Sunday, July 23, 2017  

Urbanna Historic House Tour
a sneak peak
Urbanna Holiday House Tour 2009

Christmas is right around the corner and what better way to share in the spirit of the holidays than by enjoying the enchanting 2009 Historic Urbanna Holiday Homes Tour on December 5th and 6th. Presented by the Town of Urbanna, the Urbanna Beautification Committee, and the Urbanna Business Association, the tour raises money for town beautification and restoration projects. “It’s also a great way to introduce our town to people who may not have seen it before” says Mary Ellen Cardwell, publicity chair for the event. “As many as 500 people attend the event and thousands of dollars are raised so it’s an important thing for our community” she explains.

A designer showcase home and historic sites including Lansdowne, the Old Tobacco Warehouse, and the Middlesex County Woman’s Club will be festively decorated and open for tours, and an old-fashioned Christmas tree lot will offer fresh trees and greenery for your own holiday decorating.

Designer Showcase Home – Walesa Point
This year’s designer showcase home, the stately Walesa Point located on the James Ross Plantation (also known as Cedar Park Farm), will feature the work of eleven area designers who have been given carte blanche to re-design a room apiece in the house. From furnishings to drapes, and accessories to wall coverings these designers will show off their talents in this 1930s era house built by Walter L. and Lottie Crass Sams, who with their daughter Betty Sams Christian were long-time owners of the Central Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The house, which overlooks Robinson Creek was purchased from the late Mrs. Christian’s estate in 2006 and is currently owned by the Shaia family of Richmond. It has never before been open to the public. Some of Walesa’s special features include dark paneled walls, heart of pine floors, and a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the great room. You won’t want to miss seeing what’s been described as the Cadillac of 1930s kitchen stoves, a rare white enameled six-burner gas stove. An indoor pool house with exposed beams, skylights, and waterfront views is also a must-see.

This year’s featured designers are:
Annie Rooney, Mathews
Brad Stephens, Irvington
Chesapeake & Crescent, Kilmarnock
Cyndy’s Bynn, Urbanna
Garden Club, Urbanna
Interior Innovations, White Stone
Lewis Trimble, Kilmarnock
Make Thyme, Urbanna
Rolling Road Antiques, Urbanna
Snug Harbor Interiors, Mathews
West End Antiques Mall, Richmond

Built about 1740, Lansdowne is “one of the finest examples of the formal homes in Virginia during that period” says Cardwell. The beautiful home features eight fireplaces many of which have exquisite marble surrounds, original heart of pine paneling, and Flemish bond brickwork with scored oyster shell mortar joints. The house was purchased from Ralph Wormeley III by Scottish merchant James Mills in 1763. He owned it until 1790 when Arthur Lee, who served with Benjamin Franklin on the Joint Commission to the Court of France and in the Continental Congress from 1782-1785, bought it and retired there. After Lee’s death the home was passed down to signer of the Declaration of Independence Richard Henry Lee and then to Francis Lightfoot Lee. Docents in period costumes will guide visitors through the house and describe how Christmas may have been celebrated here in the eighteenth century.

Middlesex County — Woman’s Club
Open on Saturday only, the Middlesex County Woman’s Club located in the historic Middlesex Courthouse will have on display a variety of Snowmen and Nutcrackers as well as a floor to ceiling dazzling Christmas tree. Perhaps best of all, club members will be selling their secret recipe and spices for their famous Crab Bisque soup, a favorite at the annual Urbanna Oyster Festival. Seasonal refreshments will also be available.

Old Tobacco Warehouse
Built in 1766, the Old Tobacco Warehouse is among the oldest surviving mercantile structures associated with tobacco left in America. Tobacco and other large crops were shipped directly from area plantations to England. In return, England shipped back an assortment of goods on the return voyage. Today, the Old Tobacco Warehouse serves as the Urbanna Visitor’s Center. There are several historic displays at the Center including The Mitchell Map. This map was used as the primary map source for defining the boundaries of the newly independent United States in 1783 during the Treaty of Paris. Also on display are a number of hand-made model boats and a detailed miniature of the Urbanna waterfront. Visitors can take a guess at the name and purpose of an unmarked tool on display and submit their ballot in a drawing for prizes like gift certificates from local merchants.

2009 Historic Urbanna Holiday Homes Tour

  • Saturday, December 5th from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Sunday, December 6th from 12:00 Noon to 4:30 pm
  • Shuttle buses available from the Urbanna Methodist church beginning at 9:45 am on Saturday
  • Free parking available at Urbanna Methodist Church
  • Refreshments include boxed lunches, free hot cider and cookies, and the annual bake sale
  • Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at: Bristow’s Store, Cindy’s Bynn, Papeterie, Make Thyme, and The Wild Bunch
  • Call the Urbanna Town Office at (804) 758-2615 with questions.