Historic Garden Week in Virginia
During the 80th Historic Garden Week in Virginia, April 20-27, visitors will step through the gates of more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes and historic landmarks. Nearly 40 Garden Week tours will present a rich mosaic of some of the state’s finest properties at the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, as well as beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 flower arrangements created by Garden Club of Virginia members.
Sponsored by The Garden Club of Virginia, local events are scheduled from the Atlantic Ocean to the Allegheny Mountains and will span the centuries from the early 17th through the early 21st. In the Middle Peninsula, tours are planned in King and Queen County (April 26) and Mathews County (April 27). On the Northern Neck, a tour is planned in Northumberland County (April 24). The tours present an opportunity for visitors to enjoy some of the most elegant historic sites and breathtaking gardens the area has to offer.
In a special addition to the day, the sailing ship Godspeed will be docked and open for tours at Williams Wharf on Route 614 in Mathews, where lunch also will be available for purchase. Godspeed is a recreation of one of the three ships that brought the first English colonists to Virginia in 1607, and comes to the East River in Mathews by arrangement of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and the Mathews Land Conservancy.
And, as always, a variety of public historic sites in both Mathews and also in Gloucester County will welcome visitors with special hours on April 27.
The tour, titled the “Timeless Treasures of Mathews”, features a house from each of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and a garden from the 20th. Magnolia, on the East River, dates from the late 1600s; Springdale, on Put-In Creek, from 1735; Buckley Hall, in Mathews Court House, from the 1850s; and the gardens at Samarkand, on Woodas Creek, have been created over the last 15 years on the site of early 20th century gardens.
These houses, as well as the gardens, offer unique windows in to local history, from Colonial times until the present.
- Magnolia (1 Magnolia Road) with several aspects of its structure dating to before 1700, presents the earliest architectural details on the tour, including original “six over nine” windows and some original flooring. Recent additions include a “hyphen” connecting the main house with an old schoolroom, and a river room taking in the 1,100-foot frontage on the East River. Visitors will enjoy the llamas, horses, ducks, dogs, and cats that enliven Magnolia’s grounds.
- Springdale (1108 New Point Comfort Hwy.), circa 1735, is now in the process of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has extensive early construction which may still be seen. Set on the banks of Put-In Creek, Springdale was built for Richard Billups, a captain in the American Revolution. Most of the original construction remains, including woodwork and window glass, heart-pine floors, a massive double-brick chimney in Flemish bond, and period hinges and locks, including one that bears the British Royal Coat-of-Arms. Springdale is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Art Miller, who have retired to a new house on the property and have given over the main house to their daughter and her husband, Mr. and Mrs. Brady Gillenwater.
- Buckley Hall (11293 Buckley Hall Road) was built in the 1850s as part of a larger estate, originally “Buckleigh Farm,” an extensive plantation. The center-hall frame house in its lovely garden setting now retains lawn and woods of four acres, and features a rose garden. Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Lewis, owners, opened the house as a bed-and-breakfast in 2000 and visitors will enjoy seeing the kitchen’s large, wood-burning stove used for cooking and heating.
- Samarkand Gardens (341 Samarkand Lane) are located at a house of the same name built in 1927 as a summer cottage by Edwin Treakle (“The Clam King”). Now, extensive and delightful gardens grace this 20th-century home on the banks of Woodas Creek, making a landscape rich in a variety of trees, flowerbeds and outdoor rooms. Owners Mr. and Mrs. Tony Hannold have created the garden through steady work over the last 15 years.
Advance tickets are $25 and available at Gloucester Visitor’s Center, Smith’s Florist, Mathews Visitor’s Center and Brent & Becky’s Bulbs or by sending a check to: Marianne Bowles, P.O. Box 2363, Gloucester, VA 23061. Bowles can be emailed at .
Lunch at Williams Wharf Landing will be available by advance reservation. Call (804) 725-9685.
Tickets on the day of the tour are $30 for the full tour and $15 for one house. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $12, and children under age 5 are admitted free.
Tickets and maps are available at all homes and gardens on the tour, and at the tour headquarters—Edge Hill House on the corner of Main Street and Route 14 in Gloucester.
In addition to the tour sites, tour tickets also get visitors free admission to the following historic sites: Edge Hill House; Kingston Parish Episcopal Church, Route 614, Mathews; Zion Poplars Church, 7000 T.C. Walker Rd., Gloucester; and Rosewell Ruins, 5118 Old Rosewell Road, Gloucester.
Visit http://www.vagardenweek.org/tours for more information.
From earliest times, Native Americans were drawn to what would become Northumberland County because of its hospitable natural surroundings, said publicity chairman Carter Blackford Filer. Today, Northumberland is still considered the least known, least explored, and least developed county in the Northern Neck.
In that sense, its abundant natural beauty and quiet way of life are hidden gems just waiting to surprise and delight, she said. Perhaps that’s why people who can choose to live anywhere they please now make up the majority of its 21st-century settlers.
Featured properties showcase the renovations of historic properties as well as stunning modern designs taking full advantage of water views. Properties span the timeframe from 1832 to 2005.
All properties on the tour are opened for Historic Garden Week for the first time.
- Eagle Point Farm, an updated 1920s Foursquare with infinity pool and sweeping views of the Great Wicomico. The property, at 1067 Eagle Point Road, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. John Mullenholz.
- Historic Edgehill is a meticulously restored pre-Civil War home relocated to an imposing bluff overlooking the river. The property, at 120 River Hill Road, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Mick Wiggins.
- Athena House is a chateau-style home designed to display fascinating collections of antiques and objects d’art. The property, at 474 Edge Hill Farm Road, is owned by Dr. A. Jacox and Dr. C. Spengler. Athena Winery also will be open on tour day.
- Van transportation will be available to Athena House and Edgehill from the Information Center, Wicomico Parish Church at 5191 Jessie Ball DuPont Memorial Highway in Wicomico Church.
- Cockrell House boasts river views from every room. The property, at 583 Wicomico Drive, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. T. Randolph Cockrell Jr.
- Sunset On the Wicomico is an artfully executed family compound designed by an award-winning West Coast architect. The property, at 2046 Whay’s Creek Road, is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Carter Fox. Complimentary refreshments will be served here.
Tickets may be purchased in advance by mail for $25 per person until April 17. Children ages 6 to 12 are half price. Send checks payable to Garden Club of the Northern Neck with a stamped, self-addressed envelope to Jane Kimball, P.O. Box 215, Reedville, VA 22539. For internet tickets, visit VAGardenweek.org.
Tickets may be purchased on tour day for $30, or $15 single-site admission, at any of the houses on the tour and at the information center. An adult must accompany children under age 17. Contact Kimball at 453-6517, or .
Tickets also may be purchased until April 22 at Wildest Dreams in Burgess, The Dandelion in Irvington, Material Girl near Burgess, Essex Bank in Callao, and Bank of Lancaster in Kilmarnock and Heathsville.
Box lunches are $12 each and must be reserved by April 12. Make checks payable to Wicomico Parish Church and mail to Wicomico Parish Church, Attn. Joy Young, P.O. Box 70, Wicomico Church, VA 22579.
Reserved box lunches may be picked up at the church from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Limited eat-in seating is available. Contact parish secretary Joy Young at 580-8042, or .
For more information contact tour chairmen Faith Kauders at , or Marguerite Slaughter at .