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This 191-acre estate is on the market for $5.9 million

HOUSE OF THE WEEK | The three-bedroom, three-bathroom Georgian-style house is more than 180 years old

Trees line the driveway to the main house. (Jay Lee)

When, in the late 1970s, Tierney O’Brien Dovan first saw what was then her parents’ new house, she thought it was “a mess.” The circa-1840 Georgian-style manor house, in the Blue Ridge foothills, had been neglected for about 30 years.

“It’s a beautiful property, but when they bought it, oh boy,” O’Brien Dovan said. “I was like, ‘What are you thinking?’”

But Paul Wolk and Sheila O’Brien Wolk had plans for the 191-acre property. They retired to the Fauquier County, Va., estate primarily for its proximity to the Old Dominion Hounds, a prominent fox hunting group.

They established a broodmare farm on the property and raised horses for fox hunting. Later, they used the estate’s vast green space to raise sheep and Angora goats for the animals’ wool and mohair.

Instead of rebuilding at the site of the manor house, they restored much of the existing structure and added a great room. A pool and a barn with an apartment were constructed on the grounds, and a crumbling stable was renovated.

O’Brien Dovan, a nurse and midwife, built and relocated to the estate’s secondary residence in 1993 to care for aging parents — her mother and stepfather — and the farm. She brought her four children and her husband, who helped with landscape design and gardening. They later had another child and adopted three more.

“All of my children have the best memories here, especially outdoor living,” O’Brien Dovan said. “Being able to be outdoors, ride their bicycles in privacy and not get hit by a car, and have their friends over to climb trees, play in the creek, and wrestle sheep, … it was sort of cool.”

The property’s structures, most of which were recently refurbished, include a guesthouse, a horse barn, and a stone lodge and attached log cabin (the former is an office, and the latter used to be an office).

Though the two main residences are set apart, the family-compound layout of the estate has complicated efforts to sell it, according to real estate agent Laura Farrell. But she said the property’s zoning makes commercial use an attractive option, and she mentioned a number of possibilities, including a bed-and-breakfast, a wedding venue, a secluded country restaurant, a wellness retreat and an equine therapeutic establishment.

Wrapped around the estate is the Marriott Ranch, a 4,200-acre working cattle ranch established by the founder of Marriott International. The estate is also bordered by about a mile of Fiery Run, a stream that feeds the Rappahannock River.

The stucco-over-brick primary residence has heart pine floors and seven fireplaces, and it blends 19th-century architecture with modern flourishes, such as heated-tile bathroom floors and an elevator. The house has three levels. On the first, a portico shelters the doorway at the main entrance. Inside, a hallway connects the library, the bar, and the kitchen and breakfast space. The great room, facing east, overlooks the backyard pool area.

The second level has two bedrooms and a bathroom, and the third level, just a few steps up from the second, is occupied by the primary bedroom suite. The en suite bathroom has a whirlpool bath, and the suite has a small kitchenette and window seats where O’Brien Dovan said her parents had coffee in the mornings. The parents lived in the main residence until they died, her stepfather in 2008 and her mother during the pandemic.

In the back of the house, a porch and a patio lead to a koi pond with waterfalls and to a courtyard with a three-car garage. Across the courtyard, the log cabin has a bathroom and a summer kitchen. The backyard also has the heated pool and a hot tub with a waterfall that flows into the pool.

The secondary home, rebuilt from the studs up in 2020, has five bedrooms. O’Brien Dovan added a two-car garage, a mudroom, a second kitchen, a gym and a bar.

A tree-lined driveway connects the property to the public road. The estate also has hiking trails, a 60-year-old poplar grove, a trout-filled pond, 30 acres of horse pasture, and a 10,000-square-foot equipment building with two floors and a five-door garage.


4868 The Dell Lane, Hume, Va.

  • Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3/3 (main house)
  • Approximate square-footage: 5,000 (main house)
  • Lot size: 191 acres
  • Features: This circa-1840 manor house features hiking trails, creeks and a koi pond. Structures on the property, a former broodmare farm, include a secondary residence and a guesthouse. The estate’s zoning allows commercial use, and a real estate agent suggested that a buyer might, for instance, operate a wellness retreat or a wedding venue there.
  • Listing agent: Laura Farrell, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.