St. Mary's County

Saturday, May 21, 2022

10:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M.

 

St. Mary’s County lies on the peninsula bounded by the famous “Oyster Waters,” —of the Patuxent and Potomac Rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. The early settlers built on the shores and travelled by water. In like fashion, today’s tour features several waterfront homes and gardens in the Mechanicsville and Hollywood areas. George Calvert, First Lord Baltimore, petitioned King Charles I in the early 1600s for a land grant to establish a new colony where all religions could be practiced freely. George Calvert died before carrying out his settlement plans, and his son, Cecilius (Cecil) Calvert, Second Lord Baltimore, inherited his estate. In November 1633, Cecil sent his brother Leonard Calvert, along with 140 settlers and adventurers aboard the Ark and the Dove bound for Maryland. The two ships landed at St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634, marking the birth of the Maryland colony. The island was small, so after celebrating mass and giving thanks for their safe arrival, the settlers traveled further south on what is known today as the St. Mary’s River where they purchased from the Yaocomico Indians 30 miles of land, renaming it “St. Maries.” The Indians provided assistance while being established. St. Mary’s City became Maryland’s first capital and Leonard Calvert its first Governor. The capital was moved to Annapolis in 1694. In 1708, the legislature ordered that a town be laid out at Breton Bay and that the court of St. Mary’s be held there. First called Seymour Town, the name was changed in 1728 to Leonard Town, now Leonardtown. It remains the county seat.

 

Chairman: Beth Bonifant, 20525 Wellington Court, Colton’s Point, MD 20626, 301-861-6112, lbethbonifant@gmail.com;
Co-Chair, Dawn Szot 301-481-1000, dawnszot@comcast.net.

Advertisements: Pam Herold. Flowers: Judy Moe and Genise Rondina. Hostesses: Susan Tyner and Kimberly Westcoat. Luncheon: Duffy Boyd and Joyce Savage. Photography: Beth Bonifant. Publicity: Beth Bonifant and Kathy Glockner. Road Marking: Jenni McDevitt. Script: Kathy Glockner. Treasurer: Carolyn Seibert.

 

Special Project Descriptions: Tour proceeds will benefit two historical restoration projects.

In 1954, sixty-eight years ago, Hurricane Hazel damaged All Faith Episcopal Church, destroying its Chancel window and its roof. The Parishioners were able to repair the damages, including the installation of the current stained glass Rose Window in the Chancel by its now-famous designer Rowan LeCompte, who also designed and installed stained glass windows in the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. In addition, repairs were also made to the wooden interior at that time including a complete repainting and replastering of the main sanctuary. But time has taken a toll since the efforts in 1954, with plaster needing repairs, the Chancel altar area needing repainting, and other parts needing restoration. Worn to bare wood pews need repainting, as well as wainscoting to match the colonial green color that appears on the side wall trim. An attempt was made years ago to complete this project, but has stalled due to lack of funds. This 18th century Maryland National Register architectural masterpiece by noted architect Richard Boulton is in great need of this restoration work. 

 

The second project is Unearthing Maryland’s Early Manors. As Maryland’s 400th anniversary approaches, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) archaeologists and students hope to identify some of the earlier colonial settlements that lay beyond the bounds of St. Mary’s City but that have as yet not been identified, documented, and preserved. Most colonists lived on these plantations and yet only a handful have been located. The manor house sites of settler families including Thomas Cornwallis, Robert Slye, Marmaduke Snow, Thomas Notley, and many others as well as mission settlements associated with the Maryland Jesuits contain important clues about life in this early period. Funds received for this project will be used to pay student archaeologists (who will work under the direction of SMCM professional archaeologists) to undertake historical research, field and laboratory work, and analysis and interpretation.

 

Lunch: Chairman, Duffy Boyd 301-481-6090, duffyboyd@gmail.com and Joyce Savage. Delicious boxed lunches may be pre-purchased for $15. Lunches will be served or available to go from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Birch Hanger (Site #5). Limited seating capacity. Sandwich choices: turkey & Swiss; club (trio classic); roast beef; and vegetarian (all sandwiches served on fresh-baked bread). The sandwich selections come with a pickle, chips, side salad and a cookie. The salad option is a gluten-free chicken Caesar salad with gluten-free bread. All lunches include a bottle of water. Mail a check payable to SMCGC for $15 along with your lunch choice to: Duffy Boyd, PO Box 7, Chaptico, MD 20621. For additional information, contact Duffy at duffyboyd@gmail.com or call 301-481-6090. If you wish, please include your e-mail address or phone number for receipt confirmation. Your check is your reservation. Reservations are due no later than May 4, 2022. Visitors may also find several dining options in Mechanicsville and Charlotte Hall (off Rt. 5).

 

Restrooms: Available at Sites #1, #5 and #7.

 

In addition to the home and garden tours the following activities are scheduled:

 

Site #4: Wine tastings begin at noon, accompanied by the De La Brooke Foxhounds W Hunt Club demonstration at 1:30 p.m.

 

Site #6: Complimentary Bourbon samplings offered from 2 - 5 p.m.

 

Routes from:

 

BALTIMORE/ANNAPOLIS: Take any route to get to MD-5 and head South towards Mechanicsville to Rt. 6 (New Market Turner Road). In 2 miles, Site #1 is on your right.

 

WASHINGTON, D.C.: Take the Beltway (I-495) to MD-5 exit 7 and head SOUTH. Stay on MD-5 to Mechanicsville to Rt. 6 (New Market Turner Road). In 2 miles, Site #1 is on your right.

 

VIRGINIA: Cross the MD-301 Nice-Middleton Bridge, drive 6 miles and turn RIGHT onto MD-234 (Budd’s Creek Road) to Rt. 236 to Rt. 5 then right on Rt. 6 (New Market Turner Road). In 2 miles, Site #1 is on your right.

 

FOLLOW PILGRIMAGE GREEN ARROWS AND SIGNS.

 

1. All Faith Episcopal Church, 3885 New Market Turner Road, Mechanicsville 20659. Special Project: Tour proceeds will go to the All Faith restoration fund. All Faith Episcopal Parish and Church began in 1650 when land grant families and settlers arrived from England. These early Marylanders who resided along the Patuxent River included the Sothoron family of the Plains, the Truman family of Trent Neck (Trent Hall), the Brooke family of De La Brooke, and the Plater family of Sotterley. Rev. Robert Brooke of De La Brooke led worship services in the original All Faith log building in 1655. The original log church was rebuilt twice, in the 1690s and again in 1710. By 1766, the Vestry voted to build the present brick church of Georgian colonial design on the same wooden church sites. Noted architect Richard Boulton, who also designed portions of Sotterley and St. Andrew’s Church, designed and built this 18th century Maryland National Register architectural masterpiece. All Faith Church is significant as one of the best examples of preserved Georgian ecclesiastical design in Southern Maryland. In addition to its plastered barrel-vault ceiling, there is a remarkable series of fluted square columns with Ionic capitals. The tripartite Palladian front window piercing the gable above the central door and Rose Window in the Chancel are spectacular 20th Century additions. The window symbolizes the gifts of God and His bountiful creation. In the center is the dove of the Holy Spirit; in the petals of the rose the twelve crops which sustain farming and human life in the community. Leaves of each plant are shown together with its flower and fruit, all enclosed by a large star, suggesting the immensity of God’s universe. Installed after Hurricane Hazel in 1954, the Rowan LeCompte stained glass design is a now-famous addition. His work at the National Cathedral is documented in what became a PBS television special documentary film (easily accessed from the internet). It is a film by Peter Swanson on the art of stained glass and the work of Rowan LeCompte at the National Cathedral. It’s called Let There Be Light —a film that won Best of the Festival at the Washington, D.C. Independent Film Festival. The documentary will be available for viewing in the All Faith Parish Hall, where refreshments will also be available.

 

Turn right and continue on MD 6. In 0.09 miles turn right onto East MD 6. Turn left onto Trent Hall Road. In 1.5 miles, Site #2 is on the right.

 

2. Trent Hall, 29350 Trent Hall Road, Mechanicsville 20659. Located on the Patuxent River south of Trent Hall Creek; this land was a grant to Major Thomas Truman in 1654. Thomas, and brothers Nathaniel and James, held large portions of land extending to Upper Marlboro. Trent Hall was owned by the Truman, Greenfield, Briscoe, and Thomas families for many generations. More recently it was the home of former Maryland State Senator Paul Bailey and Vera Virts Bailey, and is currently owned by Dr. Henry and Nancy Virts. Dr. Virts is a former Maryland State Veterinarian, as well as Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture. Thomas Truman was the first Commander of Maryland under Lord Baltimore, as well as a member of the Maryland Council in 1658. His counterpart in Virginia was John Washington, grandfather of George Washington. His family gravesite within the original land grant has vanished as well as the gravestones, recorded as among the oldest known in Maryland. Truman built the first manor house, Trent Neck, soon after arrival. Of wooden construction, Trent Neck Manor featured an enormous center chimney. It was still standing when John DeButts purchased the property in the 1780s. DeButts built the current Trent Hall manor house in 1789. It is of wooden construction, with a center hall entry and both front and rear porches. There are four fireplaces in the main dwelling. There is a large open hearth in the attached kitchen of early brick construction, likely to considerably predate the manor house. Ghosts have been observed in Trent Hall, particularly in the beautiful dining room where the chandelier has been seen moved by spirits. Situated directly on the Patuxent River, Trent Hall survived the British warships anchored in 1814 during the War of 1812. The home is considered by many as one of the jewels of colonial Maryland. Owners: Dr. Henry and Nancy Virts.

 

Backtrack onto Trent Hall Road and go 0.5 miles. Turn right onto Carrie Lee Lane, Site #3.

 

3. The Williams Residence, 29447 Carrie Lee Lane, Mechanicville 20659. This house was built in 2010 and is located on Trent Hall Creek. The house was built by Mr. Williams, and designed by Mrs. Williams, and architect Lisa Davis Holmes. The tree-lined approach to the house is in full bloom in the spring with thousands of daffodil bulbs. The interior of the house features many Southern Maryland artists’ talents and a mix of traditional and antique furnishings within. The deep brick porches surround the front and two sides of the house with a fireplace and summer kitchen for outdoor living. White Chippendale railing made by Mr. Williams adorns the upper porch. The double front doors are flanked with gas lights. The views are spectacular from every window. The house welcomes guests from all approaches. The Williams most recently built an adjacent garage to compliment the house. Owners: Randy and Cindy Williams.

 

Turn right onto Trent Hall Road, then go 1 mile and turn left onto MD Rt 6. Proceed 2 miles, and take a sharp left onto Delabrooke Road. Go 2 miles and turn left onto a gravel road to Site #4.

 

4. Delabrooke Manor, 41280 Delabrooke Road, Mechanicsville 20659. Exterior grounds only. Xella winery will be offering tastings starting at noon, and a demonstration by the De La Brooke Foxhounds W Hunt club will begin at 1:30 p.m. On June 30, 1650, Robert Brooke with his family of ten, a household of  28, and a pack of foxhounds arrived by ship from England to settle his original grant of 2000 acres on the Patuxent River. Brooke was Commander of the newly created Charles County and Acting Governor of the Province in 1652. The 1658 patent as the 18th Manor in Maryland will be on view with transcription. The current structure, built in 1835 of brick made locally and parged with ground oyster shell, stands dramatically 25 feet from the river’s edge as a four-chimney landmark with the original blue Welsh slate roof. Delabrooke remained in the possession of direct Brooke descendants for eight generations over 277 years. In 1927, the house was sold to British diplomat Mr. Goodhart, and began an interesting chapter of Anglo-American history through World War II. He carefully documented the early history of the manor. It soon became a retreat for the British Embassy for duck hunting and entertaining. Diplomatic meetings took place during the onset of war. President Roosevelt visited twice in July 1939, when his advisor Secretary Hon. Harry Hopkins leased the house. Here also, the British Ambassador Lord Lothian wrote his final plea for American intervention just before his untimely death in 1941. The Lend-Lease Act passed in Congress shortly after his death. Delabrooke welcomed 23 refugee children from London to escape the bombings during the summer of 1941. Ivy now covers the house. On the façade, bronze plaques commemorate two major Tercentenary events at Delabrooke; the first, in 1934, honored the founding of Maryland, and the second, in 1950, celebrated 300 years since the landing of Brooke. Five Native Americans attended including Piscataway Chief Turkey Tayac and Princess Morning Star. Signed guest books chronical all events at Delabrooke since 1927, including 12 Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage Tours from 1936 to 1953. A long tree-lined lane leads to the manor house circle, framed by two stately iron gas lanterns from the first British Embassy gates, and a pair of perennial flower beds. A statue named “Pneumonia” stands in the center of the grass circle ringed by conch shells. A ship’s anchor rests on the lawn. Walk the 600-foot long pier constructed for President Roosevelt’s wheelchair visit in 1939. Stroll the grounds and brick path with sweeping river views. Specimen trees include English Horse Chestnuts descended from one planted by Robert Brooke, and English oaks which are the great-great-grandchildren of the historic tree under which Princess Elizabeth was sitting at Hatfield House when informed she was to become Queen. Also see mature native Catalpa Indian Bean, Mock Orange, Silver Maples, Tulip Poplars, Black Walnuts, Red Oaks, Chinese Elms, Crepe Myrtles, Chaste Lamb Vitex, a long salt-water pool in the field beside a grove of Loblolly pines, and a circular vegetable garden with oyster shell paths. Gardens include heritage irises and hydrangeas planted in 1934, a large azalea hedge from 1958, beds of stachys (Lamb’s Ear) with tree peonies and butterfly bushes, tulips in an oyster shell circle, and a moss lawn at the kitchen door. An abundant rosemary garden and old junipers thrive between the house and the riverbank. English boxwoods planted in the 1940s line the brick patio. Genealogy charts, lists of settlers and owners, historical documents with photographs and dendrochronology will be on display. The De La Brooke Foxhounds hunt club will give a demonstration at 1:30 p.m. Owners: Mr. and Mrs. Goodhart.

 

Turn right onto Delabrooke Road, then left onto MD-6. Proceed 1 mile then turn right onto MD-235. Proceed 1 mile, then turn left onto Baptist Church Road, and go straight across Old Village Road. Go 2 miles and Site #5 is on the right.

 

5. Birch Hanger 26815 Baptist Church Road. Mechanicsville 20659. Pre-ordered lunches will be served at this site. Nestled in the heart of Mechanicsville is beautiful Birch Hanger Farm. Situated on 85 acres, the home was originally built in 1818 by Judge Mark Chunn as a suitable home for his new bride Annie Matilde Dent. In 1870 the home became a private school for boys and remained until becoming a tobacco farm in 1907. The current home, owned by Bill and Heather Schoenbauer, features many of the original rooms including a tack room that was turned into a family den. Two towering southern magnolias flank each side of the front of the house. Overlooking the double porch you can almost envision carriages pulling up to the circular drive while visitors come down the long brick walk way to the front door. A beautiful memory garden sits to the far right of the house with a tranquil bench for reflecting. The house features a new kitchen and main suite built in 2013, with all other rooms being original. Antique furniture pieces in most of the rooms reflect the owners’ love of furniture restoration. Four original fireplaces keep the home cozy during cooler weather. A short stroll down the dirt road leads to an original slave cabin, believed to have been built in the 1600s. A pool and pool house, barns, and a detached garage have been added to complete the farm. Owners: Bill and Heather Schoenbauer.

 

Turn left onto Baptist Church Road, going straight across Old Village Road to Rt. 235. Turn right onto Rt. 235 South. Proceed for 10 miles on Rt. 235 S, and then turn left onto Rt. 245. Go 2 miles and then turn right onto Steerhorn Neck Road for 1 mile, and Site #6 is on the left.

 

6. Baldwin-Briscoe Home and Gardens, 45030 Steer Horn Neck Road, Hollywood 20636. Tobacco Barn Distillery will host a complimentary bourbon sampling from 2 to 5 p.m. at this site. See full details below. This Williamsburg style plan constructed in 1980 was modified on the water side to take advantage of spectacular, Patuxent River water views seen through a natural tree canopy. The charming dormered, clapboard house features brick ends, and foundation clad with handmade, oversized brick, in the Flemish Bond pattern. Recent exterior additions include working shutters, copper gutters and an expansion of the waterside deck. Interior improvements focused on the kitchen and the main bed and bath where imported tiles were selected for floors and walls. Family antiques, heirlooms and furniture accumulated from Baltimore, Budapest and Sotterley Plantation, the birthplace of Janice Briscoe’s grandfather, are scattered throughout the house. This property has remained in the Briscoe Family since the 1800s. For a period they also owned Sotterley. The “Harry Potter room” was inspired by the Red Room at Sotterley; the paneling and shelving were custom crafted with black walnut sourced from the near-by plantation following storms that felled the trees. More black walnut embellishes the copper ceiling with an ornate mosaic pattern copied from a World Heritage site the couple visited in Portugal. The main brick walkway is bordered by mature boxwood. Curving brick paths lead to a woodshed and toolshed. Stone steps descend to the riverbank. Other appointments include a chicken coop with an enclosed hen yard, a boathouse for kayaks and canoes and a waterfront goose blind. The property consists of 15 largely wooded acres and includes 4 significant landscape features: A pool and pool house located approximately 60 yards from the house is screened by mature trees and ornamental grasses creating a private oasis. The pool house was constructed using a combination of material which includes old posts and beams from their 19th century tobacco barn. Across the driveway, guests can enter an 11,000 sq. ft. live hedge maze through three strategically located arched gates. The design was duplicated from gates at Asticou Azalea Garden in Northeast Harbor, Maine. At the heart of the maze is a 2-story “folly” appointed with Sotterley style Chippendale railings and hand-painted floors. The first-floor design was inspired by tile flooring in the National Portrait Gallery; the second level image was reproduced from a botanical garden in St. Croix. From here, you look out over the koi pond traversed by a Japanese moon bridge, its transparent decking provides views of water and wildlife below. A 10-acre reclaimed field is now shaded by mature trees crisscrossed with numerous curving trails and an orchard in the open center. Be sure to bring your walking shoes to enjoy everything this property has to offer. Complete your tour of this site in the family’s restored 1850s tobacco barn customized for hosting frequent events and annual concerts. As a special treat Tobacco Barn Distillery will be in the barn with samplings of Maryland’s premier bourbon along with other whiskies and spirits from 2 to 5 p.m. Tobacco Barn Distillery is one of the nation’s few “Single Farm” Bourbon Distilleries and located just 5 miles from this site. Interested pilgrims can schedule a follow-on formal tasting reservation (40 to 45 mins, $15 fee) on their website: www.tobaccobarndistillery.com. Owners: Samuel C.P. Baldwin, Jr. and Janice Briscoe.

 

Turn left onto Steer Horn Neck Road. In 0.7 miles take the first left onto Saint Cuthbert Farm Road. Follow to the end to reach Site #7.

 

7. Anchored Roots Farm, 45281 St. Cuthbert Farm Road, Hollywood 20636. Located on the banks of the Patuxent River, Anchored Roots is a working cut flower farm growing fresh cut flowers for CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) customers, local events and floral designers. Operating since 2017, Anchored Roots Farm has slowly transitioned from a commodity crop field to a diverse crop of perennial and annual flowers. The owners follow organic practices and have implemented several pollinator habitats on their property. Come enjoy the sights and sounds of the season on Anchored Roots Farm! Photography encouraged: ­A custom designed fresh flower photo-op by owner Priscilla Leitch will be on site to use for your own special photos. Owners: Jacob and Priscilla Leitch.

Return directions:

 

From Saint Cuthbert Farm Road, turn right onto Steer Horn Neck Road and proceed 1.5 miles to Rt. MD-245, then turn left to return to Rt. 235 after 2 miles.

Proceed at the traffic light in the direction of your personal destination.