Saint Mary’s County 2018
maryland house and garden pilgimage


10 am to 5 pm


Special Project: Proceeds from the St. Mary’s County Tour will benefit the restoration of the Newtowne Manor House. The Catholic religious order the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits, began missionary activities in the Newtowne Neck area in 1640. In 1662, the first chapel was built in Newtowne Neck (predecessor to the St. Francis Xavier Church, tour Site #4). The Jesuits purchased additional acreage around the original chapel, and despite the renewed anti-Catholic environment in the colonies in the early 1700s, a new church was constructed to replace the original chapel. In 1789, a one and a half story manor house was constructed next to the church to house the Jesuit community that had taken root in Newtowne Neck. In 1816, the second story of the manor house was raised to its present-day height. When the Jesuits moved their headquarters to Leonardtown in 1868, the manor retained its function as a working farm and house for the farm manager. In 1967, St. Francis Xavier Church, Newtowne Manor House and the seven and one-half acres surrounding them were conveyed to the Archdiocese of Washington. Recognizing the religious, historical and archeological significance of these buildings, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, Cardinal James Hickey, then Archbishop of Washington, approved the restoration of both the church and manor house.  The church restoration was the primary goal in order to pastorally and spiritually minister to the thriving Catholic community in Newtowne Neck. Prior to beginning restoration work, several studies were commissioned in order to obtain a more complete and accurate understanding of the history and development of the site and its historic structures. An archaeological survey of the site unearthed the foundation of an original manor house dating from the 1720s, as well as thousands of artifacts relating to the Indian and colonial inhabitants of Newtowne Neck. The scientific method of dendrochronology was employed to obtain exact dates of construction for the church nave and sanctuary (1731) and the subsequent manor house (1789).  Paint analysis has provided a detailed history of the structures from their construction through their subsequent restorations and modifications. A thorough architectural study of the church structure was carried out prior to its restoration to the 18th century style. The Newtowne Manor House was placed in 2010 on the Endangered Maryland list by Preservation Maryland. To support continuation of the Newtowne Manor House restoration efforts, the Friends of Newtowne Manor House, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring and preserving this 18th century structure, will be the beneficiary of the proceeds from the St. Mary’s County 2018 Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage Tour.

Tour Chairs: Co-Chair: Beth Bonifant, 20525 Wellington Court, Colton’s Point, MD 20626, 301-861-6112,


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~HISTORY~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

St. Mary’s County lies on the peninsula bounded by the famous “Oyster Waters” —the beautiful Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The main highways through the center of the county give little indication of the loveliness beyond on the many less-traveled bypaths. The early settlers built on the shores and traveled by water. In like fashion, today’s tour features several waterfront homes and gardens in the Leonardtown area. George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, petitioned King Charles I in the early 1600s for a land grant to establish a new colony where all religions could be practiced freely. George Calvert died before carrying out his settlement plans, and his son, Cecilius (Cecil) Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore, inherited his estate. In November 1633, Cecil sent his brother Leonard Calvert, along with 140 settlers and adventurers aboard the Ark and the Dove bound for Maryland. The two ships landed at St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634, marking the birth of the Maryland colony. The island was small, so after celebrating mass and giving thanks for their safe arrival, the settlers traveled further south on what is known today as the St. Mary’s River where they purchased from the Yaocomico Indians 30 miles of land, renaming it “St. Maries.”  The Indians provided assistance while being established. St. Mary’s City became Maryland’s first capital and Leonard Calvert its first Governor. The capital was moved to Annapolis in 1694. In 1708, the legislature ordered that a town be laid out at Breton Bay and that the court of St. Mary’s be held there. First called Seymour Town, the name was changed in 1728 to Leonard Town, now Leonardtown. It remains the county seat. Descendants of some of the original families still own and occupy the houses built by their ancestors. The St. Mary’s County Garden Club, celebrating its 80th Anniversary, is delighted to showcase Leonardtown’s historic Newtowne Neck area located along Breton Bay, Saint Clements Bay and Combs Creek with views of St. Clement Island, where Maryland’s history began.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ DIRECTIONS ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


BALTIMORE/ANNAPOLIS: Take any route to get to MD-4 and head SOUTH toward Solomon’s Island. Stay on MD-4 and take the Gov. Thomas Johnson Bridge toward Lexington Park. Continue on MD-4 (past the intersection with MD-235) until it ends at MD-5. Turn RIGHT onto MD-5 heading NORTH toward Leonardtown. Drive 2.6 miles and turn LEFT onto Newtowne Neck Road/MD-243 (CVS is on right side of road and McDonald’s is catty-corner). Proceed with directions below to Site #1.

ROUTE FROM WASHINGTON, DC: Take the Beltway (I-495) to MD-5 (exit 7) and head SOUTH. Stay on MD-5 to the intersection of Newtowne Neck Road /MD-243 in Leonardtown (McDonald’s is on right side). Turn RIGHT onto Newtowne Neck Road and proceed with directions below to Site #1. Alternatively, on MD-5 stay straight onto MD-235 toward
Lexington Park. Turn RIGHT onto MD-245/Hollywood-Leonardtown Road and proceed about 5 miles to MD-5. Turn RIGHT onto MD-5 heading NORTH. In 1.4 miles turn LEFT onto Newtowne Neck Road/MD-243 (CVS on right side of road and McDonald’s is catty-corner). Proceed with directions below to Site #1.

ROUTE FROM VIRGINIA: Cross the MD-301/Harry Nice Bridge, drive 6 miles and turn RIGHT onto MD-234 Budd’s Creek Road. Turn RIGHT (heading SOUTH) onto MD-5 and proceed a short distance to Newtowne Neck Road/MD-243 (McDonald’s is on right side). Turn RIGHT onto Newtowne Neck Road and proceed with directions below to Site #1.
NOTE: The Exxon Station at Newtowne Neck and MD-5 is the only service
station on the tour route. It is also the last restroom prior to the lunch location.


From MD-5, proceed SOUTH on Newtowne Neck Road about 1.5 miles and then bend LEFT onto Bull Road. After 1.2 miles, the road changes names to Society Hill Road (as the road bends to the right). Drive another 1.2 miles past the golf course and turn RIGHT onto Breton View Drive. Drive 0.3 mile and take the second LEFT onto Pebble Beach Court.

Saint Mary’s County Tour Map


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ LUNCH ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Delicious boxed lunches may be purchased for $15.00. Lunches will be served (or available to go) at St. Francis Xavier Church Hall (Site #4: 21370 Newtowne Neck Road) from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Lunch choices are Chicken Salad sandwich, Portobello Mushroom sandwich, St. Mary’s County Stuffed Ham sandwich, or a gluten-free Caesar Salad with Chicken; a side salad, chips, dessert and a bottle of water are included. Additional beverages and desserts are available for purchase at the Church Hall. The Church Hall has seating and restrooms. Box lunches are available by pre-paid reservations made by May 12, 2018. Mail a check payable to SMCGC for $15.00 along with your lunch choice to: Judy Moe, 41720 Knight Road, Leonardtown, MD 20650. For additional information, please contact Judy at 301-475-7974 or email If you wish, please include your e-mail address or phone number for confirmation of receipt. Your check is your reservation. Visitors may also find several dining
options in the town of Leonardtown (off of MD-5). 



Dragonfly, 21669 Pebble Beach Court, Leonardtown 20650

Garden only. Situated on Cherry Cove, the gardens at Dragonfly turn 25 years old in 2018. Dragonfly is a series of garden rooms each featuring abundant plantings with views to the serene cove off of Breton Bay. The entrance garden features American boxwood, Sky Pencil hollies, topiary holly trees, hydrangea, magnolia, and Japanese maples. This garden area yields to more casual plantings throughout the property. Dragonfly features extensive use of evergreens, along with perennial and annual plantings. As the garden expanded over the years, the owners incorporated several types of ground covers to reduce maintenance and provide a tapestry of unique plantings. Dragonfly was designed with entertaining in mind, and has hosted many garden club and family gatherings over the past 25 years. Owners: Ron and Kathy Glockner.

Backtrack on Pebble Beach Court toward Breton View Drive. Turn RIGHT onto Breton View Drive and then second LEFT onto Society Hill Road. In 1.2 miles, the road changes names to Bull Road as it bends to the left; continue on Bull Road to Newtowne Neck Road. Make a sharp LEFT onto Newtown Neck Road/MD-243. In 1 mile, turn LEFT onto Rose Bank Road. Drive approximately 1.2 miles to the pea gravel driveway on your right, just before Combs Creek Way. Site #2 is at the end of the driveway.


21651 Rose Bank Road, Leonardtown 20650

House and garden. Situated on three acres along Combs Creek, this home was built in 2004 by W.M. Davis, Inc. The current home replaced a dated Cape Cod style house and was limited in size to the square footage of the previous dwelling. The house is a three-story traditional with four bedrooms, a finished basement, garage and outdoor patio areas. The use of exterior and fireplace stone was inspired by the natural stone in many colonial Pennsylvania homes. An additional living area and patio were constructed later, providing more gathering space overlooking Combs Creek with views of Breton Bay and the Potomac River. Herons,
osprey and eagles are seasonal inhabitants of the creek and are neighbors to watermen who depart from this location to fish for crabs and oysters. The natural woodsy setting opens up to a sunny lawn and patio, providing the perfect peaceful place to enjoy elevated views of Combs Creek. Owners: Frank and Susan Taylor.

Proceed back on Rose Bank Road to the end of the road. Turn LEFT onto Newtowne Neck Road. Drive 1.6 miles and Site #3 will be on your right.


Redbud Thicket, 21745 Newtowne Neck Road, Leonardtown 20650

House and garden. This scenic six-acre property overlooking St. Clements Bay became the family home of Billy and Marion Sterling in 1952. After a fire destroyed the original house in the early 1970s, the couple engaged local custom builder William Dean to rebuild the home in the same Cape Cod style. Mrs. Sterling, who named the property Redbud Thicket, lovingly designed and tended the landscaping, propagating English boxwoods from existing shrubs and collecting seedlings and cuttings from family and friends. Her talent and creativity are evident today in the multiple groupings of large boxwood, towering southern magnolias grown from seed by a cousin, dogwoods, crape myrtles and redbuds that burst into magnificent lavender blossoms each spring lining the driveway. The picturesque water view includes Newtowne Neck, St. Clement’s Island, the Virginia capes and fiery sunsets. The home, now owned by the Sterling’s daughter, Christine, serves as the family gathering place and holds many special memories. Antiques and original artwork by local artists and family photographs and memorabilia are prominent throughout the house, including a walnut buffet once featured in the Washington Post and a portrait of Judge B. Harris Camalier, Christine’s paternal great grandfather who served as Circuit Court judge for St. Mary’s County from 1909-1923. Owner: Christine Sterling Senese.

Return to Newtowne Neck Road and turn RIGHT. Continue SOUTH on Newtowne Neck Road for 0.6 mile and arrive at Site #4.


St. Francis Xavier Church


Newtowne Manor House

St. Francis Xavier Church and Newtowne Manor House, 21370 Newtowne Neck Road, Leonardtown 20650

St. Francis Xavier Church. Note: Mass will be celebrated at 4:00 P.M. the day of the tour.

William Bretton received a patent from Cecilius Calvert in 1640 for the 750 acres that comprised Newtowne Neck. Among the original travelers on the Ark, Fr. Andrew White, S.J., soon joined by other Jesuit priests, was invited by William Bretton to conduct missionary work in the area. However, it wasn’t until 1660 that religious tolerance as originally intended was re-established, enabling construction of Catholic churches. In 1661 William Bretton and his wife, Temperance, donated one and a half acres of their land so that the congregation at Newtowne could build a chapel and establish a cemetery. The original chapel was built in 1662, making St. Francis Xavier parish one of the oldest Catholic parishes in the original 13 colonies. The chapel was located on a “neck of land” (peninsula) that provided easy access to early worshippers arriving by boat.

The current church was built in 1731 and the original cemetery is still in use. Archaeological investigations have unearthed the foundation of a brick manor house constructed adjacent to the church at about the same time. A front addition providing a vestibule below and a choir loft above was constructed in 1767. Because of its semi-octagonal form, the brick addition gave the original rectangular frame structure a shape that is unusual, if not unique, in Maryland ecclesiastical architecture. In 1789, a one and a half story manor house was constructed immediately adjacent to the one constructed earlier. In 1816, a semi-octagonal addition was made to the rear of the church providing a sacristy, confessional and waiting room. The small rectangular frame building with brick octagon shaped additions on both ends is both beautiful and charming. The church has simple Federal style woodwork and an elegant triple vaulted ceiling. There is a large, impressive portrait on the altar wall of patron Saint Francis Xavier painted by Brother Francis Schroen, S.J., c. 1910.

Today, St. Francis Xavier Church is a working, thriving parish in the Archdiocese of Washington, and enjoys the
distinction of being the oldest Catholic Church in continuous use in the English colonies. St. Francis Xavier Church has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972. 

Newtowne Manor House. Noted for its Georgian Style architecture, the Newtowne Manor House was constructed in 1789 to house the local community of the religious order, the Society of Jesus, commonly known as the Jesuits. The Jesuits purchased the remainder of William Bretton’s property in 1668. Originally a one and a half story house with a gambrel roof, an additional half-story was added in 1816 resulting in the current gable form with attic dormers. When the missionaries moved their headquarters to Leonardtown in 1868, the manor retained its function as a working farm and house for the farm manager. The five-bay brick house with a pair of interior chimneys at each gable end is currently unoccupied. Archaeological remains associated with the site date back to mid-17th century.  As the name implies “Newtowne” was the first settlement in the Maryland Province after the original settlement at Saint Mary’s City. The Newtowne Manor House has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1972.
Lunch location. Food, seating and restrooms available in the Church Hall building.

Optional: Newtowne Neck State Park. Tour participants are welcome to explore the 776-acre State Park on the peninsula adjacent to the Church and Manor Home. Park Rangers will be available to answer questions. For more information go to publiclands/Pages/southern/newtowne. aspx or call 301-872-5688.

Head back NORTH on Newtowne Neck Road and turn RIGHT onto Joe Hazel Road (first right after cemetery). Site #5 will be on your left, just past Combs Creek Marina. 






MINIPANY, 21652 Joe Hazel Road, Leonardtown 20650

House, garden and river storehouse. Cherie and Tim Heely purchased this home in 2008 when Tim retired from the U. S. Navy. Built in 2001, the house sat on two acres of grass field overlooking Combs Creek and Breton Bay with minimal landscaping other than the Callery pear trees lining the drive. Cherie designed, planted and maintains numerous gardens on the property, including an English garden, Japanese garden, shade garden, kitchen garden, French garden and landscaping surrounding the waterside deck with a pergola that the couple built. Inside the home are furnishings acquired from around the world during their 41 years of marriage and the walls are covered with the work of predominantly local artists. In 2014, the couple acquired the adjoining lot on Combs Creek upon which stands a c. 1890 marine store. The structure, built on low pilings over the water to allow ease of customer boat access, now has three bedrooms and baths surrounding the original open store floor plan and a large screened porch on the creek. The storehouse is used as a guest house and for entertaining. Their family’s art and taxidermy are displayed throughout. Owners: Tim and Cherie Heely.

Head back north on Joe Hazel Road and make first RIGHT onto Tippit Road. Then turn LEFT onto Army Way, a gravel road. Site #6 is on your right (with white 3-rail fence). 


PENNYSWORTH, 40075 Army Way, Compton 20627

House and garden. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson bought this property in 1969 from the estate of Betty Buck Williams, widow of Chink Williams who was a waterman and ran a boat charter on Combs Creek. The house is situated on 2.5 acres bordered by water on two sides. Built in the 1930s, the original house was 900 square feet with porches on three sides and an attic with drop-down stairs.
The main house was renovated and expanded in 1995 on a design by William Becker, a Philadelphia architect, with Paragon Properties as the contractor. In 2011, the library/guesthouse, pool and garage were added. The library became Judge Jackson’s office until he died in 2013. The gardens were landscaped bit by bit over the past 25 years, with the recent shoreline restoration also providing a home for the ospreys. Owner:  Patricia King Jackson.

Head back to Tippit Road and then turn RIGHT (heading NORTH) onto Joe Hazel Road. Turn slight RIGHT onto Newtowne Neck Road/MD-243 heading NORTH. Drive about 3.5 miles and turn into the parking lot on your right marked Port of Leonardtown Winery & Public Park (before you get to MD-5) for Site #7.


Port of Leonardtown Winery, 23190 Newtowne Neck Road, Leonardtown 20653

Winery Tours starting at 12:30 pm. Note: Winery opens at 12 noon daily. The Port of Leonardtown Winery is the production element of the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative, one of only three or four wine cooperatives in the U.S. The Southern MD co-op was incorporated
in 2007 with 17 owner/growers. The Winery commenced operations in 2009 and had its first sales in May 2010. The Winery building is the old State Highway Department building and is located in the McIntosh Run town park. The town of Leonardtown owns and re-purposed the building and now leases it to the co-op. The Winery produces 3,500 cases of wine annually. Most of the wine is produced from members’ grapes, and it is sold at the Winery, farmers markets, local retail outlets, festivals and events around the state. Wine also is sold through direct distribution (FedEx, UPS) within the state. The Winery makes sweet and dry white and red wines from grapes grown in St. Mary’s, Calvert and Charles Counties and makes apple wine from apples grown in the Frederick, MD area. Port of Leonardtown wines have won gold medals in wine competitions every year since the first production lot. The tasting room is open seven days a week from 12:00 noon to 6:00 P.M. (8:00 P.M. on Saturdays). Live music on the patio on Saturday afternoons and on Leonardtown’s First Friday evenings enhance the festive atmosphere. Wine making tours will be given every hour on the half hour beginning at 12:30 P.M. Additionally, ticket holders will receive a complimentary wine glass. Wine is available for purchase. Restrooms are available.

The Winery is located on the corner of Newtowne Neck Road/MD 243 and MD-5. Exit the parking lot and turn RIGHT to get to MD-5.