

Our mission is to preserve this property from development, retain as much contiguous forest as possible and provide a location for everyone to enjoy the quiet joys that can only be experienced by being in the woods. Read more about our recent forestry conservation easement here.

In January 2010 we became an official conservation easement for perpetuity registered with the Virginia Department of Forestry.

We have had an amazing assortment of wonderful guests and hope that you will soon come for a visit, too.


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Rockcliffe Farm Retreat is a certified tree farm and member of the forest stewardship program.