About Us

Our Story

Debbie and Dan Spear purchased the property now known as Stevenson Ridge in 2001. They have spent the last 20 years re-homing antique structures to the property, restoring them, and transforming them into guest cabins and cottages. Such buildings include a post office, tobacco hanging barn, and a house once lived in by family of President George Washington. Most of the structures pre-date the Civil War—the oldest dating back to 1732.  The Spears have focused on retaining each building’s original character while incorporating the modern conveniences that guests expect.
In 2008, the Spears’ daughter, Jennifer Mackowski, returned from San Diego to coordinate the start-up of the business and the integration of special events. Stevenson Ridge saw its first guests in December 2009 and first wedding in April 2010. By 2011, Dan completed work on the Lodge, which became Stevenson Ridge’s primary event facility. Built around the post-and-beam framework of an old chapel, the Lodge combines Dan’s love of antique structures with the modern amenities to accommodate hundreds of guests. Stevenson Ridge began offering catering services in 2013 and has since expanded into off-site catering at other local venues.  
Today, Stevenson Ridges consists of eleven lodging cabins, enhanced by a thriving event and catering business, nestled on 90 beautiful acres of the historic Spotsylvania Court House Battlefield.

Meet the Team


Debbie & Dan Spear

Owners and Property Developer

Residential home builders by trade, Dan and Debbie Spear have built Stevenson Ridge as their own dream-in-progress—a relaxing oasis that combines their love of restoration with their appreciation for history. Debbie is also an avid cook, and Dan loves classic Porsches. They live on the property with their large family of dogs and cats.


Jennifer Mackowski

Managing Partner

Jennifer Mackowski has a passion for event planning and hospitality. As a native of Fredericksburg, she also serves her community through volunteering with several local non-profit organizations. Jennifer and her husband have one son. In her free time, she enjoys good food and wine, and tossing a ball with her chocolate lab, Coco.


Shane Sheaffer

Executive Chef

Shane Sheaffer brings decades of experience with him including owning his own catering business and restaurant. He loves experimenting with new ingredients and food combinations, focusing on creating comfort dishes. With three grown children, he now spends his free time with his wife and his two adorable beagles, Stevie and Nora.


Kirsten Hawkins

Inn Coordinator

Kirsten has been with Stevenson Ridge since 2020. She grew up in Charlotte, NC, and moved to Fredericksburg to attend Mary Washington College in 1987. She loves taking care of “all things lodging” here on the property and ensuring our guests enjoy their stays. When she is not at work she can be found reading and spending time with her family and her crazy cat, Maverick.


Taylor Buel

Event Coordinator

Taylor Buel is a seasoned professional with 13 years experience in the events industry. With a passion for weddings and special events, she has expertise in full-service wedding planning, design, and event management. Beyond her professional endeavors, Taylor values family time and actively participates in her daughter’s extracurricular activities. Outside of work and family commitments, she showcases her musical talent as a singer in a local cover band.


Laura Herndon

Office Assistant

Laura joined the team in 2018 following her daughter’s wedding at Stevenson Ridge. When she is not chatting with our clients and keeping the office organized, she enjoys spending quality time with her family including her husband, three daughters, and grandson.


Chris Mackowski


Chris Mackowski, PhD, is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Emerging Civil War. He is the author, co-author, or editor of more than twenty-five books, and is series editor of the Emerging Civil War Series. Chris is a professor of journalism and mass communication at St. Bonaventure University in Allegany, New York.


Melida Rodriguez


Melida has worked at Stevenson Ridge since 2020 and says she loves the environment and working with the nicest people! In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and going to the gym.


Luz Villatoro


Luz has worked in our housekeeping department since 2013, with a 3-year hiatus to be home with her youngest child. She spends her free time with her family and dog, and enjoys walks and going to the beach.



Andie Peters


Andie came to work at Stevenson Ridge in 2021.  She is an aspiring theatrical makeup artist and CGI Designer. She volunteers with 10 – 18 year old students at her church’s youth group.


Frank Goodwin

A little bit of everything…

Frankie celebrated 10 years at Stevenson Ridge in 2023. You’ll find him setting up for events, delivering firewood, washing dishes, and providing weather updates.  Having grown up in Spotsylvania, Frank loves chatting with guests about the history of Stevenson Ridge.