Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage
maryland house and garden pilgimage
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10 am to 5 pm

Special Project: Preservation of Archives – Charlotte Hall School. In 1774, the Maryland Assembly ordered a school to be erected at Cool Springs in St. Mary’s County for the education of the youth of the province. The Colony owned 50 acres at the site which was known for its healing waters. The free schools of St. Mary’s, Charles, and Prince George’s united and one school was built at Ye Cool Springs. The school became known as Charlotte Hall Military Academy and contributed to the education of many students until it closed in 1976. The site is now the Charlotte Hall Veterans’ Home. Over 200 years of history is being compiled and restored by the Charlotte Hall School Board of Trustees. These records and artifacts are being preserved in the White House, a building that functioned over many years as a headmaster’s residence, classrooms, dormitory, infirmary, and dining hall. It has now been designated as an Historic Landmark. The White House, located on the right at the entrance to the site, has been provided to the Charlotte Hall School Board of Trustees as a museum facility to house the archive collection. The Trustees will share the school’s history with our visitors as they begin our pilgrimage at the northern border of St. Mary’s County before continuing to three other prominent communities farther south that include Charlotte Hall, Colton’s Point/Avenue, and Breton Bay.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~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 cutting 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 shorelines and traveled by water. In like fashion, today’s tour returns repeatedly toward the waters. Visitors will be offered multiple opportunities to stand at the end of these historic waters and view expanses of St. Clement’s Bay, Breton Bay, and the Wicomico River. In St. Mary’s County, the first settlers arrived on March 25, 1634, aboard the Ark and the Dove. They stopped at St. Clement’s Island where they gave thanks for their safe arrival. Proceeding up St. Mary’s River, they purchased from the Indians the village of Yaocomico with 30 miles of land, renaming the place “St. Maries.” The charter was written in 1632 for George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. When he died in 1634, before he could carry out his settlement plans, the charter was put into effect under Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, who became the first Proprietor. Cecilius sent his two brothers, Leonard and George, with about 140 settlers and adventurers to the new land where Leonard became the first governor of Maryland. St. Mary’s City was Maryland’s first capital and remained so until 1694 when the seat of government was moved to Annapolis. In 1708, the legislature ordered that a town be laid out at Breton Bay and that the county court of St. Mary’s be held there. First called Seymour Town, the name was changed in 1728 to Leonard Town, now Leonardtown. It is still the county seat. Descendants of some of the original families still own and occupy homes built by their ancestors.

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

ROUTES FROM BALTIMORE: Take I-97 South to #3 through Bowie to #301S toward Waldorf. Turn left at #5 bypass South toward Leonardtown/St. Mary’s City. Turn left onto #5S. Proceed to Charlotte Hall, MD. Approximately 2.0 mi. south of Charles County line, turn right onto Charlotte Hall School Rd.

FROM WASHINGTON, D.C OR WESTERN MARYLAND.: Take I-70 East to I-270 South to Washington, DC Beltway I-495 East. Follow I-495/I-95 to #5 South toward Waldorf. Turn left at #5 bypass South toward Leonardtown/St. Mary’s City. Continue above directions.

FROM EASTERN SHORE: Take #50 West past Annapolis to #301 South toward Waldorf. In Waldorf, make left at #5 bypass South toward Leonardtown/St. Mary’s City. Continue above directions.

FROM RICHMOND: Take I-95 to #207 to #301. Cross Potomac River Bridge. 4.0 mi. into MD, turn right onto #234 and continue to #236, Thompson’s Corner Rd. Turn left and continue to the intersection with #5N. Turn left and travel 0.4 mi. Turn left onto Charlotte Hall School Rd..

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

Delicious boxed lunches, catered by Quality Street Kitchens of Leonardtown, will be available, by pre-paid reservation made by April 27, for pick-up from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Port of Leonardtown Winery. Your check is your reservation. Please mail your check for $15, payable to the St. Mary’s County Garden Club, to Suzanne Patterson, 22996 Pine Needle Court, California, MD 20619. For additional information, please contact Suzanne at 301-862-1020 or email Visitors may also find several dining options in the town of Leonardtown.

~~~~~~WATER TAXI~~~~~~

A water taxi will be available at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm to take visitors to St. Clement’s Island, the site of Maryland’s first colonial landing in 1634, and the newly constructed Blackistone Lighthouse. The tour of the island and lighthouse will take one hour. The trip is free of charge, but advance reservations are required. Please contact 301-769-4723.



The Visitor’s Center is situated in a building once used by Charlotte Hall Military Academy, which first opened its doors in 1797. Visitors can view displays highlighting the history of St. Mary’s County and also have access to a rest stop before continuing on the tour. Within site of the Visitor Center is the beautifully restored White House, the only surviving building belonging to Charlotte Hall Military Academy. The “White House”, constructed in 1803, is a “two story brick building featuring a gambrel roof pierced by two interior end chimneys. Erected in Flemish bond, the five-bay building resembled a residence more than an all purpose school building. Built to increase dormitory space, it is the earliest surviving academic building in St. Mary’s County. Visitors can take a short walk to Dent Chapel, erected in 1883 in memory of the Charlotte Hall School’s principal and is considered to be one of the finest examples of Victorian Religious Gothic architecture in Maryland.



Near the shore of the Wicomico River stands this well preserved Maryland home. Architectural historians believe it to be the oldest documented brick building in Maryland, with a preliminary dendrochronology date of 1703. It is also felt to be the only surviving colonial ‘cruck roof’ structure in American. The restored parlor contains very early raised fielded paneling and box cornice. The bricks, which are of uncommon size, are in some areas laid in Flemish bond with unusually attractive glazed headers.



River Springs is “thought to have been built by George Blackistone (1780-1843)”. During the mid to late 1800s, his son, Dr. Richard Pinkney Blackistone, used the wings of rooms as lodgings for patients. In the early 1900s, Robert Deminieu Blackistone Sr. converted the structure to a resort hotel with a riverside gazebo for dancing in the evenings. During the 1930s, his children removed the wings and gazebo, and added a kitchen, three bathrooms, and a portico front porch, creating today’s “River Springs”, a private residence. River Springs overlooks St. Catherine’s Sound on the Wicomico River. The part of the property now known as “River Springs” contains 88 acres and includes the main residence, two cottages, and a working farm. “This two-and-a-half story, five-bay frame house in the Federal style displays much of its original fabric.”




This contemporary variation of a traditional farmhouse was built in 2009. It sits on the river side of a 25-acre parcel, of which 10 acres are cultivated and the remainder, lush woodland, enhanced by 800 feet of Potomac River waterfront and more than 1,000 feet on Dukehart’s Creek. The home’s large windows and full-view doors reveal expansive views of historic St. Clement’s Island and Virginia’s Northern Neck. An open plan on the first floor blends kitchen, dining and living room spaces, anchored by a stone wood-burning fireplace. A media room is entered through an archway at the far end. The finished basement has a game room, gas fireplace, wet bar, and bonus space. The second floor has a large, sunny master suite, guest rooms, and a cozy library.



St. Clement's Island was first land fall of the Maryland colonists in 1634. Over the centuries, as it passed through different hands of ownership, the Island was a prosperous farm, a popular vacation resort and a military testing facility. The St. Clement’s Island Museum was established in 1975. Here one can explore the island’s history through its exhibits and a brief video presentation. On the grounds one may visit the Charlotte Hall Schoolhouse built in 1820 and rescued from destruction by a former student in 1965.

Blackistone Lighthouse on St. Clement’s Island. Advance reservations required. (301) 769 4723. This replica lighthouse nestled in the Potomac River was built in 2008 through the efforts of the St. Clement’s Hundred. The original Blackistone Lighthouse, built by John Donahoo in 1851, was destroyed by fire in 1956. One can explore the two and one-half story Keeper’s quarters and climb the tower located in the center.



The Port of Leonardtown Winery is a COOP of ten local vineyards. Visitors can tour the Winery and find out about our award winning local wines! This location is also the lunch site for our tour. Reservations will be taken for boxed lunches catered by Quality Street Kitchens of Leonardtown, Maryland. Boxed lunches will be served from a tent by Garden Club hostesses. Restrooms are available in the Winery. In addition, visitors can walk along the shores of McIntosh Run, beautifully landscaped with native plants by the Town of Leonardtown. The entrance garden to the Winery was planted by the St. Mary’s County Garden Club and has a special marker.




Since the purchase of this brick rambler seven years ago, the owners have transformed and upgraded their home to take full advantage of the home’s expansive views of the Potomac River, Dukehart’s Creek, and St. Clement’s Island. Water views from virtually every room, plus a landscape plan that complements the vision the owners brought to the extensive interior renovations, make for a living experience that is pleasantly balanced both inside and out. The owners altered the home’s original spaces to create an open floor plan that is both dramatic and comfortable. The soaring living room ceiling imparts a spacious feeling, while the trey ceiling in the dining room area suggests intimacy. The family room, opening to a screened porch, is anchored by a stunning stone fireplace with a rustic driftwood mantel. At the other end of the house, the master bedroom opens to a private spa patio. Imaginative new landscaping and curving walkways offer a warm welcome to visitors.




Nestled among the trees and perched above Breton Bay, this modern “urban coastal” retreat invites visitors to relax and enjoy the views. The long, winding front stairs and striking arched windows create a dramatic entrance. The serene color palette and flowing floor plan promote both quiet relaxation and easy entertaining. Numerous custom features embrace the beauty of nature and the romance of the seas. Whitewashed bamboo flooring, custom mosaic tile in the kitchen, motorized TVs to maintain the views, dark bamboo ceiling and wall treatments, as well as interesting lighting all provide a backdrop to the decidedly nautical accents. A bamboo vaulted ceiling in the dining room is the canopy for a massive driftwood chandelier. The third floor is a perfect sanctuary for the yoga studio. Two hundred year old wood lines the bookcases and wall niche, and thus the old becomes new again. Golf anyone? Visit the putting green on the lower level. .



The original center portion of this house was built in 1890. Nearly 100 years later and after several subsequent additions, the present homeowners purchased the dilapidated, unoccupied house and property in 1989. It was determined that the center portion of the home (the 1890 section) was built on top of rocks and timbers as was common in those days. Two additional wings, believed to have been added to the house in the 1950’s, were built on basement foundations. The owners sought help from the local Mennonite community to stabilize the foundation. Picks, shovels, and even a horse was used to remove the two-story porch on the water-side of the home, and a basement was hand dug under the center portion. The house was eventually renovated to create a beach style, casual home now shingled in weathered gray shakes and clad with a metal roof. Entry to the home is through the original center portion, once two small rooms that have been combined to create a more usable space. The bricks used in the chimney in the living room are from an old Mennonite home that was destroyed by fire. The newly enlarged kitchen features a bead-board island/breakfast bar built by the owner, and several cabinets salvaged from the old home. The home is surrounded by a large brick patio, a grape arbor, and cottage-style gardens.



Built as a retirement home in 1998 the “beach style” home facing Breton Bay features the living quarters on the second floor, which provides a wonderful water view. Woodworking is the owners hobby, so he started by designing his dream shop. Soon he added three garages, and finally put a house on top! The three bedroom and three bath home features a number of pieces of furniture handmade over the years, including every item constructed of wood in the great room. The owner also did the painting and stenciling in most of the rooms of the house.



Originally built in 1756 by Major Abraham Barnes, this handsome, Georgian-style house became the home of Phillip Key, uncle of Francis Scott Key, composer of the Star Spangled Banner, in 1796. Unusual features of the house are the inset portico, the main hall’s hanging staircase, and a “triple fireplace” in the kitchen. The structure was constructed of Flemish bond brickwork, which was used almost exclusively in St. Mary’s during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The house, which grew and changed over the centuries, now represents what it was in 1820. The garden is guided by that date in its restorations, based on what is known to have actually been there, and what would have been typical for that period. Visitors will enjoy the beautiful boxwood garden and arboretum of native trees that has been planted on the site, and the English yew, reported to be well over 200 years old and 36 feet tall. In 2001, Master Gardeners planted 244 dwarf English boxwoods taken from cuttings of English boxwoods at Tudor Hall. This boxwood garden has steadily grown, and with the addition of garden benches and a sundial, provides a wonderful respite. Tudor Hall is a Maryland War of 1812 Site. It now serves as the research library for the St. Mary’s County Historical Society.




Aside from Tudor Hall, the Spalding Camalier House is the earliest structure intended as an in-town residence still standing in Leonardtown. Of distinctly late Federal character, the house is a two and one-half story side-passage plan dwelling. Boasting modest Greek Revival detailing and proportions, the exterior features painted wood lintels over the doors and windows and distinctive bridged chimneys situated on the north gable end. Dr. Andrew Jackson Spalding built the home in the mid 19th century. As story has it, he used bricks from the original County Jail, having purchased that structure when it was abandoned and put up for sale. Dr. Spalding’s wife, unfortunately, died soon after the house was built, and Dr. Spalding lost interest in the home. It was sold in quick succession to a number of owners including Frank Neale Holmes who also owned a store and the steamboat pier at the Leonardtown Wharf, and Leonardtown attorney John A. Camalier. Generations of the Camalier family owned the home until the mid 1970s. By then it had fallen into serious disrepair. The present owners bought the property in 1985, and have lived in the home since 2005.


Baltimore City: Bolton Hill | St Marys  | Talbot  | Howard  | Anne Arundel (North)

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3 Church Circle Suite 190  | Annapolis, MD 21401 | 410.821.6933

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