This is a past tour--for information only
Sunday, May 20, 2018
10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
With its horses, harbors, and history, Cecil County is an ideal place to live and visit. Cecil is located at the top of the Chesapeake Bay where five major rivers converge. The county is positioned midway between Baltimore and Philadelphia, with easy access to New York and Washington, D.C. Millions of people pass through on the busy I-95 corridor without stopping to savor the rich heritage and peaceful way of life the county offers. Those who do will find sandy beaches and quiet harbors along the 200 miles of waterfront, historic towns with museums and places of interest, and excellent restaurants offering everything from gourmet cuisine to crabs and beer. The county is also known as horse country for the thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses raised and trained here, as well as being home to a world-class dressage facility, local and international horse trials. Cecil County’s first settlement was a trading post near the mouth of the Susquehanna River established in the early 1600s. In the 1700s, the county’s boundaries were established as the Sassafras River to the south, the Susquehanna River to the west, the state of Delaware to the east, and Pennsylvania to the north. The area became an important agricultural center with a robust grain market and tobacco industry. Granite and iron were also important to the county’s prosperity. With its central location, the county drew many important political and military figures during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. In the early 1800s, construction began on the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, a vital link that spanned the 14 miles between the two bays. Its completion in 1829 reduced the length of water travel between Philadelphia and Baltimore by more than 300 miles. Originally known as Head of Elk, the town of Elkton became the county’s center for industry and transportation in the 19th century. It supplied paper, grain, wood, soapstone, and chrome to surrounding areas. Today, it still serves as the county seat and a geographical center where two major routes converge (Route 40 east-west and Route 213 north-south). Cecil County is located within a few hours’ drive of one-third of the nation’s population. This proximity, along with the county’s history, recreational opportunities, five rivers, world-class equestrian centers, and rural atmosphere, make Cecil an ideal place to live, visit, and return to again and again. Southern Cecil County features historic waterfront towns, estates, churches, and pastoral farmland. It is the gateway to the Eastern Shore. The bountiful farmland in southern Cecil County is home to stunning plantations, manor houses, and thoroughbred breeding farms, which are among the most beautiful in Maryland.
Chair: Lee Vosters
Co-Chair: Paige Howard
Committee Chairs: Finance: Debbie Brown. Flowers: Greenfingers Garden Club. Road Marking: Amy Hopkins Daney. Hostesses: Ashlee Vosters, Christina Foley, Candy Davis and Martha Hopkins.
Special Projects: Mount Harmon Plantation and Saint Augustine Church. Tour proceeds will benefit the Friends of Mount Harmon, Inc., whose mission is to preserve and interpret Mount Harmon for the public’s education and enjoyment. Mount Harmon is the northern most colonial-era tidewater plantation open to the public and is a historic and scenic treasure. Mount Harmon features a brick Georgian manor house c. 1730, plantation kitchen, smokehouse, tobacco barn and prize house, formal boxwood garden, and 200-acre waterfront nature preserve. Tour proceeds will also benefit Saint Augustine Church’s preservation fund, to aid in the restoration of pressing repairs to one of Cecil County’s most historic churches.
Suggestions for Lunch:
Chesapeake City/North End of Tour:
Historic Chesapeake City offers an array of good options for lunch and is only 3.6 miles from the first stop and northern end of the tour. It is renowned for its history, restaurants (Bayard House, Chesapeake Inn, Prime 225, and Bohemia Café), and waterfront village charm.
The Bayard House, 11 Bohemia Avenue, Chesapeake City 21915, 410-885-5040.
Bohemia Café, 401 2nd Street, Chesapeake City 21915, 410-885-3066.
Chesapeake Inn Restaurant, 605 Second Street, Chesapeake City 21915, 410-885-2040.
Prime 225, 225 Bohemia Avenue, Chesapeake City 21915, 410-885-7009.
Historic Fredericktown offers several good options for lunch and is 7.5 miles from Mount Harmon, the southern most stop on the tour, and is renowned for its waterfront restaurants including the Granary Restaurant, Signals at Skipjack Cove, as well as the Sassafras Harbor Café, where you can have a quick lunch.
The Granary Restaurant, 100 George Street, Georgetown 21930, 410-275-1603.
Sassafras Harbour Café, 1 George Street, Georgetown 21930, 410-275-4416.
Signals Restaurant at Skipjack Cove Marina, 150 Skipjack Road, Georgetown 21930, 410-275-2122.
1. Saint Augustine Episcopal Church
920 Cayots Corner Road, Chesapeake City 21915. St. Augustine Church, originally called the Manor Chapel, was one of the 30 churches paying tithes to the Bishop of London in 1690. It was the place of worship for the early settlers of Bohemia Manor, an estate granted to Augustine Herman by Lord Baltimore in 1660. In 1733, Augustine Parish was formed, embracing “all that land between the Elk and Bohemia Rivers.” The first church was a brick building with a hipped roof and a heavy wooden cornice around the four sides. It was still being used in 1816. Now only a depression in the ground marks the spot. The current white clapboard church was built in the 1830s consisting of a plain Doric style with three large windows at either side, and two windows and entrance at the west end. The inside is charming and colonial in style, with simple bench seats and box stalls. In 1962, the Society for the Preservation and Restoration of Old St. Augustine was formed. Its purpose was to restore the Church to a period that would coincide with the lifetime of Augustine Herman, who was born in Prague in the early part of the seventeenth century. Cecelius Calvert, the 2nd Lord Baltimore, commissioned Augustine Herman to map Maryland and environs. In payment for the completion of this, AugustineHerman was granted 20,000 acres of his choosing. He so loved the gently rolling landscape and the Bohemia River he selected this area of Cecil County. Money was raised and many historic items were donated to help preserve St. Augustine Church. The altar and prayer benches are adorned with needlepoint cushions handmade by local parishioners. A two-story log cabin was donated to the parish and erected next to St. Augustine Church by Allaire du Pont, a lifelong parishioner. This cabin was a gift to Mrs. du Pont from her husband Richard, and was moved to its current location from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The log cabin is a Vestry House and contains a meeting room, office for the rector, and a room for Sunday School. St. Augustine Church, Woodstock Farm (Mrs. du Pont’s former home) and Bohemia Manor, included in this tour, and are also part of the original land grant to Augustine Herman. As you progress on the tour, you will learn more about Augustine Herman and a few centuries later, the du Pont family’s impact and legacy in Cecil County.
2. Woodstock Farm and Kelso Memorial
Preservationist, philanthropist and thoroughbred breeder, Allaire du Pont, came to Cecil County to raise her famed Bohemia Stables thoroughbreds, and established Woodstock Farm as her base for breeding and training. The Farm was home to her legendary racehorse Kelso, Horse of the Year for an unmatched five consecutive years, 1960 through 1964. Mrs. du Pont installed colonial millwork and mantels, which make the interior feel a century earlier than the more Victorian-era exterior. Beautiful specimen plantings and a majestic tree-lined farm lane flanked by fences and horses grazing will remind you why Cecil County is known as horse country. Along the drive, you will pass lush pastures on both sides where Kelso once reigned as king. His gravesite and memorial are on the right side of the lane, just before the main house. Mrs. du Pont was instrumental in preserving both historic Chesapeake City and much of the surrounding farmland, which remains pristine today thanks to her vision and leadership. Her conservation efforts created the largest parcel of preserved agricultural land on the Eastern Shore. Current owners Georgia and Richard Renck are gracious stewards of Mrs. du Pont's Woodstock farmhouse. Visitors will enjoy their collection of antiques and family heirlooms. As you head to your next stop on the tour, enjoy the beautiful horse country, she helped to preserve. Hungry for lunch? Stop at nearby Chesapeake City, a charming and historic waterfront town with a variety of good options (see recommended restaurants at beginning of section). For the next stop, we will time travel back to Cecil County’s founding with a visit to Bohemia Manor.
3. Bohemia Manor
Bohemia Manor is one of Cecil County’s most historic sites and was founded in 1661 by Augustine Herman, the noted Czech merchant and cartographer. Augustine Herman named it as a tribute to his homeland of Prague, Kingdom of Bohemia. Herman was granted the land from Lord Baltimore, Cecilius Calvert, in recognition for creating the first extensive and accurate map of
the Chesapeake Bay coastline. In 1920, Senator Thomas Bayard, a direct descendant of Augustine Herman, built the classic Georgian manor house on the property. The estate remained in the hands of Herman’s descendants, most recently the Bayard family of Delaware, for more than 350 years, until 2003. The prior and current owners purchased the property and restored it with the help of the nationally renowned firms of Archer-Buchanan Architecture and Dewson Construction. This historic waterfront property features 3,600 feet of water frontage on the Bohemia River and 2,900 feet on Manor Creek, hundreds of acres of tillable fields, waterfowl impoundments, impeccably maintained lawns, panoramic views and privacy abound. This property is also the ideal hunting estate, complete with temperature controlled storage rooms for game storage. This manor home offers luxurious amenities, including 11 bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, a grand ballroom, exquisite period wall coverings, 10 fireplaces, and gourmet kitchen, as well as a guest /caretaker’s cottage and two detached garages. Bohemia Manor is the original home of Augustine Herman (the ruins are now all that remain). His land grant extended from the Bohemia River to Back Creek to the north (present day C & D Canal). A popular legend tells of Augustine Herman’s beloved stallion, Casperus, being buried in a mausoleum along the entrance lane. Herman named one of his sons after his horse! This was to honor his heroic escape on Casperus from imprisonment in a fort in New York (after the Dutch found his allegiances were closer to the English). Herman’s horse saved his life by carrying him back safely to his beloved Bohemia Manor. Herman was buried with his steed upon his death in 1686.
4. Chateaux Bu-De Vineyard & Winery
237 Bohemia Manor Farm Lane, Chesapeake City 21915. The Winery at Chateau Bu-De, a 44-acre Bohemia Manor Farm, was built in 2015 by Nowland Associates. The building was designed by proprietor, Brenda Dedrick, and is modeled after the architecture of the Old Clock Tower in Prague, Czech Republic, which pays homage to Augustine Herman’s heritage. No expense was spared as the proprietors modeled their vineyard practices after top wine producers in Europe and Napa Valley. The Winery is a state-of-the art wine production facility with stainless steel tanks specially designed for Chateau Bu-De in South Africa. It produces fine Maryland wines by winemaker, Jacques van der Vyver. Take a tour of the Winery and then visit the newly completed Tasting Room to enjoy the wines. Chateau Bu-De overlooks the Bohemia River to the west, offering beautiful river views and sunsets.
5. Worsell Manor
Worsell Manor originated as a land grant in 1683. The fertile lands of southern Cecil County and their proximity to shipping routes along County rivers and the nearby Chesapeake Bay, spawned southern style brick Georgian manor houses. Like many English Country houses from the colonial period, they were symmetrical and had central front entrance halls, with flanking rooms used for dining and entertaining. Worsell Manor has unique corner fireplaces and many original architectural features. The property’s first land grant was to Major Peter Sayer, on the south side of the Bohemia River and east side of a branch of Smith Creek. Worsell Manor traces its name back to Warwick, England. The Heath family moved from Warwick England to come to the Maryland colonies and eventually built The Manor. Worsell Manor is a mid-Georgian country house of the plantation elite in Cecil County, surrounded by pastoral farmland that brought waves of English nobles and merchants to the colonies to seek their fortunes. The Heaths were wealthy English merchants and powerful local civic and catholic leaders in the County. The Heaths founded and laid out the town of Warwick, and also owned a large plantation to the south, Mount Harmon. Worsell Manor has been beautifully restored and furnished in the colonial style. During colonial times, the Manor is reported to have hosted George Washington for overnight stays.
6. The Rounds
The Rounds is a brick Georgian manor house that dates to 1780, with sweeping views of the Little Bohemia River. The L-shaped main block contains a central hall separating the two front rooms, with a third room directly behind the dinning room on the east. The L-shape of the main block with its symmetrical main elevation is a form often repeated even in early and mid 19th century houses in Cecil County. The arched fan light above the front door is a noteworthy architectural fenestration for the front hall and entrance. Several prominent families have resided at The Rounds. It was built to reflect the emerging wealth of gentry planters in the late 18th century. The Rounds was owned by John Rumsey until 1807. Judge David Davis was born here May 9, 1815 and later became an aid to President Abraham Lincoln and Supreme Court Justice. In more recent years, the house was owned by philanthropist and aviation pioneer Felix du Pont Jr., who enjoyed it as his country house and hunting lodge. The Rounds has been restored to reflect the colonial period, and has a lovely hand-painted wall mural in the dining room. The setting and architectural details of The Rounds place it apart as one of Cecil County’s hidden gems.
7. The Anchorage
The Anchorage is a brick Federal-style farmhouse. The sweeping view of The Anchorage called Commodore Jacob Jones home from his many voyages at sea where he earned a reward from Congress for his heroics battling Barbary pirates and chasing down ships of his Royal Majesty’s service 200 years ago. Originally built in 1710 by the Lusby family, the Commodore added extensively to The Anchorage in 1835, adding a 2½ story Georgian main house with paneled front door and fanlight, wide plank floors, elaborate wood moldings—all lovely and preserved. The 1710 portion of this property is presented in the classic Williamsburg style for guests to enjoy the dining area, with the rest paying homage to the Georgian period the Commodore favored.
8. Brick House Farm
Brick House Farm is a beautiful family farm and home to award-winning Sassafras River Beef, lovely perennial gardens, and restored Federal farmhouse. The land was purchased in 1821 by Hyland B. Pennington and was part of 3 Land Grants, “Kings Aim,” “Batemans Tryall” and “Frisby’s Forrest.” The three bay, Flemish bond house was built in 1824. Pennington was a merchant from Wilmington, Delaware who purchased the farm as an investment to capitalize on the rich farmland and nearby agricultural markets. The House was built for Pennington’s farm manager, and is simple in design, but somewhat more substantial than tenant houses of the early 19th century. Brick House Farm was purchased in the early 1930s from by James Woodall and his wife Justine Peverley Woodall. The farm was sold to Sydney D. Peverley Jr. in 1988. Many local families have farmed and raised their own families at Brick House Farm. Today, it is a 220-acre beef and grain family farm. Restoration of the farmhouse began in 1989 by current owners. An addition was added to the original structure in 1995 with a new kitchen, summer porch, and additional bath and bedrooms. Perennial and vegetable gardens as well as beautiful English-country inspired gardens adorn their home.
9. Mount Harmon
600 Mount Harmon Road, Earleville 21919. Mount Harmon is one of the few remaining colonial era plantations open to the public. The Plantation is situated on a peninsula formed by creeks and inlets of the Sassafras River, known on early maps as World’s End. This property features a manor house c. 1730, colonial kitchen, smoke house, formal boxwood garden, tobacco barn and prize house, 200-acre nature preserve, and a scenic waterfront location with nature trails, abundant wildlife and rare flora. Mount Harmon was a prosperous colonial era tobacco plantation, and features a beautifully restored brick Georgian manor house with fine arts and antique collection c. 1760-1810, that reflect its British and Scottish owners of that era. Mount Harmon was restored by a direct descendant of the colonial owners, Mrs. Margerite du Pont De Villiers Boden, who restored it to the period when her ancestors were prosperous merchants and traded with the British Isles. The property was an official colonial port and shipped tobacco for inland plantations, as well as its own crops. The furnishings reflect its British Georgian roots and has refined Georgian millwork and architectural details including widow’s walk, with Chinese Chippendale railing, dormers, and pedimented roof with dental cornice moldings and palladian windows. The interior is high-style Georgian to reflect the opulence of the planter elite in Cecil County. Floor to ceiling wainscoting, butterfly shelved corner cupboards, Corinthian columns and Scottish mantels adorn the interior and provide a stunning backdrop to the fine English, Scottish, and Irish antiques which represent Chippendale and Hepplewhite styles. Be sure to visit the plantation kitchen (an original building) and the reconstructed smokehouse, as well as the formal serpentine walled boxwood garden, rare tobacco prize house, and newly reconstructed tobacco barn. Mount Harmon represents another great chapter in the du Pont family’s heritage and passion for historic preservation in Cecil County. Today, Mount Harmon is owned and administered by the Friends of Mount Harmon, a group founded by Mrs. Boden’s daughter, Kip Kelso Crist. Friends of Mount Harmon continue to work to preserve, maintain, and operate Mount Harmon, an important historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. As you travel down the scenic two-mile lane, savor your time at this pristine and beautifully preserved and appointed manor house on the southern edge of our county. If you are at the southern end of the tour during lunch or dinner time, there are several noteworthy restaurants in nearby Fredericktown including The Granary and others (see area restaurants listing at beginning of Cecil County tour section).
We hope you have had a great MHGP in Cecil County, and enjoyed all of our County’s charms at the Head of the Bay, and will return often. We look forward to seeing you again soon!