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A Little Soulful History of GraceStone Sanctuary

The history of GraceStone Sanctuary is as unique as the home itself. Built as a hunting lodge in the early 1920s by Vice Admiral Henry Varnum Butler and his wife, Anna (Kilshaw) Butler, the European Manor-Cape Cod style house was called Greystone Lodge. The garage was added a few years later. Both are constructed from stone local to the site. In 1943 it was purchased by Howard and Julia Straffin. A few years later it became known as “A Distinctive Mountain Resort in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.” After the death of Howard, Julia retained the home as a Boarding House for many years. The home was then passed down to her nephew, James and his wife Rita who lived in the home from 1985 until 2010. Their son, James, then inherited the house and sold it to Max and Trish Hernandez in May of 2014. The new name, GraceStone Sanctuary, is a derivation of the original name of the hunting lodge.


There was no plumbing nor electricity in the home until the early 1960s when the first renovations were done. The next renovation included enclosing the front and back porches and adding an upstairs bathroom. The most recent renovations completed in 2014 included re-plumbing and renovating all the bathrooms and installing new HVAC and water treatment systems.

During the recent renovations, Max and Trish attempted to restore some of the "soul" of the 1920s home, installing antique light fixtures and other elements from the era. The original wood floors and hand hewn beams create a depth of the historic value of the house, as do the two fireplaces flanking each end of the Community Room. 

GraceStone Sanctuary during its "Greystone Lodge" days, circa 1945.  

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