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Home Travel Snow Hill’s Chanceford Hall is a B&B steeped in history

Snow Hill’s Chanceford Hall is a B&B steeped in history

by Staff


Three years ago, Shae Von Marsh and her husband Mat purchased Chanceford Hall at 209 W Federal Street in Snow Hill, Maryland.

They were looking for a new start, a new place to live while the pandemic continued to keep everyone indoors.

“We didn’t really have a specific area that we were interested in moving to,” Von Marsh said.

There were lines that they didn’t want to cross when it came to finding a place to live. Not too far north because of the cold. Not too far inland since they are beach people.

‘’Because we’re Floridians. We just had this kind of box area where we didn’t want to leave,” Von Marsh said.

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Photos of Chanceford Hall lead to an instant attraction

The family looked at Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. What was most important was to feel something for the area they would eventually call home.

“One day this house popped up and it had been on the market for five years, empty for three years,” Von Marsh said.

They fell in love with Chanceford Hall through the photos they’d seen. They had never been to Maryland before or seen the house in person.

“We told them we would take it immediately and then we came up for the inspection,” she said.

That was the first time they went inside the house. Von Marsh said being stuck inside for so long thanks to COVID makes you do crazy things.

“But we’re very happy that we’re here,” she said.

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Bed and breakfast offers opportunity to meet all kinds of people

With the purchase, they became the 17th owners of Chanceford Hall. Another perk that came with the house is that it is a bed and breakfast.

They love the small town of Snow Hill and feel like they are making a difference in the community.

Running the bed and breakfast also affords them the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.

“It feels like Orlando because we still get to meet a bunch of different people,” Von Marsh said.

Since they’ve opened Chanceford Hall as a bed and breakfast, they have been full every season they’re open.

Von Marsh said she wasn’t much of a cook before, but every morning she wakes to make her popular multi-course breakfasts for her guests who stay at Chanceford Hall.

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Rehabbing property that had stood vacant presented challenge

Each of the four beautifully decorated rooms has a name. Conway and Cliveden sleep three people each, while Chadwick sleeps four and the Chanceford room sleeps two.

It’s not just a bed and breakfast, with the Von Marsh’s making Chanceford Hall available for weddings, events and afternoon tea parties by reservation.

But getting to that point was a challenge. Since the house sat empty for a few years, there was a list of repairs that needed to be done. Mold, wood damage and rot was found on the property.

There were a lot of things that had to be done, and a lot that had to be furnished.

Almost everything in the house was purchased by Von Marsh. From the rugs, couches, chairs, tables, beds and the artwork on the walls.

“But within four months we were up and running. It was very fast. We were excited for it,” Von Marsh said.

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Snow Hill property is steeped in presidential history

Chanceford Hall is a historic mansion completed around 1792-1793. The architectural style is a blend of Federal and Georgian features.

Furnishing the house was the fun part for Von Marsh. She searched for treasures at thrift shops and online auctions, working to find pieces that fit the style and age of the home.

“I’m a big history person and I love presidential history,” she said.

You can see that when walking into the parlor next to the dining room. Its style takes inspiration from Dwight Eisenhower’s Green Room.

Another fun find about the green inspired room is etched into one of the windows.

Hugh Sanders Stevenson purchased the home in 1874, and one of his daughters married in the house.

“But she took a lot of flak from one of her sisters saying her wedding ring wasn’t real,” Von Marsh said.

The sisters had her carve her name into the window to prove it was a real diamond. You can see those signatures of N&S, Alice Stevenson and Ida etched in cursive.

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Learning about Chanceford Hall’s previous owners is an adventure

The sister getting married wasn’t the only one to prove her ring was real.

Von Marsh heard this story from descendants of the Stevenson family who came to look for those signatures. They wanted to know if that family story they heard growing up was really true.

“It was an amazing story. It’s been quite the adventure learning about each of the owners,” Von Marsh said.

The first of those owners and the one who established the home was James Rownd Morris, a clerk of Worcester County courts, and his wife, Leah. Leah Winder Morris was the sister of Levin Winder, the 14th governor of Maryland.

Morris purchased the six original lots, 89 – 95, for 100 pounds, according to the National Register of Historic Places.

“Unfortunately, he was only an owner for about three years before he passed,” she said.

After her husband’s death in 1795, Leah Morris sold the property to Col. Levin Handy, a Revolutionary War hero in The Battle of the Barges and former aide to George Washington.

In 1801, the property came under the ownership of Judge William Whittington, who called it Ingleside. Whittington passed the property to his children, Sally Tingle and her husband, Judge William Tingle, who passed the house down to his son, then who sold the house to Stevenson.

It wasn’t until John Warner Staton that the name Chanceford Hall was given to the property.

It wasn’t until 1986 that it first became a bed and breakfast.

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Big changes have come to Chanceford Hall through the years

Along with the many owners, changes have also come to the house itself. A hyphen was added, connecting the kitchen to the main house.

A solarium and a 30-foot brick lap pool installed in the 1970s were more additions to Chanceford Hall.

And of course, what historical house would be complete without ghosts?

“You know, a lot of people ask us about ghosts. We do have one little ghost girl,” Von Marsh said.

The girl who stays with the house apparently wasn’t very friendly when they first moved in, but Von Marsh thinks that she’s gotten comfortable with them.

She has free reign of the house, and as long she is acknowledged, she friendly, Von Marsh said.

They usually don’t tell guests about the little ghost girl when they check in.

“But we always have fun talking about the stories on check-out morning,” she said.

Chanceford Hall is a seasonal property filling and emptying with the ebbs and flows of the area.

“When Ocean City is alive, we are too,” she said.

Reservations can be made to stay at Chanceford on its website at You can also call 410-632-2900.

“Come and learn about the history. Come and see our cute small storybook town,” Von Marsh said.

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