Magnolia, 1 Magnolia Lane, Mathews, 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 eleven-hundred-foot frontage on the East River. The visitor will enjoy the llamas, horses, ducks, dogs, and cats which enliven Magnolia’s grounds.
Springdale, 1108 New Point Comfort Highway, Mathews, circa 1735, and now in the process of being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, 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, Mathews, 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 the visitor will enjoy seeing the kitchen’s large, wood-burning stove used for cooking and heating.
Samarkand Gardens, 341 Samarkand Lane, Mathews, 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 fifteen years.
In Gloucester, a number of historic sites are open to the public and will welcome visitors on April 27. Edge Hill House, formerly known as Long Bridge Ordinary, is headquarters for the tour. This 18th century brick and wood former home, now site of the Gloucester Women’s Club, retains charming aspects of its earlier history. Zion Poplars Baptist Church, established in 1886, is one of the oldest independent African-American congregations in Gloucester County. Oral tradition holds that the founders first met for religious services under seven poplar trees, four of which still stand on the church grounds. Listed on the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places, the church building is an excellent example of 19th-century gothic revival style with vernacular detailing. Rosewell, once the greatest plantation on the Middle Peninsula, was begun in 1725 by Mann Page I and was the birthplace of Virginia Governor John Page. With its beautiful brickwork and design, Rosewell was an architectural inspiration to Thomas Jefferson, who often visited. Though the house was ravaged by fire in 1916, the ruins stand today as an outstanding example of 18th century craftsmanship. Tucked near a rural intersection further “up county”, Walter Reed’s Birthplace, commemorates Dr. Walter Reed, who discovered the cure for yellow fever, and who was born in this small house. His family lived here during their first year in Gloucester; the delightfully furnished house reflects the life of the Reed family and their five children. Finally, Gloucester’s unique resource in the form of the world-renowned “Brent and Becky’s Bulbs” is again offering tours of their “Chesapeake Bay Friendly Teaching Garden”. This eighteen acre site, formerly a cornfield, is now the home of an eight acre public garden. (7900 Daffodil Lane, Gloucester. (804) 693-3966; www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com)
The Garden Club of Virginia initiated “Historic Garden Week” in 1929. The 2013 tour marks eighty years of homeowners generously opening their homes and gardens to visitors, with proceeds of the tickets going to support restoration and preservation of gardens in the Commonwealth. The largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia, Historic Garden Week has been called “America’s Largest Open House”. This year, approximately two-hundred private homes and gardens on thirty-two separate tours will be open throughout the eight-day tour in the state.
Williams Wharf Landing, 1039 Williams Wharf Road (Rt. 614), Mathews. (804) 725-9685; www.mathewslandconservancy.com. The Mathews Land Conservancy will offer $15 box lunches by reservation at the landing. Contact (804) 725-9685 or email@example.com to reserve. The recreation of the 1607 Godspeed, on loan from the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, will be docked at the Wharf and open for tours both Saturday and Sunday, as will an exhibition in the community building highlighting the importance of Williams Wharf in Virginia’s Maritime History. Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY “Great Wicomico River Vistas”
The Garden Club of Virginia and the Garden Club of the Northern Neck will host the annual house and garden tour on Wednesday, April 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entitled “Great Wicomico River Vistas,” it features five Northumberland County homes overlooking the sparkling blue waters of the Great Wicomico River, a picturesque tidal tributary cutting a 15-mile swath inland from the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay.
The tour brings visitors to the proverbial “land of pleasant living.” From earliest times, Native Americans were drawn to what would become Northumberland County because of its hospitable natural surroundings. There was accessibility to marshlands and open water for food, communication, and transport; freshwater springs for drinking; coastal forests for hunting; and broad neck lands with good soil and sufficient elevation to offer protective long views.
Later arriving residents from 17th century colonists to 20th century weekenders came for many of the same reasons—and rarely ever left. Still, Northumberland remained largely isolated from the rest of the state. The bridge built across the Rappahannock at Tappahannock in 1926 changed all that and brought slow growth. Today, Northumberland is still considered the least known, least explored, and least developed county of the four that make up the Northern Neck. In that sense, its abundant natural beauty and quiet way of life are hidden gems just waiting to surprise and delight. Perhaps that’s why people who can choose to live anywhere they please now make up the majority of its 21st century settlers. All properties on tour are open for Historic Garden Week for the first time and include the following:
Athena House, 474 Edge Hill Farm Rd., Heathsville, VA 22473, This open design, Chateau style home is reached by driving through vineyards stretching in neat rows alongside a long lane leading to its gates. Begun in 2004 and “still not finished,” the house and vineyards are the culmination of the vision of its owners, two emeritus professors who traveled the globe before settling into the Northern Neck. They began looking for property in the mid-Atlantic region, focusing a full year of their search along the James River. Then they stumbled onto the Great Wicomico River and this property, which they bought thirty minutes after setting foot on it. Breathtaking river views, deep woods, and the delightful surrounding communities quickly won their hearts. Today they live with views of the Great Wicomico on three sides and can display their eclectic collections of antiques and global objects d’art throughout a home designed for that exact purpose. Dr. Ada Jacox and Dr. Carol Spengler, owners. Also of interest, Athena Vineyards and Winery LLC, 3138 Jesse Ball DuPont Memorial Hwy (Rte. 200), Heathsville, VA 22473. Both the Vineyards and the Winery will be open on Tour day. Athena is the first commercial winery established in Northumberland County. Its vines were first planted in 2002, and there have been subsequent plantings—and good harvests—every year since.
The Cockrell Home, 583 Wicomico Dr., Heathsville, VA 22473, Perched on a panoramic point overlooking the Great Wicomico River and Tipers Creek, this Southern-style home was completed in 2005 and offers commanding water views from all its rooms and its widow’s walk. The design is open and gracious, with wide-plank pine floors that add to its sense of warmth and comfort. Many of the furnishings are family heirlooms, and these are complemented by significant artworks. Boats are the family’s lifeblood. One of the owners is a third generation principal of legendary Northern Neck custom builder Tiffany Yachts, and his venerable heritage and appreciation for exceptional craftsmanship are evident throughout the home’s decor. He designed and built the handsome teak bar and mahogany sink shaped like a ship’s wheel that anchor the family room. Just outside the window, a vintage Tiffany Yacht built in the 1960s by his father stands waiting at the dock. Mr. and Mrs. T. Randolph Cockrell, owners.
Eagle Point Farm, 1067 Eagle Point Rd., Heathsville, VA 22473, The Eagle Point Farm house was built in the American Foursquare style on a striking point of land sometime in the 1920s. It had a wood stove but no indoor plumbing or electricity, as was customary in the area at that time. The original owner, a waterman, operated his business from the property’s wharf and frequently offered the point’s shallow waters for church baptisms. In the 1950s, two wings were added to expand the original footprint. After purchasing the property in 1998, the current owners redesigned and remodeled the house, meticulously retaining the charm of the old farmhouse while simultaneously adding numerous windows and double doors to capture light and provide all-encompassing water views from every room. The pleasing new guest cottage now helps to accommodate a growing grandchild population. Adjoining the house is a beautiful infinity pool, which blends seamlessly into shimmering views of
the Great Wicomico on two sides. Mr. and Mrs. John Mullenholz, owners.
Edgehill, 120 River Hill Rd., Heathsville, VA 22473, Stately Federal style architecture is the first clue to Edgehill’s circa 1832 origins. It was built as the centerpiece of Edge Hill Farm Plantation, owned by W. H. Harding and encompassing over 6,000 acres of what had long been a smaller Harding family property. The home is clad with wooden siding. Windows on all levels are six-over-six flanked by wooden shutters, except at the English basement. Its provenance beyond the Harding family extends to that of Jesse Ball duPont, whose sister, Elsie Ball (Wright) Bowley once owned the home. The home stayed in the Wright family until 2001, when it was moved 350 feet towards its magnificent overlook above the Great Wicomico and carefully renovated. While the English basement now necessarily dates from that move, all floors and mantels above it are original to the house. The kitchen has a floor made of original foundation bricks. Current owners are a young family who bought the home in 2008, when they relocated from Sydney, Australia. Their adventurous exploits around the globe are the stuff of dreams and are now highlighted throughout the home’s interior. The net effect is a harmonious blend of superb architectural elements with old and new art, textiles, photos, and furniture. A lovely outdoor garden, once the Harding family cemetery, is tucked to one side of the property and intended as a private retreat for contemplation and reflection. Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. Wiggins, owners.
Sunset on the Wicomico, 2046 Whay’s Creek Rd., Burgess, VA 22432, This artful, rambling residence is
located on what was once an old wood yard used forstaging pulpwood for transport by barges to the paper mill at West Point, VA. For many years, the owners vacationed with their family in cottages on the property. Then in 1997 they built the main house on the knoll under the large willow oak. Nearby there is a tidal pond, and the river is to the west. Because the owners had worked in a wood-based business, they commissioned award-winning West Coast architect Alec Seidel, known for designing in wood, to undertake the project. The resulting structure resembles a local farmhouse from the exterior, while its interior is expansive, modern, and the perfect setting for the owners’ extensive collections of contemporary art and art furniture. Landscaping is natural, following relaxed lines to the river flowing past, with two peaceful moon gardens on the way to the tidal pond and a bank of Meidiland roses near the house to lead the eye towards the glow of evening sunsets. Mr. and Mrs. J. Carter Fox, owners.
Complimentary refreshments will be served here from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
LOWER KING & QUEEN COUNTY: “A Countryside Tour through the Centuries”
On Friday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the Garden Club of the Middle Peninsula will offer a tour of five homes, all open for the first time during Historic Garden Week. In addition, three historic churches and one museum will be open for visitors.
Traveling the winding roads of the lower King and Queen area through a richly forested landscape interspersed with
rivers and streams, this house and garden tour draws visitors off the beaten path to a county that has a deep and rich legacy of harmony with its natural resources. Follow life through the centuries as it was and as it is, from the oldest site of settlement in the county to the new. Steeped in history, the architecture and design of these homes is a testament to the strong core of early Virginia families who settled here and the simplicity of a place where nature welcomes you.
To celebrate the Garden Club of Virginia’s 80th Anniversary of Historic Garden Week, eight period floral arrangements will be on special display throughout the tour.
Trevillian Home, 360 Simpson Creek Rd. Facing the York River and situated near the site of historic Dudley Ferry, this home commands a grand view of both the river and the town of West Point beyond. Standing upon the site of the original Sutton cottage, the present house started as a quaint A-frame built in the 1990s. Unable to move it, the present owners, in 2003, designed a 7,000 square foot home incorporating it.
The house now boasts an entire bank of windows with a contemporary riverside façade that gives five of the seven bedrooms an impressive river view. In her years as an award-winning decorator in Williamsburg, the owner collected furniture that she loved and, with her eye for design, created a home filled with colorful fabrics, imaginative accessories, and comfortable sitting areas for family gatherings or entertaining.
The same care went into the design of the outdoor space which includes a gazebo and a pavilion with kitchen and bath for outdoor entertaining. Annuals, perennials, bird baths, and statuary dot the yard with color and whimsy. The home, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Barton P. Trevillian, is open for the first time for Historic Garden Week.
Complimentary refreshments will be served here from 2-4 p.m.
Belle Vue, 1087 Bellevue Lane, Plain View Beautifully situated overlooking the mouth of Hockley Creek and the north shore of the York River, Belle Vue has its foundations on one of the earliest settlements in King and Queen. This was the site of one of the large villages of the Chiskiak Indian tribe before they were conquered by the Powhatan Indians.
English settlements began in the area in the1600s and this property passed through a number of hands until John Major acquired it after his father’s death. It is thought that he built the house around the early 1700s.
The house sits on a ballast rock foundation and has twin end chimneys. A gambrel roof with five dormers resembles the historic Moore house in Yorktown. The addition of two porches and a post-Civil War era kitchen were the only changes to the house until a major restoration was completed in 1984. This restoration came none too soon, saving the house from collapse. The interior of the original four over four house has wide central hallways and retains original mantles, wainscoting, and floors. The home is open for the first time for garden week by Suzanne Woodward, Betsy Guy, and Charles Wagoner who are descendants of Beverley Anderson who purchased the property in 1835.
Shackelfords Chapel United Methodist Church, 3727 Buena Vista Rd., Cologne An active Methodist congregation of the Gloucester Circuit in 1788, Shackelfords Chapel’s first building was a wooden structure located across Rt. 14 from the present church. Under the supervision of the building committee, Beverly Anderson, Richard Shackelford, Roderick Bland, and Curtis Roane, the sanctuary, in use today, was completed in 1857 and built of brick made at a nearby kiln. The pump organ and other furniture of that era remain in the church. The educational building and connecting arcade were added in 1957. After a fire set by arsonists destroyed much of the educational building and the back entrance to the sanctuary in 1981, repairs were made. More recently, an addition extended the educational building.
Francis Asbury, “the Horseback Bishop of America,” Returns
On November 14, 1797, Francis Asbury, a circuit rider who became Bishop, held a three hour meeting at Shackelfords. He recorded in his journal: “We had a large and solemn congregation. Preached on 1 Corinthians 2:12.” On the day of the tour, experience a portrayal of Francis Asbury as he and the current historian of the church offer a commentary on the history of the church as well as the Bishop’s role. Commentary ongoing throughout the day.
Homeview at Cologne, 527 Stratton Major Rd., Plain View
An active Methodist congregation of the Gloucester Circuit in 1788, Shackelfords Chapel’s first building was a wooden structure located across Rt. 14 from the present church. Under the supervision of the building committee, Beverly Anderson, Richard Shackelford, Roderick Bland, and Curtis Roane, the sanctuary, in use today, was completed in 1857 and built of brick made at a nearby kiln. The pump organ and other furniture of that era remain in the church. The educational building and connecting arcade were added in 1957. After a fire set by arsonists destroyed much of the educational building and the back entrance to the sanctuary in 1981, repairs were made. More recently, an addition extended the educational building.
Kempsville, 3314 Lewis B Puller Mem. Hwy, Saluda
This colonial manor home takes its name from the Kemp family. Also, for many years the home of the Broaddus family, it was built in the mid-18th century or earlier. Located near the Dragon Swamp, it was sometimes mistakenly referred to as Dragon Ordinary, a building that actually stood a mile from the home. Kempsville is nestled among 200 acres of pastureland surrounded by white fences. A fine example of colonial vernacular architecture, the house has sophisticated exterior detailing, Flemish bond brick walls, and chimneys with T-shaped stacks.
Inside there is a Georgian stair and paneled chimney wall. Amazingly, a fragment of 18th century wallpaper still survives inside the rotunda of a built in glass cabinet in the library. All of the woodwork, original to the home, is indicative of the craftsmanship of its builders. An updated, mid-1800s kitchen wing and a 1950 “A” room addition, named for the ceiling pitch which left the original roof exposed, add comfort and charm. The elegant rooms are decorated with antiques from England, France, and Scotland, and include a tall corner cupboard from Portsmouth, VA.
The owners landscape and maintain the beautiful grounds with trees, perennials, bulbs and old boxwoods. A Virginia
and National Historic Landmark, the home is open for the first time by Cecil and Cyndy Moore.