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Tour to feature homes & gardens of Middlesex


Every April, the Garden Club of Virginia welcomes visitors to more than 250 of Virginia’s most beautiful gardens, homes, and historic landmarks. This year the Garden Club of the Middle Peninsula’s tour is a magnificent offering of waterfront and historic homes and gardens in Middlesex County. Historic Garden Week offers visitors the unique opportunity to leisurely explore the beauty of these fine properties.

The tour this year is on Friday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The theme is “Civil War History along Our Waterways.”

Five waterfront homes will be open for the tour as well as Christ Church Parish, Lower United Methodist Church, Deltaville Maritime Museum and Holly Point Nature Park, Middlesex County Museum and Historical Society, and the Kelly House. The Kelly House is a typical Virginia planter’s house of the 1840s period. After more than 75 years of neglect and decline, it was refurbished in 2006 by the descendants of William Henry and Nancy Mitchell Hancock Kelly.

The oldest home on the tour is one tour-goers don’t want to miss. Fronting on the Piankatank River, the original one-and-one-half story Providence is one of the oldest brick homes in Middlesex County. A brick above the riverfront porch and county records dating back to the 1760s reveal that this property belonged at that time to William Morgan.

Approaching the home today, one is drawn to the beauty of the tree-lined drive and the expansive ever-blooming formal, sun and shade gardens, displayed with over 40,000 bulbs, perennials, and 100 hydrangeas. This beautifully-restored home, featuring two new wings with massive brick walls and chimneys, shares the grounds with a new guest cottage, pool, and dock.

Once inside, visitors will note that this “Tidewater” house still bears its original rooms, stairs, and hand-hewn beams. Beautifully appointed with Southern antiques, Chinese Canton, and a mural moved from the owner’s home in Richmond, Providence is open for garden week courtesy of its owners, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Cawthorn.

While at Providence, tour-goers can meet with Master Gardeners or walk down to the water where a restored oyster buyboat, “F.D. Crockett,” will be available for a free tour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The boat will have a docent from the Deltaville Maritime Museum to answer questions.

Other homes on the tour include:

Millmont, built in 1810, is situated on a hill overlooking Mill Creek with spectacular views of the Rappahannock River.

Urbanna Light, a home modeled after a lighthouse on a St. Lawrence Seaway Island, stands majestically over the harbor of Urbanna.

The Cryer House, a French country home fronting LaGrange Creek and the Rappahannock River, is surrounded by whimsical animal statuary and gardens that feature native Virginia plants and Coastal Honshu Japanese plants.

The LeBouef House is a contemporary home situated on a high bluff overlooking the Piankatank River facing the Chesapeake Bay, with a beautiful pool and river garden.

One ticket for $25 will get you admittance to all of the homes and gardens. Tickets are $30 the day of the tour and $25 in advance. For internet tickets, visit Tickets for children are free ages 5 and under, half-price for ages 6-12, and full price for age 13 and older. Children under age 17 must be accompanied by an adult.

Advance tickets for $25 may be ordered by mail from Mrs. R. Tyler Bland III, P.O. Box 31, West Point, VA 23181. Send payment with a self-addressed stamped envelope, payable to the Garden Club of the Middle Peninsula by April 18. For questions, please call 804-843-2731.

Box lunches will be available at the Church of the Visitation, 8462 General Puller Highway in Topping (Route 33E, .7 mile from the light at the intersection of Routes 33 and 3) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Reservations are required by April 20. Send check for $15 made out to the Church of the Visitation and choose either chicken or seafood. Mail the check to: Mrs. David R. Suyes, 1172 North End Road, Deltaville, VA 23043; telephone 804-776-0666.

Money raised from the tour funds the restoration and preservation of Virginia’s historic gardens. If you have questions about the tour, call tour chairman, Marilyn South (Mrs. W. David) at 776-6983.

posted 03.21.2012

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