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Christmas house tours planned in Urbanna

The chill is in the air, football games abound, children of all ages are wishing for snowflakes, and one sees and feels festive spirits everywhere. The holidays are here again and it’s time to experience the “wonderful life” of historic Urbanna with its annual Christmas House Tour on Saturday, December 6. 

As always there will be a variety of interesting homes and holiday decorations to enjoy, and maybe even take home a few special gifts this year as well as the usual bountiful host of decorating ideas. Homes this year include a restored farm house, homes with many antiques, new homes with breathtaking water vistas, and a plantation home from the 1600s.

The stops on Saturday’s tour include Rosegill Plantation, The Farmhouse at Remlik Hall Farm, Cottage at Poynt Quarter, The Pierce House, Molly’s Way, the new Middlesex Art Guild Gallery, Historic Middlesex County Courthouse (Woman’s Club building), James Mill Scottish Factor Store (Old Tobacco Warehouse), and Urbanna United Methodist Church.

A special feature this year includes a designer showcase of decorated rooms at Rosegill, Urbanna’s plantation home from the 1600s. Local decorators and designers have each selected rooms to feature and showcase their special style and flair and will offer items to be ordered or purchased. The special designers and decorators selected for this year’s event include Cyndy’s Bynn, Urbanna Antique Mall, Richmond Antique Mall, The Garden Club, Snug Harbor Interiors, Annie Rooney Antiques, Chesapeake & Crescent, Interior Innovations, and Forget Me Not.

Hours for the tour are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine, with free parking and shuttle busses leaving regularly from Urbanna United Methodist Church parking lot.

The tour is sponsored by the Urbanna Beautification Committee and the Urbanna Business Association along with the Town of Urbanna. Proceeds will be used toward several beautification projects in progress such as new sidewalks, lamp posts, landscaping and benches. 

The shops will be open along with area restaurants so tour-goers can finish up or start holiday shopping. The many unique and fun places to shop offer up just the right gift.

Visitors are invited to come for the weekend, book a room at one of the local bed and breakfasts (both have been on the tour in the past) or local motels and enjoy the Christmas Parade on Friday night and the Christmas House Tour on Saturday. 

Dine in one of the area restaurants (some new ones since last year), stroll through town, visit one of the churches on Sunday morning, and then enjoy the new “It’s A Wonderful Life—Christmas In Historic Urbanna” tour on Sunday, December 7, from noon to 4 p.m. featuring Rosegill Plantation and Lansdowne, which will feature two of Urbanna’s most historic homes. Enjoy the featured designers and the individual rooms they have decorated at Rosegill and shop for favorite items. At Lansdowne, experience the feel and refinement of colonial times during the holidays. Both homes will feature musical entertainment and light refreshments.

Tickets for the Urbanna Christmas House Tour on Saturday remain $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour, and can be purchased at the following locations in Urbanna: Cyndy’s Bynn, R.S. Bristow Store, Papeterie, Make Thyme, The Wild Bunch Flowers and Hampton House in Richmond. Call the Town of Urbanna at 804-758-2613 or Mary Ellen Cardwell at 758-4501 for more information. 

Tickets for the “It’s A Wonderful Life—Christmas In Historic Urbanna” tour on Sunday are $10 and can be purchased in advance at the above locations or at the door at Lansdowne or Rosegill on the day of the tour. Parking is available on the street in town and on the grounds at Rosegill. Shuttle buses will not be available for Sunday’s tour.

Each week one or two stops on the tours will be featured in the Southside Sentinel.

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse
The old Farmhouse on Remlik Hall was built around 1910, shortly after Willis Sharpe Kilmer bought the property. It was originally a simple, square 2½-story structure with pine flooring and two-over-two windows typical of the period. There were large porches on the front and back, and a full basement used as a dairy.

When Virgil Gill came to manage the farm and raise turkeys during the 1940s, he remodeled the house by converting the back porch to a pine-paneled dining room. He removed the parlor wall to make a large living room with a fireplace and installed hardwood floors, twelve-over-twelve windows and colonial trim and molding.

Dan and Barbara Gill lived in the house from 1973 until they built “Sunderland,” their Colonial Medieval home, in 1996. At “The Farmhouse,” they replaced the chimney and fireplace, which is now faced with brick recovered from a hand-dug well on the farm.

The present owners of “The Farmhouse,” George and Sandy Sturgill, completely remodeled, stabilized, modernized and expanded the old house. They have successfully retained the charm and homey comfort of the original structure, so dear to many generations.

Cottage at Poynt Quarter

Cottage at Poynt Quarter
“Cottage at Poynt Quarter” is a parcel from the old Kilmer Hall Estate, which still has two of the brick pillar entrances built in the 1920s. The parcel borders Cedar Pointe subdivision at Remlik.

The house was built in 2007, taken from a Southern Living plan by architect John Lee. The idea was to have an open space home and large viewing deck, with the look of a New England Cottage.

“The Cottage” overlooks LaGrange Creek and the Rappahannock River, sharing the original Cedar Point with another home. There is also a salt pond on the property that has deep water mooring and was where skipjacks anchored so as to allow their owners closer access to the then working river. This saved the skipjacks sail time and was in close proximity to an old oyster camp store during the 1920s and 1930s.

The area is a favorite nesting area of bald eagles and wintering area for many species of waterfowl.

posted 10.29.2008

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