Town of Washington rolls out the welcome mat for Saturday’s garden tour

Visitors to descend on county for Historic Garden Week

The Inn at Little Washington will also be opening its many breathtaking gardens to hundreds of tour-goers this Saturday. Photo by John McCaslin

Historic Garden Week tours are the perfect way to enjoy Virginia’s unique regions, and this year Rappahannock County residents needn’t travel far to behold some of the Old Dominion’s finest homes and gardens.

The much-anticipated Town of Washington garden and home tour is finally upon us — Saturday, April 29, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. — offering a glimpse inside four grand homes with gardens, one manor home undergoing restoration, the gardens of the Inn at Little Washington, and historic Trinity Episcopal Church — all within a three-mile radius.

Tour homes include:

Among the beautiful homes chosen for this Saturday’s Historic Garden Week is “The Meadows,” dating to the 1700s and listed on the National Historic Register. Courtesy of Garden Club of Virginia

The Meadows, a unique home constructed in three phases during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, and reflecting the style and ambiance characterizing each century. The property sits on land originally granted by the Virginia Colony to Thomas Kennelly in 1735. The house is only two blocks from the center of town of Washington and is enhanced by gardens, original ice, and spring, and smoke houses as well as terraces, a pond, pool and views of the town and adjacent mountains. The Meadows is listed on the National Historic Register. Beverly and John Fox Sullivan, owners

Jessamine Hill, a manor house located near Washington in the foreground of the Blue Ridge, was built in the 1830s for Thomas Fletcher by James Leake Powers, a master craftsman, who worked under Thomas Jefferson on the University of Virginia. The garden was originally laid out in the 19th century. Large boxwoods circle the front of the house and the formal boxwood garden, including a boxwood pathway leading to a lake. The home has been meticulously restored and decorated with period furnishings, including an original portrait of Thomas Fletcher. John Anderson, owner

Greenfield Inn was built between 1767 and 1769. In its early heyday, the home was known in for its well-attended parties and dances, especially the Virginia reel. Home to prominent families related to presidents George Washington, James Madison and Zachary Taylor, it was also a school and headquarters to both the North and the South during the Civil War. The gardens of this beautifully restored property include plants grown in the 1700s through the 1800s. Audrey and Alfred Regnery, owners

The Lodge at Rush River Springs, built in 1992, was the project of Georgetown architect Outerbridge Horsey VII, whose design was influenced by the worldwide travels of the original owners, Catherine and Richard Bull. The early hardscape was designed by Georgetown’s Florence Everts, architect of the gardens at the American Embassy in Baghdad. The first woodland garden was created by Mrs. Bull, a horticulturist in her family tradition — her grandfather, Clarence Stark of the Stark Nurseries family propagated and patented the Delicious apple in 1893. The current owners built a three-story addition, and doubled the gardens. Sarah and Bill Walton, owners

Avon Hall, an historic home and a landmark in Washington, is currently at the beginning of a major restoration. Visitors will have the unique opportunity to see this property as its repair begins. This evolved Colonial Revival-style manor home constructed between 1796 and 1803, originally stood on Gay Street, where it thrived for many years as Thorn’s Tavern before being relocated to its current setting near the entrance of Town. When it was the in-town estate of the civic-minded William Carrigan, Avon Hall attracted crowds every Fourth of July for picnics and fireworks around its iconic pond. Bill Fischer and Drew Mitchell, owners

Trinity Episcopal Church is an example of a Country or Carpenter Gothic-style church. This c.1857 structure originally had a board and batten exterior, which was covered in pebble-dash stucco in 1924. James Leake Powers, the master craftsman hired to build the church, had worked with Thomas Jefferson in building the University of Virginia.

Adding to the special day, “plein air” artists will be painting in the gardens from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Plein air painting takes its name from the French phrase “en plein air” meaning “in open air” and was first popularized by the French Impressionists, who painted en plein air to better study the effects of natural light on their subjects.

Following the garden tour, which is hosted by The Garden Club of Warren County, these paintings will be sold in silent auction at Tula’s restaurant at 5:30 p.m.

Participating artists include:

Nora Harrington, whose paintings are in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and Europe. Nora’s paintings are exhibited locally at R. H. Ballard Gallery in Washington.

Davette Leonard studied at the University of Mary Washington, the School of Visual Arts in NYC, the Corcoran School of Art, and the National Gallery of Art. Her work is shown at the Berkley Gallery in Warrenton.

Christopher Stephens’ sweeping landscapes of the Shenandoah Valley are exhibited from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C., as well as in New England and the South. His paintings are displayed locally at Haley Fine Art in Sperryville.

Armand Cabrera spent two decades as a production artist in the computer games and entertainments industry. His clients includes Disney, Nickelodeon, Microsoft, and Paramount Pictures. He has been juried into respected plein air exhibitions across the country. His paintings can be seen in The Tavern Shops at The Inn at Little Washington.

Kathy Chumley lives and paints in the picturesque Shenandoah Valley near Winchester. Painting in oil on panel or canvas, she finds inspiration in the beauty that surrounds her. Her paintings can be seen at the Cottage Curator in Sperryville, and Once upon a Find in Winchester.

Nedra Smith has studied with some of the best painters in the country, including Kevin Macpherson, Scott Christensen, William Schneider, Carolyn Anderson, Roger Dale Brown, Anthony Ryder and William Woodward. Nedra is on the board of The Rappahannock Association for the Arts and The Community.

Tickets: $40 per person, available at Trinity Episcopal Church, 379 Gay Street in Washington; Tula’s at 311 Gay Street; or $15 per individual house at each location. 

By Beth DeBergh
Special to the Rappahannock News


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