Sunday, June 25, 2017  

2015 Historic Garden Week


Westmoreland County Wed. April 22, 2015
The Garden Club of the Northern Neck presents “Explore the Treasures of Kinsale” as part of the Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week. Kinsale, the oldest municipal entity in the Northern Neck, was created as a “town” by the House of Burgesses in 1706. Kinsale boasts a thriving marina, a bustling wharf, a museum, 
a restored ice cream parlor and a gazebo in The Green. This tour of five homes spans 230 years of Virginia history.

Steamboat Hill (365 Kinsale Bridge Road, Kinsale) Steamboat Hill was originally the home of Captain Arthur Parks. The 1910 structure is a two- story, three bay single pile “I” house erected above a full basement. In 1997, major renovations included a large room at the rear of the house, new bathrooms, a kitchen and a master bedroom. In 2011, the current owners built a structure which mirrors the house and a garage. The property is graced with crape myrtles and perennial gardens. Steamboat Hill is furnished with antiques. Some are important pieces from southeastern Pennsylvania and typical 
of early German settlers. Opening for 
the first time.

Courtney-Settle House (459 Kinsale Road, Kinsale) Built c. 1885 by Lewis W. Courtney, this house was owned in the early 1900s by Paul and Jennie Settle, who operated the Hardwick Hotel, then located across the street. The home is a typical 19th Century “T-shaped” two-story farmhouse of frame construction and retains many original elements. In the 1970s, structural and garden additions were completed. A carriage house in 1997, major structural and systems work and a family room in 2001 and an herb garden in 2009 are a few of the continuing updates. The home is complemented with period and reproduction furnishings and sentimental collectibles. Opening for the first time.

Pink Cottage (3342 Skipjack Road, Kinsale) Pink Cottage is the quintessential family river cottage. The cottage was built in 1956 by the maternal grandparents of the current owners. The current generation acquired the cottage in 1994 and began renovations and additions. The windowed river side of the cottage affords breathtaking views of the Potomac River. Marine art and a collection of Chesapeake Bay workboat replica models are featured throughout. The family moves to the river in May. The animal menagerie comes, too, which includes driving ponies, several dogs and free- range chickens. An old garage has been adapted to accommodate a stall for the ponies. Opening for the first time.
River Dream (3652 Skipjack Road, Kinsale) River Dream, 
built in 2005, has a view of the Potomac River onwards to the Chesapeake Bay. Huge east facing windows are perfect for admiring waters of the Potomac. The house was designed to highlight an extensive collection of paintings by the American western artist, John Nieto. A drawing by another contemporary artist, R.C. Gorman, is prominently featured. The color scheme in River Dream complements the contemporary furnishings as well as family collectibles acquired through extensive travels. Especially noteworthy is a collection Czechoslovakian pottery. Opening for the first time.

Kirnan (498 Zion Church Road, Hague) Kirnan was built in 1781. Historically significant, the property has been nominated for the National Registry of Historic Places. Kirnan had but three owners up until purchased by the current owners in 2011. The house is framed in beaded cedar weatherboard with a gabled roof. It stands on a continuous English bond brick foundation above a full brick cellar. Interior walls are approximately one foot thick. The Classic Revival front entry parlor room was probably added mid to late 19th century. The rose garden and kitchen garden are of interest, as they reflect original footprints.

Essex County: April 24, 2015

The Garden Club of the Middle Peninsula presents five of Essex County’s treasured homes and gardens for Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week. Four of the homes, built in the 18th century, offer a glimpse into the lives of Virginia’s colonial planters and patriots. Landscapes complete with outbuildings, old native trees, gardens, and charming dwellings give one a view into the past. Also on tour this year is a spacious home of coastal elegance in upper Essex County. This New England inspired home sitting atop a high bluff takes full advantage of the magnificent view of the Rappahannock. Shelba, Goldberry and Woodlawn (Trible) will be open for the first time.

Shelba, (763 Dunbrooke Road, Millers Tavern) is a modest 18th c. planter’s house situated on a working farm. The original portion completed during the Revolution consisted of a side hall and large room with a sleeping loft. High ceilings, a built-in bookcase lined with old wallpaper, a magnificent fireplace mantel, mostly original heart pine flooring, eight fireplaces, and much of Shelba’s interior remain true to its origins. A collection of period engravings related to Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Lafayette, and other founders of the republic are notable, and the owners’ love of music, books, and art is readily apparent. Outdoors, eighteenth-century inspired gardens as well as contemporary ones designed by Cynthia Carter speak to her passion for gardening. Owners: Richard and Cynthia Carter.

(2009 Dunbrooke Road, Millers Tavern) is a late 18th c. frame, three-bay home with English inspired gardens. Period antiques adorn the home, including European bird themed prints and the Wyatts’ collection of antique clocks. During the 1940s, Woodlawn-Sandy was a winter resting place for a traveling circus known as the Johnny J. Jones Exposition and even today is referred to as the “Circus House.” The English basement, with its built-in brick wine cellar, displays circus memorabilia honoring the property’s unique history. Outbuildings surround the house and include a summer kitchen house, a unique guest house re-purposed from three chicken houses, and a tall barn where circus carriages were once stored. Owners: Steven and Elsbeth Wyatt.

Cherry Walk (2459 Dunbrooke Road, Millers Tavern) is an intact Eastern Virginia Plantation complex, c. 1780. The property remained in the same family until 1982 when it was purchased by the Rowlands. American and English antiques, period wallpapers, 18th c. prints, watercolors and other collected pieces grace all of the rooms, together with the owner’s art work. Of particular interest are the eight supporting outbuildings which also have been carefully restored: two dairies, smokehouse, summer kitchen/guest house, four holed privy, an enlarged early barn, plank corn crib, and late 19th c. blacksmith’s shop. In 1998, the owner designed a formal period garden. An entrance arbor leads to a central shell walk dividing the area into four symmetrical gardens: a pool with surrounding perennial beds, a vegetable garden, an area for fruit trees, and an herb/native plant garden. The wide variety of old native trees and shrubs, along with the gardens and evolving meadows, hum with the activity of butterflies and other pollinators. Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places. Owners: Walter and Beverley Rowland.

Woodlawn (Trible) (4431 Richmond Highway, Tappahannock) is a classic example of a New England saltbox house. This quaint one and a half story home built c.1750 is the last original saltbox house in Essex County. The rafters are continuous indicating the house was built as a saltbox. Despite the age, all baseboards, chair rails, and most of the window glass and trim inside are original. Other features include interior raised panel doors (two with string latches) and mostly original flooring. The English basement is made of handmade bricks. Between the floors were ladders until the 1860s when narrow, steep steps were added. Outside gardens of vegetables and flowers reflect the life of a farming family. The smokehouse in the yard is believed to be from the 1750s. Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places. Owner: Brother Mark Jenkins, OSF.

Goldberry (1023 Goldberry Lane, 
Tappahannock) is a spacious coastal home overlooking the Rappahannock River with heart pine floors and vaulted ceilings. Built in 1996, the home makes the most of its waterfront setting with panoramic views. The interior is a mix of antiques and family portraits, a historic map, and memorabilia from the family’s travels. Of particular interest is the stone fireplace and hearth within the recently built fully modern kitchen addition. Unique to the fireplace are several fossils inlaid in the stone, each found by the Gilchrists’ children. A grand porch on the riverside steps down to a patio featuring a cannon from the French Napoleon era. Owners: Charles and Linda Gilchrist. 

Gloucester - Mathews Counties April 25, 2015
Virginia’s two counties of Gloucester and Mathews were born as conjoined twins about 1651. Together they made up the end of the Middle Peninsula, surrounded by water on three sides. Kingston Parish, one of four parishes in this one large county, was split off to form Mathews County in 1791. The two are still sisters, riddled with scenic waterways and farmlands, rich in history and old houses, and all “far from the madding crowd” (Thomas Hardy). This year’s tour includes whimsical gardens, extensive art collections, old world architecture with a new world twist, as well as Ware Church, a historical landmark dating back to the 1600s.

Edgewater Farm (395 North River Road, Bohannon) is nestled in a cozy spot, surrounded by water, just off Mobjack Bay. The Diggeses have filled the house and garden with art: paintings, sculptures, birdhouses, whirligigs, grandchild-made stepping stones, etc., and have made the environs welcoming and entertaining for visitors and grandchildren alike. Some might be more interested in John’s antique tractor collection. And then there are the duck decoys. And the quilts. The dining room is beautifully decorated with painted landscapes by John’s father and visual souvenirs of “Chilham,” the British seat of Sir Dudley Digges, an ancestor. Complimentary refreshments will be served here 3 to 5 pm. Edgewater Farm is open for the first time. Owners: John 
and Linda Digges.

Nesting was purchased by the current occupants in 2009, and extensive renovations have been meticulously undertaken by the owners themselves. The residence is decorated with eclectic collections of art, antiquities, and ceramics while conveying a comfortable style with attention to detail. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted by nationally renowned artists, an antiques specialist, and several guest presentations enhancing this unique tour. There will be no parking at Nesting. Shuttles will run from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, 7900 Daffodil Lane, Gloucester. Nesting is open for the first time. Owners: Norris L. Padgett III and Thomas R. Robinsky.

Sandhill (142 Lookout Lane, Dutton), like other homes on the tour this year, includes collections of artifacts and art connected with its past and ownership. The first house on this lofty bluff overlooking the Piankatank was built in 1923. The Jameses came fourteen years ago and have rebuilt the house on an expanded footprint. Most rooms have a spectacular view and each includes lovingly preserved memorabilia. In the “Upper Room” Mrs. James’ past life as the Postmistress of Dutton P.O. is reflected in the 1857 post office boxes she collected when they were replaced. Sandhill is open for the first time. Owners: Nancy and Woody James.

Westerley is situated on a high bluff and takes full advantage of a panoramic view of the Piankatank River. Built in 2009, it has very large riverside windows that fold back and open the living room to the Pennsylvania bluestone verandah. The entrance is a two-story hall with a curving staircase and an inlaid wooden compass rose in the floor of the semi-circular hall. Once inside, one finds the home to be a child-friendly place for the West’s three young children. When you are walking up the front steps, don’t miss the one brick turned in reverse to show the name of the brick company that made it (there is a family connection). There will be no parking at Westerley. Shuttles will run from Sandhill. This home is open for the first time. Owners: Sarah and Frank West.

Tour Headquarters at Ware Parish
(7820 John Clayton Hwy.) 
Ware was founded about 1652 at another location. The current building dates from about 1718. 
It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, and is one of the oldest buildings in Virginia. Today the ancient graveyard is a leafy haven imbued with beauty and serenity. Docents will be on the grounds to orient the visitor to the history, architecture and horticulture of this sacred landscape. Owner: The Episcopal Diocese of Virginia

$15 each by pre-order at 
(804) 725-1278. Lunches to 
be picked up at Bay School 
Art Center in Mathews.
$30 in advance. $35 day of tour
The tour will be held 10 am to 5 pm. For more information, and to buy advance tickets, see the website www.vagardenweek.org, click on “Tours” then “Saturday, April 25” then “Gloucester.” Or call Tish Grant at (804) 694-4653.