Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
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This tour is a walking tour of approximately 1 mile on paved roadway along a route that is flat with the exception of one rolling hillside. 

10 am to 5 pm


Special Project:  Proceeds will benefit the Charles Carroll House and Gardens in downtown Annapolis.  This remarkable urban, waterfront landscape and Georgian mansion is the birthplace of Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Signer of the Declaration of Independence.  The specific project will assist with the underwriting of a Cultural Landscape Report (CLR) that will be used to guide preservation and restoration plans for Carroll’s 18th century garden that still features his original terraced garden design, seawall and boxwood dating from 1770 plantings.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The community of Wardour overlooking the Severn River was named for Wardour Castle, birthplace of Ann Arundell, wife of Cecil Calvert, second Lord Baltimore by Elisabeth Giddings.  She, along with her sister Katherine Giddings Aldridge, inherited the 225 acres that comprise West Annapolis and Wardour from their father in 1884. The Giddings sisters initially contracted George T. Melvin, who was designing the Murray Hill subdivision in Annapolis, to develop the Wardour property. His plan for small rectangular lots fit the topography of adjacent West Annapolis – a former farm and one of Maryland’s early land patents.  However the stately woods and rolling terrain of the Wardour property inspired a different approach. In 1907, Miss Giddings wrote to Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in Brookline, Massachusetts.  With its high bluffs, striking views of the Severn River, undulating topography, and mature trees, the property lent itself well to the Olmsted design philosophy.  The neighborhood-centered plan with a curvilinear street pattern fitted to the natural contours of the land, irregular lots, interior traffic gardens, and a community-owned open space system were all concepts pioneered by the Olmsted firm and well-demonstrated in their plan for Wardour.  The designers responded to one of Miss Giddings’s chief concerns, the preservation of specimen trees on the property.  The early homes in Wardour date from the implementation of the Olmsted plan.  Yet as building and rebuilding has continued over the last century, the strong bones and articulate intentions of that plan have proven their worth. As you stroll through Wardour’s leafy environs, enjoying its meandering roads and preserved open spaces, you will experience the success of the Olmsteds’ plan and the stewardship of its dedicated residents.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

ROUTES FROM BALTIMORE OR WASHINGTON: Take Rt. 50 East towards Annapolis to Exit 24A (Rt. 70 - Rowe Blvd) and bear right at the bottom of the exit ramp.

ROUTES FROM EASTERN SHORE: Take Rt. 50 West to Exit 24B (Rt. 70 – Rowe Blvd.) heading towards Annapolis. 

Parking:  Street parking is available in West Annapolis on public roadways but not in Wardour itself.  To access Wardour via street parking – turn left at the 1st traffic light (Melvin Ave.). The entrance to Wardour is 1 mile from this intersection. Parking is available along Melvin Ave. and other streets in West Annapolis. Follow signs and walk to tour registration and ticket sales at either Melvin Ave. and Wardour Dr. or Giddings Ave. and Old Crossing Rd..


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Tour participants are encouraged to patronize restaurants in West Annapolis, located along Annapolis St. Ridgely Ave. Melvin Ave. and Taylor Ave.





This property lies on an integral part of the Wardour landscape and stands as an excellent example of Olmstead’s design.  The house was built in 1908 (bearing the name “Tolerance”), was enlarged in 1923 and 1929, and was again renovated in the mid-50s and in 1993. Set back from the road, the home opens upon a 4-acre park-like setting with expansive gardens, meandering paths, and a sloping lawn opening to water views that open on the Severn River.  The house is owned by St. John’s College, which purchased it for use as the home of its president. It is also home to the St. Johns sailing team, which stores its fleet along the beach at riverside.  The current resident is the fourth college president to reside in the building over the last 60 years. The interior of the home has been renovated over the years to include a closed-in porch and open living space.  The occupants have acquired a captivating art collection, which is on display throughout the home. As you tour the property take special note of the exquisite gardens and tranquil garden house down by the water.



Built in 1911 as the dream home of Annapolis architect Philip Benson Cooper, the son of Captain Philip Henry Cooper, Superintendent of the USNA from 1894 to 1898.  He was responsible for overseeing construction work on Bancroft and Macdonough Halls for the Naval Academy, as well as designing Carvel Hall Hotel’s modern wing to the rear of the William Paca House, the portico of the new State House addition in 1905, and designed the Cooper Apartments at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Hanover Street in 1928-1930.  Much written and oral history of the property remains thanks in part to the dedicated efforts of its current owners, the Clifts.  Thirty-six years ago they purchased the dilapidated property and have since restored it from a double-family residence back to its original single-family form.  Through their painstaking work, the old Georgia pine floors were refurbished as well as many of the original leaded glass windows.  The back porch is part of a later addition as is the alteration to the original open-sided porches.  Particular details to note include the dentils under the roofline on the exterior of the building (one of Cooper’s signature touches), the old iron heat radiators in the interior, and the original grand staircase.  Many historical inscriptions were discovered during the restoration of the building, including the date 1907, which was discovered when wallpaper was removed in a second floor bedroom, the date 1911 painted on an attic wall, and the date 1929 inscribed along a previously walled-up stair landing.



Designed to make full use of the striking views of the Severn River, this contemporary home built in 1990 has an open floor plan and an expansive swimming pool, hot tub, and boat dock that grace the rear of the property.  The boat dock itself is a unique feature designed by the current owner to highlight views of the river in this custom-designed, organized space.  The home serves as a perfect retreat for the family with its finished basement, game room, and entertainment center.  The current owners have added their own touches to the property, which reflect their unique tastes and personalities.  Since purchasing the home two years ago, they have redecorated 50 percent of it, refurnishing the living room, downstairs, and exterior.  Burgundy shutters were added to make the house appear warmer from the outside.  Interesting features within the home include the 1941 Art Deco piano, modern kitchen, and separate boys’ and girls’ dressing rooms. 



This  small, unusual house was built in 1974 from Better Homes and Gardens plans for a French country house.  Local architect Fred Fishback refined the original plans and a 5-bedroom home with a flat, Mansard-style roof was constructed on the site.  In the mid-1980’s a peaked roof with gable vents was added, and the top floor, which originally had 3 bedrooms and two baths, was changed into 2 bedrooms, each with an en suite bath. Fireplaces are included in the living room and the master bedroom.  The main floor originally had two large rooms, a bath, and a galley kitchen. In the remodeling, one of the large rooms was divided into a dining room and a breakfast area, with added cabinets and counter space. The lower floor contains a TV room, two more bedrooms, a full bath, and a laundry room.  The house is situated on the location of the original Wardour water works, and consists of two plots. The main plot where the house is located has an adjoining narrow strip of land that runs 600 feet down to the Severn River, where the private dock for the house is located. The property abuts the old B&A Railroad right-of-way, and includes the remains of the Wardour Railroad Station near the water.  Note the large European white poplars, the only location in the neighborhood for this species.
ng warm weather. 


ARUNDEL ROAD, garden only

Following paths laid out 20 years ago, meander through this gently sloping, Japanese-style garden planted with weeping cherry trees, specimen maples, Leyland cypress and azaleas.  Ground covers, including mondo grass, vinca, junipers, hosta, and pachysandra, are abundant and accent the many boulders placed within the garden  for balance and unity. The rear boundary of the property is adjacent to the old B & A railroad that serves as a habitat corridor for wildlife (unwelcome deer included) and provides the garden with a wooded backdrop of Mid-Atlantic forest not typically found in the city. The owner is an artist whose studio opens into the garden where many of the flowers and plants are inspiration for her drawings.  The dark stained cedar-sided home, a blend of Asian and Arts and Crafts styles, sits comfortably in this setting.


The community of Wardour lies within five zones that define its historic connection to the landscape.  The streets of Alden Lane, Arundel Road, Wardour Drive, and portions of Westwood Road are positioned in an area referred to as the “Old Woods.”  According to an 1868 plat, this region northeast of Westwood Road running to the Severn River was composed entirely of woodland.  This home represents the later development of this section as it was built 40 years ago on speculation.  The current owners are the third to inhabit the property and they have made substantial renovations since they purchased it in 1984.  The kitchen, entry, back den, screened porch, and master bedroom have all received significant alterations, as have the master bath, pool and gardens.  The garden design evokes a feeling of “rooms” with each area having a distinct feeling and varied plantings.  The pool with its dramatic sculpture of a heron in flight plays center stage.  Beautiful landscaping is also featured in the front of the house.spaces.


WARDOUR DRIVE garden only

Topophilia” (from Greek topos “place” and -philia, “love of”) is the term used by the owners to describe their affection and sense of place for their lovely garden.  Envisioned as an extension of their home, particularly the master bedroom suite, the owners and landscape designer Mimi Armstrong and installer, Gardens by Orlando have created a magnificent outdoor room filled with many colors and sounds of nature.  Wander the flagstone path through a rich variety of flowers, foliage and evergreens.  Admire the arches of water emerging from two basalt pillars as they fall over the enamel and bronze frog sculpture by G. Mancini that now perpetually dives towards black river stones below.  Stop for a moment under the trumpet vine-covered pergola designed by RB Belch and take in the beauty and feeling of peace and well-being of this special garden.



As you approach the house via the winding driveway, one can’t help but be taken with the large front lawn and great trees, American Beech and Tulip Poplars that spring from the earth giving the feel of open woodland.  The home was built in 1928 on a 1-acre lot and was originally a cottage-style typical of those found in adjacent West Annapolis.  The current owners bought the property in 1997 and over the years have expanded both the house and garden.  Recent additions are a screened porch and a terrace featuring a pond located in the front of the house.  The garden features several varieties of native plants and a vegetable garden all of which are nurtured by the homeowners who are ardent composters.



This 1-1/2 story Cape Cod style home with original cedar siding and shutters was built in 1957 on just over a half-acre lot.  The current owners are the sixth family to live in this home.  With the aid of Annapolis architect Scott Rand, the home was partially renovated in 2005 but retains many of its original features such as plaster walls, doors and moldings. The attached two-car garage was turned into a great room off the kitchen and ceiling beams and a large stone fireplace were added.  The roof on the existing garage was raised and the house was brought in line with a true Cape Cod style.  Most of the basement was converted into finished livable space with the addition of a game room, exercise room and full bathroom. The overgrown yard was entirely redone in the cottage garden style and was opened up to make the house more visible. A new picket fence, curved flagstone pathway and patio along with a small courtyard and stacked stone sitting wall were installed. Crape Myrtle, Norwegian Spruce, weeping cherry, Yoshino Cherry, Pee Gee Hydrangeas, Japanese Painted Fern, English Boxwood, Oriental Magnolia, and Yoshino Cryptomaria were planted.  Perennials include Oriental Poppies, Bleeding Hearts, Peonies, Lilies, purple coneflower, Foxgloves and iris.



Anne Arundel County | Queen Anne County | Baltimore City (Guilford) 
Somerset & Worcester Counties | Charles County

Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage Headquarters
3 Church Circle Suite 190  | Annapolis, MD 21401 | 410.821.6933

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