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Media Contact: Marc Apter, 301-904-3690
Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage April 30-May 28
Finest Historic Homes in Queen Anne, Harford, Talbot, Baltimore & Charles
See Homes Associated with Lafayette & John Wilkes Booth
Step into the pages pf Architectural Digest for a rare look at waterfront Estates. Farms, and Gardens -
Many Predating Revolutionary War
BALTIMORE, Maryland (April 4, 2016) – For every person that has wanted to peek into the old house at the end of a lane, now is the time. Generous property owners will open thier historic sites to the public for five weekends in April and May during the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage(MHGP), an annual tradition since 1937. Visitiors will have the opportunity to visit such sites a the home where General Marquis de Lafayette quelled a mutiny during the Revolutionary War., the home of a confederate supporter who aided in the escape of assassin John Wlikes Booth, an estate containing original slave quarters , and the home where a War of 1812 cannon ball was lodged. THe Pilgrimage comprises 39 properties, includng historic manors, gardens, schools, and churches. Tours run Saturday, April 30, through Saturday, May 28, and include the following counties: Queen Anne’s, (Saturday, April 30), Harford (Saturday May 7), Talbot(Saturday, May 14), Baltimore (Sunday, May 15) and Charles (Saturday, May 28). Each county’s tour includes seven or eight properties. Advance tickets for each tour are $30 per person ($35 if purchasing day-of). Catered lunches will be available on all tours. Purchase tickets and get more information at mhgp.org or call 410-821-6933.
The annual spring tours are a central component of MHGP’s efforts to cultivate awareness of Maryland’s rich architectural and cultural heritage. Every year, proceeds from the tour support designated preservation projects in each host community. To date, the Pilgrimage has raised more than $1 million for the preservation and restoration of architecturally significant properties throughout the State of Maryland while entertaining and educating thousands of attendees.
“Curiosity is what draws people to these tours,” said MHGP Chair and Baltmore County Tour Chair Hilles Whedbee. “What a great adventure to visit a house you have driven by your whole life and then all of sudden, be able to walk right in. It’s a very enjoyable way to spend a day.”
Nine properties on display during the MHGP predate the Revolutionary War, explained Charles County tour Co-Chair Melissa Bolton Willett. “It’ s very rare to have so many wonderful examples of pre-Revolutionary War architecture in one place. Almost 300 years later, it is a unique and moving experience to walk the same halls as those brave early Marylanders who risked so much.”
Catered lunches will be available on all tours for $12-15, and a special dinner will be served at Rosewood Manor in Charles County for $24.99. It is recommended that all meal tickets be reseved and purchased in advance.
Highlights for each of the jurisdictions on the 2016 tour include the following.
Queen Anne’s County:
The Queen Anne’s tour contains eight properties, including a school, a rectory, and a church. Visitor’s on this tour may be interested in the area’a role in the War of 1812, Revolutionary history, centuries-old trees, and sustainable gardens.
Visitors will have the opportunity to see the effects fo the War of 1812 at Bowlingly in Queenstown, where a cannonball was lodged in one of the walls of the home. Originally built in the mid-18th century, “Bowlingly’s location on the water made it fair game during the British invasion,” said Kai Marchant, tour Co-Chair for the Queen Anne’s tour. Today, Bowlingly, is considered one of the earliest dated stuctures on Maryland ‘s Eastern Shore.
Built in the late eighteenth century, Possum Point Farm in Centreville was destroyed during the War of 1812 and then restored in the 1940’s and again in the 1960s. The 16- room, elegant waterfront estate features hand painted wall murals of birds and vines by artist Lenore Winters, a 90 year old family heirloom piano, and spectacular views of the Corsica River.The current owner has continued restoration and improvements on the farm.
At Talents Cove in Queentown, visitors will encounter a massive Swamp Oak as they enter the newly built home on the historic property formally known as the Wye RIver Farm. The farm was once the homestead of Governor William Grason, the first publicly-elected governor of Maryland. Most of the trees on the farm - which include Sycamore, Pecan, Beech, and Red Oak- are 250 to 300 years old. Wharf House, in Centreville, was contstruced in 1771, and still contains much of the original construction, as well as the Maryland State Champion Osage Orange tree. “The Wharf House is a beautiful historic home, and the Osage Orange tree is a beatuiful added element, ” said Marchant.
Gardens will also be on display during the tour, with “inspired landscaping” includng newer and traditional gardens. The current owners of Talents Cove have a passion for sustainable gardening, native plants, and bay-wise practices. The property boasts a garden house, compost structures, raised vegetables beds, fruit- bearing bushes, and a small greenhouse in the kitchen garden. When the current owners moved to Talents Cove in 2012, they started replacing most of the existing plants with native trees, shrubs, and perennials.Extensive clearing of noxious vines and underbush in the wooded area exposed a marshy inlet that was turned into a woodland garden and pathway. In the spring, daffodils, tulips, iris, peonies, and flowering trees adorn the property.
For a more recent history, visitors may tour the Centreville Armory, built in 1926. The Armory served as the heart of historical Centreville and was the training site for World War II soldiers who participated in the 1944 landings at Normandy, France. After sitting vacant for seveal years, the building was recently restored to form the new Wye River Upper School, a school for students with learning differences, incuding Attention Deficit Disorder, Asperger Syndrome, and Dyslexia. ” Architecturally, the Armory is one of the most exciting parts of our tour,” said Marchant. Students from the school will be on hand during the tour.
Funds raised during the Queen Anne’s tour will benefit the James E. Kirwan Museum on Kent Island. The museum property, an important historic landmark in the County, showcases the life of its prominent owner James Kirwan(1848-1938) and provides a peek into Kirwan’s rich life on the Eastern Shore.
Although Harford County has not run a tour in several years, there are seven notable properties in this year’s tour, including the home where Gen Lafayette quelled a mutiny, the expansive Seven Springs Farmhouse, and a home with ties to the Declaration of Independence. The Harford tour is headed by Tour Chairs Martha Hopkins and Kathy Kelly.Built in 1752, Darlington’s Rigbie Huse is where Gen. Lafayette quelled a mutiny of his troops during the Revolutionary War before proceeding to the Battle of Yorktown to meet George Washington and defeat the British. The home, which is a national historic landmark, has a secret staircase and a large walk-in fireplace.
Seven Springs Farmhouse was built in the Georgian style in the 1850s. The current owners built an observation tower- named-“Temple of the Winds”- which visitors may climb for a panoramic view of the farm.The farms front facade, sills, and window lintels are made of stone from the quarries near Port Deposit, and the sidewalls are made of field rubble or local quarried rock. One of the original owners, Jeremiah Silver, kept a diary of the farm, and it is recorded that he imported the pine flooring from North Carolina. A white clapboard rear wing was added in 1956, as well as the other farm buildings presently on the property. Visitors are encouraged to walk from the house to the Temple of the Winds and stop by the pond and the farm’s arboretuem.
Belcamps’ Sophia’s Dairy is renovated historic home. One of the original owners, Captain John Hall, left the home to his daughter, Sophia Hall, who married Col. Thomas White who, by 1777, owned more than 7,700 acres in what was then Baltimore County(Harford County had not been formed yet).
Thier daughter also named Sophia, married Aquila Hall, who was the first to sign the Bush Declaration in March 1775, a document considered to be a precursor to the Declaration of Independence.
Keziah’s Diary, also in Darlington, was originally owned by William Stump and deeded in 1831 to his daughter, Keziah, and her husband, Richard Jackson. After falling in disrepair, Keziah’s Diary has undergone a complete restoration and renovation. The home includes original slave quarters, accessible from a narrow stairwell from the kitchen. The incorporated smokehouse with original creosote-covered walls and meat-drying hooks still remain.
Funds raised during the Harford tour will help relocate and refurbish the Aberdeen train station, which is the last wooden train station connecting Philadelphia and Baltimore, designed by noted architect Fran Furness.
The Talbot County tour contains eight properties, themed “grand and gracious” by Talbot County Co-Chairs Rita Osgood and Meg vandenBerg. Combining the new and old, the tour features the Talbot Historical Society Gardens, two grand in town homes in downtown Easton, the county seat since 1778, and five gracious waterfront estates, all wth lovely interior and stunnig gardens designed to capture the beauty of he Eastern Shore.
Hidden from the beautiful main gardens at the Easton home on South Harrison Street, there is a secret garden, tucked away and unseen. “It is a wonderful place to sit and listen to the soft hum of bees buzzing over lavender along the path” said Osgood. ” A fun place for visitors to seek out and enjoy a quiet moment.”, she continued.
“I think this year’s Talbot’s tour will be magical, like stepping into the pages of Architectural Digest and being able to spend the day gathering incredible decorating and gardenng ideas,” Osgood said.
Talbot County is steeped in more than 350 years of American history and, with more than 600 miles of waterfront, visitors will travel through history as three of the waterfront estates date from the 17th, 18th, and 20th centuries while several others have been built to exacting specificatons replicatng that period in time.
Cedar Point Farm, a columned white manor house dating back to the 18th century, is situated at the bend of the Tred Avon River. The manor house offers old, prized antiques and cherished collections, all to affect an elegant and luxurious country home. Visitors may explore the manor house, guest cottage, and boathouse. ” The guest cottage has a wonderfully whimsical fresh feel with incredible decor.” said Osgood. In the guest cottage, visitors will see a framed collection of vintage swimsuits on the staircase leading to the second floor, as well as the 1940’s red retro kitchen.
Harleigh, an elegant 19th century manor on Trippe Creek is all about the land- preservation and conservation, birds and wildlife, featuring extensive formal and farm-to-kitchen table gardens. Visitors will enter the house near the gardens, viewing the pantry and kitchen before enjoyng notable artwork and family treasurers in the home where the color red prevails. With a late spring, visitors may marvel at more than one million daffodils lining the driveway to the main house.
At Millwood, experience 20th century living on the Eastern Shore beneath 100-year-old trees. Visitors will see a genuine “Trumeau”, an 18th century hand-painted and carved wall panel, placed over the living room fireplace.Across lush lawns and past the swimming pool, Trippe Creek is visible from every room.
Kinsley, a newly constructed Georgian brick house, is detailed copy of the original President’s House(circa 1730) at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg. It sits among mature trees where it is the centerpiece of an earlier planation layout featuring formal gardens with speciman plants, a restored boxwood garden and newly added kitchen garden.
“All the properties inTalbot are spectacular,” said Osgood. “but they are also very different. It will not feel like you’re going to the same house and garden eight times.”
Funds raised during the Talbot tour will go to the Church of the Holy Trinity in Oxford to help restore the church’s historic bell tower. The new renovations will reflect the church’s neo-Gothic architecture from 1853.
The Baltimore County tour contains eight properties, including several farms, homes, and a church, all first time tour inclusions. The tour focuses on the village of Monkton, which was originally developed around a water-powered gristmill and later became a station on the Northern Central Railway.
“Because the railroad no longer passes through, many tour visitors might not have a chance to see Monkton otherwise.” said Whedbee. “Visitors should have a very enjoyable day seeing a part of the county that is rarely accessed,” she said.
The first home on the tour - Merrifield Farms- is a renovated farmhouse with “over-the-top” gardens, said Whedbee. As visitors approach the house, they are greeted by boxwoods. One side of the home contains a shady formal garden comprised of evergreens, hydrangeas, and perennials. The opposite end contains a natural, soft, woodland garden leading to a gated stone wall protecting a secret garden.
Also on the tour is Dovecote, a 180-acre farm on My Lady’s Manor, which dates back to the mid-18th century. Today, the farm contains crops, an equestrian facility, polo activities, and fox hunters. The farm’s main house was built in the 1950s, and the guest house was built centuries earlier, in the late 18th century.
As the tour progresses, the homes move closer to the village of Monkton. There, visitors will find three homes original to the settlement, dating back to the late 18th century.
Funds raised during the Baltimore tour will support the Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County. The Alliance preserves historic properties in Baltimore County through education, research, technical assistance, and policy formation.
The Charles County tour contains eight properties, including the Charles County Maryland Veterans Museum and the home of former Confederate Mail Agent Thomas Jones, who aided President Abraham Lincoln’s assassin in 1865. For Willett, finding properties for this Pilgrimage was one big adventure.
“I was curious about properties I had never seen before,” said Willett, a lifelong Charles County resident. Willett set about finding historical properties that had not been on tour in several years. Three of this year’s properties predate the Revolutionary War: Burlean Hall, Timber Neck, and Chandler’s Hope.
Willett’s grandmother helped organize the Charles County tour in 1960. Burlean Hall, a three-part telescopic house built in the late 18th century, was on the tour that year, but has not been on tour since. After obtaining papers from the 1960 tour through her mother, Willett relocated the long-lost home on a website for historic properties.On her first visit to Burlean, Willett met the new homeowners-an artist who creates movie sets in NewYork City and a trainer for champion German shepherds. The homeowners were thrilled to put the house on this year’s tour, and still have the 1960 tour book on hand. Notably, the home overlooks Zekiah Swamp and Allen’s Fresh, and the land was originally settled by Algonquin Indians.
Timber Neck may be the county’s earliest example of a two-and-a half story, three bay, side passage Federalist style home., built between 1780 and 1790 by Col. Belaine Posey. Previously, Posey had served as captain in the Continental Army, and had recruited a company of men from Charles County in July 1776 to join Gen. George Washington in New Yok. The home features a double chimney, as well as an ante-bellum top balcony, added in 1995.
Also on the tour is Huckleberry House, the primary residence of Thomas Jones, who assisted John Wilkes Booth and David Nelson as they eluded capture from the Army in 1865 after Lincoln’s assassination. Huckleberry House sits on the front of the Loyola Retreat House grounds, a Jesuit retreat house that opened in 1958 and welcomes 5,500 guests each year.
Funds raised during the Charles tour will support the Charles County Veterans Museum, which will use the funds to enlarge and enhance exhibits about the Revolutionary War in preparation for events commemorating its 240th anniversary.
To identify a county chair or for specific county tour details, please contact Kathy Smith, MHGP Executive Director, at 410-821-6933. For more information, tour details and tickets, please visit www.mhgp.org or call 410-821-6933, Monday - Thursday, 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage (MHGP), a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of architecturally significant properties in the State of Maryland. The Pilgrimage has remained constant with this purpose since its formation in 1937. It is the only statewide house and garden tour organization and the oldest tour in the State of Maryland, raising and distributing well over $1 million dollars in its 78-year history to support preservation projects in each host community.
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Photo Cut Line: This property on on display during the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage in May. Homes dating from the 1700’s to the present in Queen Anne’s, Harford, Talbot, Baltmore, and Charles will be visited.
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Photo Cut Line: The Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage tours run from April 30 to May 28 in Queen Anne’s Harford, Baltimore County, Talbot, and Charles
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Maryland Public Television tours a 2014 Baltimore County Pilgrimage home in White Hall. Nancy Yamada is the reporter.