Saturday, May 9, 2020
10:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M.
Talbot County is steeped in more than 350 years of American history. Named in honor of Lady Grace, wife of Sir Robert Talbot and sister of Cecilius Calvert second Lord Baltimore, Talbot County was settled by the English about 1661. The Chesapeake Bay and five navigable tributaries—the Choptank River, the Tred Avon River, the Miles, Tuckahoe and Wye Rivers—provide more than 600 miles of picturesque waterfront and fertile croplands to Talbot County. The early manor houses along the creeks and bays face the waters that brought guests and trade from across the Chesapeake and around the world. Easton, once known as “Talbot Town,” became the county seat by act of the Maryland Legislature in 1778. Much of the early legal and political history of the United States originated in Talbot County, which is justifiably proud of its history and of the loving restoration and presentation of so many of its prominent public buildings, historic homes and gardens such as those you will see today.
Co-Chairs: Julia Miller, 856-425-3352, and Sara Walker, 240-731-1644, email@example.com.
Committee Chairs: Advisors: Caroline Benson, Mary Lou McAllister and Nancy Thompson. Advertising: Maggie Jarboe and Ann Cooper. Flowers: Ingrid Blanton, Anne Jelich, and Karen Parker. Hospitality: Georgia Adler and Susie Granville. Hostess: Jody Shaner. Luncheon: Ann Ashby and Suellen Williams. Parking and Ambassadors: Janet Mackey and Jan Cullen. Patron Letters: Pat Lewers and Martha Horner. Photography: Marsie Hawkinson and Laura Carney. Publicity: Pam Keeton. Rack Cards: Rebecca Gaffney. Road Marking and Directions: Trish Reynolds and Carol Harrison. Script: Missy Warfield. Tour Bells: Caroline Benson. Treasurers: Virginia Sappington, Maxine Millar, and Joan Crowley. Talbot County Garden Club President: Chloe Pitard.
Special Project: Site #5, St. Michaels Museum. The St. Michaels Museum offers a unique glimpse into everyday life in old St. Michaels from the early 1800s onward. The Chaney House, located on St. Mary’s Square, is the most recent addition of the three buildings that comprise the museum. It was built in 1851 by the three free African-American brothers Charles, Samuel and George Chaney, Jr. who eventually purchased their father’s freedom. At one time as many as nine children lived in the small dwelling. This building now showcases the local African-American experience in the mid-to-late 19th century. Funds provided for the special project will enable the St. Michaels Museum to replace the old shingle roof and install a new roof and gutter system on the Chaney house to safeguard the integrity of this very special building as there are few African-American dwellings of this era existing today in St. Michaels. The museum also will use funding provided for this special project to produce an historical booklet documenting the Chaney family, their home and the community in which they lived. In addition, proceeds from the Talbot County Tour will also be used to support the care and maintenance of the Talbot County Garden Club’s many civic projects.
Lunch: A delicious $15.00 box lunch will be offered by reservation only. Dine in or pick up pre-ordered lunches at the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels, 401 St. Mary’s Square, St. Michaels, MD, from 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. Checks for box lunch orders must be received by May 1, 2020. Please make your check payable to TCGC (Talbot County Garden Club), and mail to: TCGC, P.O. 1524, Easton, MD 21601 indicating your sandwich selection on the check. Sandwich choices are: Tarragon Chicken Salad with grapes and almonds on multigrain bread; Roast Beef and Brie with horseradish mayo on baguette with lettuce and tomato; Veggie Power House with veggies, jack cheese, hummus and spicy mustard on multigrain bread. Also included is a bottle of water, coleslaw, chips and a chocolate chip cookie. If no sandwich choice is indicated you will receive a Tarragon Chicken Salad sandwich. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
BALTIMORE and WASHINGTON: East on US Rt. 50 across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. South on US Rt. 50 to MD Rt. 322 (Easton Parkway). Bear right onto MD Rt. 322, Easton Parkway and go 2 miles to the 4th traffic light. Turn right onto MD Rt. 33 (St. Michaels Road); follow signs to St. Michaels.
I-95 South to DE Rt.1 South. Exit DE Rt. 1 to US 301 South (Christiana Mall exit). Follow US Rt. 301 South to MD Rt. 213, exit turning left onto MD Rt. 213 South. Follow MD Rt. 213 to US Rt. 50 East. Turn left onto US Rt. 50 at the traffic light. Continue on US Rt. 50 to MD Rt. 322, Easton Parkway. Bear right onto MD Rt. 322, Easton Parkway and go 2 miles to the 4th traffic light. Turn right onto MD Rt. 33 (St. Michaels Road), follow signs to St. Michaels.
NORFOLK/SALISBURY: US Rt. 13 North to Salisbury; then US Rt. 50 West to Easton. Exit left onto MD Rt. 322, Easton Parkway. At the 3rd traffic light, turn left onto MD Rt. 33, St. Michaels Road; follow signs to St. Michaels.
Restrooms: The Woman’s Club of St. Michaels in St. Mary’s Square; Public
facility at the Information Center at Talbot Street and Mill Street; Portable restrooms at the two school parking lots.
Information Headquarters: The Woman’s Club of St. Michaels, 401 St. Mary’s Square, St. Michaels. Hospitality and Information table will be staffed from 10:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. the day of the tour. Tickets and tour books will be available at this site and all homes on tour day. Contact Georgia Adler at 410-443-7542 the day of the tour with any questions. Begin your tour by starting with Option #1 or with Option #2.
FOLLOW PILGRIMAGE GREEN ARROWS AND SIGNS.
SPECIAL PARKING NOTICE:
Parking for Sites #1 through #4 is extremely limited. Private cars will not be admitted. To ensure an enjoyable tour and avoid long waits, free bus transportation will be offered for these stops and will run continuously throughout the day. The tour begins at St. Michaels High School Parking Lot and the St. Michaels Elementary School lot. (See map and directions below.) Please park your car and follow signs to the appropriate buses. For your enjoyment and convenience two separate touring options are offered: Option #1, Country Homes first: For visitors who wish to go directly to the Country Homes at Sites #1, 2, 3, and 4, buses will depart from the St. Michaels High School Parking Lot and the St. Michaels Elementary School lot (see map). Buses will return to St. Mary’s Square where signs will direct visitors to the Hospitality Headquarters (pre-paid lunch is available at the Woman’s Club at this site) and Site #5, St. Michaels Museum. Buses will return visitors to the High School and Elementary School parking lots (see map) so that visitors may continue on to Sites #6 and #7 by car. Option #2, St. Mary’s Square first: For visitors who wish to visit St. Mary’s Square first, buses will depart from the St. Michaels High School Parking Lot and the St. Michaels Elementary School lot (see map). Signs will direct visitors to the Hospitality Headquarters (pre-paid lunch is available at the Woman’s Club at this stop), and Site #5, St. Michaels Museum. Buses will return to the St. Michaels High School Parking lot where pilgrims may board buses to Sites #1, 2, 3, and 4. Buses will return visitors to the High School and Elementary School parking lots (see map) so that visitors may continue on to Sites #6 and #7 by car. St. Michaels High School Parking Lot, 100 Seymour Avenue, St. Michaels 21663. From Route 33 (Talbot Street) turn right after the community pool onto Seymour Avenue; at the end of the block turn right into school parking lot; look for signs to buses. (Please do not park in YMCA section of lot.) If this lot is full, please exit lot, turning left and park in the Elementary School Lot (see map).
About the country homes reached by bus only:
Do you see pagodas or seashells when you first approach Rivermark? The interesting roofline of Rivermark, depending on your point of view, may resemble pagodas or seashells or even Hershey Kisses. First named “Shell House,” this complex was designed by nationally-known architect Albert Bromley and built in the late 1970s. The six octagonal shapes joined by wings into a half circle and roofed like pagodas was inspired by houses in the French West Indies. Lore suggests that the reason for the octagonal shapes in various rooms was so that “no evil spirits could hide in the corners.” In spite of the threat of unhappy spirits, many renovations have been completed over the years since the owners purchased the house in 2005. The original gallery room facing the Miles River, the Delft tiled fireplace with its antique Baltimore mantelpiece, the tray ceilings and crown moldings remain as does the indoor swimming pool. From the moment you pass the upside-down dolphin sculptures atop pillars at the end of the driveway, you will wonder why they and others on the property are upside down. Longtime research has disclosed that the dolphins represent kind, kingly qualities and gracious living. After finding the home in disrepair, the owners have made this unusual house a gracious home. Lovely gardens with espaliered walls, a central pond and fountain all add to the beauty of this not-to-miss fascinating home on the Miles River.
2. Emerson Point House
Was built on a 220-acre working farm on the banks of the Eastern Bay/Miles River in the 1930s. The handsome brick, three-story Georgian Style house replaced the original wood framed farmhouse that was built more than a century earlier. The house is approached by a long, sweeping driveway lined with Cryptomeria (Japanese cedar) and Cedar trees. The first owners, with a passion for trees, planted many specimen trees including Japanese Zelkova, an American Beech allée, crepe myrtle allée, and magnolias. The blueprint of the original gardens is on display and although little of the formal gardens remain, the leafy, undulating setting and location by the water speak volumes. A row of mature oak trees along the walkway to the boathouse and dock were grown from seedlings of the original ‘Wye Oak’ tree on Maryland’s Eastern Shore that was the largest White Oak recorded in the USA until its demise in 2002. A cemetery on the property, dating from 1838 has the graves of several noted Eastern Shore families including William and John Hambleton and Rowena Hambleton Auld, second wife of Captain Thomas Auld, who once owned Frederick Douglass when he was a slave. There are also numerous unknown slave graves marked simply by single stones. There is an understated elegance to the interior of the house, which highlights the quality of the original millwork throughout, the pine clad library, the mahogany doors and the fine antiques, including a 1909 Steinway concert grand piano. The current owners bought the house in 2011 and have since devotedly worked on the restoration of Emerson Point. The house had no permanent inhabitants since the 1960s so there was much to be tackled. It has been the owners’ aim to bring the house back to life as a place for their extended family to enjoy while preserving the character and charm of the original concept.
3. Bolton Farm
The Kemps, a Quaker family originating from Bolton, England, established Bolton Farm in 1659. The farm stayed in the Kemp family for more than 200 years and became known as Quaker Kemp Farm. The farm encompasses 160 acres and includes a manor house, guesthouse, barns, multiple outbuildings, two ponds, a forest, and 1/2 mile of waterfront on Eastern Bay looking out toward Poplar Island. The farm is home to several breeds of Icelandic, Valais and Black Welsh Mountain sheep, as well as a herd of miniature dairy goats. The guesthouse is on the site of the original residence with a foundation dating from 1790. In 1810 the first house burned down and the current structure was built on that existing foundation. The facade of the guesthouse is Flemish Bond and the interior has original woodwork throughout, including the railing leading from the entry hall to the third floor. The cemetery near the guesthouse served the Kemp and Dawson families with the oldest tombstone dated 1790. The Manor House was built in 1914 with improvements made over the decades, even as recently as 2018. Feel free to stroll around this charming property, visiting the first floors of the main house and guesthouse while enjoying the pastoral setting of the sheep in their paddocks.
Purchased in 1993 as a weekend getaway, the property on Harris Creek was renamed Aquavitae (Latin for Water of Life) and completely revived. Through the years the former working farm has been transformed into an elegant estate. As the owners are avid travelers and collectors, the main house was designed and built to display their collections. The 18,000 square foot home took two years to design and four years to build. Their favorite room is the gourmet kitchen with coffered ceiling, fireplace and French range. Yoshino cherry trees line the driveway and extensive gardens feature an array of plantings to include several stately Japanese maples. A large bronze eagle sculpture is in a garden surrounded by crepe myrtles. Of special note is the majestic tree shading the pool. Hydrangeas fill the plantings around the main house. A twenty-five-year-old climbing white hydrangea surrounds a figure of the Bird Girl (AKA—Good and Evil). The undergrowth in the woods has been cleared to allow strolling paths through the pines. The 40' high party barn with widow’s walk offers scenic vistas and generous interior entertainment space. The materials of the main house were chosen from a Pennsylvania stone quarry to match the three-foot foundation of the party barn. The barn has wide windows for panoramic views of the surrounding land and water with huge barn doors, each weighing 700 pounds. The cottage is a guesthouse, built in 2005 with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) features. Its gardens were designed to shield it from view when entering the main property. All three buildings are open.
Buses will return visitors to St. Mary’s Square for the walking tour of the Museum buildings and nearby historic Christ Church and Cannonball House. Buses will then go to the school parking lots.
5. St. Mary’s Square, St. Michaels
St. Mary’s Square was envisioned as the center of St. Michaels when developer James Braddock created the official town plan in 1778. The town’s public market house was built in the center and a lot was donated to the Methodist Church. Before the battle of St. Michaels in 1813 militia drilled on the square. Later the town’s schools were located on the square. It seems most fitting that the three buildings of the museum have been moved to this historic square.
Hospitality/Information and Pre-Paid luncheon pick up at the Women’s Club of St. Michaels. Luncheon may be picked up between 10:00 A.M. and 2:30 P.M. on tour day. Tickets and tour books will be available at the Hospitality/Information location and all homes on tour day.
St. Michaels Museum:
201 Chestnut Street, St. Michaels 21663. St. Michaels Museum complex: St. Mary’s Square was the focal point of the 1778 town plan drawn by English factor James Braddock during the American Revolution. St. Michaels Museum is actually a collection of three small 19th Century buildings that were moved from three different locations in St. Michaels. Take time to wander its buildings to learn more about historic Talbot County.
Sewell House: In 1964, after the town celebrated the 150th anniversary of the August 10, 1813 battle against the British, a dedicated group decided to move the Sewell House to the former site of the 1888 St. Michaels public school. Part of the Sewell House was originally a steam mill (c1818) which was dismantled in the late 1840s by shipyard owner Edward Wiley. It was then sold to Jeremiah Sewell who moved it, adding it to his small home on what is now Mill Street where he and his wife raised seven children.
The Teetotum: The Sewell House is connected by a hyphen to the museum’s second building, the picturesque 1860s Teetotum Building. Currently in the hyphen there is an exhibit on the life of Frederick Douglass, born in Talbot County. In 1888 he lived in St. Michaels and the surrounding area for three years as an enslaved teenager. The one-story Teetotum, once located on Willow Street behind Christ Church, was a commercial duplex for more than one hundred years. It had many uses over the years at its old location: a magistrate office, town jail, a saddle and harness shop, even a library with its last use as a barbershop. Today the first floor is one large room holding several of the museum’s collections. The collections range from paintings by artists who were active here, writers such as James Michener who lived in Talbot County while writing Chesapeake, 19th century sewing implements and women’s accessories, a large diorama of St. Michaels in 1813, and several exhibits on topics such as those who served in the War of 1812 and the Civil War, commercial history of the town and a history of St. Mary’s Square. The 2020 addition to the Teetotum will house the museum’s
library, office and artifact storage.
Chaney House: (NOTE: House is NOT open to visitors.) The third building in the museum complex is the small Chaney House with one room down and one room above. The three free African-American Chaney brothers built the house in 1851. It is significant since there are few African-American dwellings of this era existing today in St. Michaels. Moved to the Square from Fremont Street in 2003, it has been the museum office and the museum’s small library that features genealogical records and local history. The first floor of Chaney House is currently being turned into a period room illustrating how free African-Americans lived before and after the Civil War in St. Michaels.
While visiting St. Mary’s Square, take time to stroll by the historic Cannonball House located at 200 Mulberry Street. The house was built by William Merchant, a shipbuilder when Thomas Jefferson was president and is listed on the Department of Interior’s National Register of Historic Places. This was the only house in St Michaels that was hit during the War of 1812. During the British attack on St. Michael’s in August 1813, according to lore, a cannonball bounced off the chimney, barreled through a dormer window, rolled across the attic and then bounced down the steps, leaving burn marks that are still visible today. The Flemish bond brick house, typical of the Federal period, has not been dramatically altered in the more than 200 years of its existence. The “porch” on the front of the house dates from the Victorian period and was enclosed in the middle of the last century. Not far from St. Mary’s Square is the historic “high Victorian Gothic” Christ Church, St. Michaels Parish. (Note: Church docents will be available from 11:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M.) The first church building was erected in 1672 and named after the adjacent river. The town of St. Michaels was subsequently named after the parish. The original church, accessible by boat, was built of wood while the fourth and current church on the site is constructed of granite brought from Port Deposit, Maryland, and designed by the famous architect Henry Congdon. Inside the church is a small Baptismal font given as a gift by Queen Anne of England in 1707. During a renovation of the church’s foundation, muskets owned by the town militia were uncovered from the War of 1812 and taken to the Maryland Statehouse for safe-keeping. Two large bald cypress trees stand in the churchyard. The one on the south lawn is reported to be the fourth largest in Maryland.
Sites #6 and #7 are reached by car. Exit school parking lots. Turn left onto Seymour Avenue. Turn left from Seymour Avenue onto Talbot Street (St. Michaels Road). Continue 1.0 mile, turning right onto Pea Neck Road. Proceed down Pea Neck Road 1.3 miles to Drum Point Road. Bear to the right and continue 0.25 mile.
6. New Forest—Sculpture Garden-
7308 Drum Point Road, St. Michaels 21663. (NOTE: House is NOT open to visitors.) This charming collection was started 25 years ago when the owners had a home in the South of England. When a sculpture park opened near their English home, they were among the first to visit. The Cass Sculpture Foundation (Goodwood Sculpture Park as it was then called) had commissioned more than 50 works by contemporary British artists to be placed in a park-like setting. Inspired by the beauty of nature in harmony with man-made works of art, it was there they acquired their first sculpture, Eva Drewett’s “Around Man.” That one sculpture moved with the family wherever they were transferred. When back in the United States, they purchased another work from the British sculpture park—Sally Matthew’s “Wolves.” The collection had begun! All of the other works were found in galleries in the United States or abroad. When they liked a piece (both had to agree) they always tried to meet the artist and invite the artist to come to their property to help place the sculpture. When they commissioned one work from a British artist—Walter Bailey’s “Cloud,” he and his son came to the Eastern Shore, sourced the material, and created the wooden piece where it stands! The materials in this eclectic collection vary from wood to bronze to granite and epoxy. Generally, there are two pieces by each artist. This did not always work out because either the artist’s works had become too expensive or in Ella Tulin’s case, the artist had since died, and there were no more sculptures available. Viewers are encouraged to make their own interpretations of the works. The names that the artists have given are a hint but often the works are untitled and open to one’s own different meaning. (Small signs with the artists’ names will be visible during the tour).
As you are leaving Site #6, turn left onto Drum Point Road to Pea Neck Road. Bear left and follow Pea Neck Road 1.3 miles to MD Rt. 33 (St. Michaels Road) and turn right. Proceed on St. Michaels Road for 5.5 miles. Site #7 will be on the right.
7. Shipshead Farm-
27389 St. Michaels Road (Rte. 33), Easton 21601. A pea gravel drive winds past a shaded two-tiered pond and invites you to marvel at the painstakingly fully restored 18th Century three-story manor house with additions to accommodate 21st Century living. Sheepshead Point Farm was referenced in Talbot County documents with a land patent of 1664. Over time the name of the property was corrupted to Shipshead and later Shipshead Farm. Under the skillful design and direction of Easton architect, Christine Dayton, the project took four years to complete. Full restoration achieved a geo-thermal conditioned, fully plumbed and electrified home, but has allowed the historical charm to remain. The original portion of the home sits upon a brick foundation with frame and brick nogging in the walls. The heart pine flooring is original on all floors of the main house. The fifteen-foot-high foyer and parlor ceilings are enhanced by original plaster crown molding and delicately carved plaster ceiling medallions. The incredible oval stairway is original to the home. New additions allow for a new kitchen, dining room, spacious great room for entertaining and a private master suite with garden and farm views of grazing wildlife and numerous species of migrating waterfowl during the winter months. The meandering backyard pathways dotted with a variety of grasses, crepe myrtles and perennials, lead the eyes beyond a pond-like swimming pool and butterfly gardens to the expansive farm fields beyond. Low-lying areas of the fields were converted into impoundments that are flooded in the fall to create habitat for waterfowl. An archaeological project was conducted in a field to the east, where a brick foundation was found and determined to be the first Free School in Talbot County. Artifacts were catalogued and are displayed in the library of the home. Sensitivity in conserving farmland from development and creating a mecca for wildlife were foremost on the minds of the owners over the last 30 years. They hope you will find your own sense of peace as you walk the grounds of this hidden gem.
Returning home from Site #7: Turn right onto MD Rt. 33 (St. Michaels Road) and proceed 3.7 miles to MD Rt. 322 (Easton Parkway) which is at the 3rd traffic light.
Salisbury, Norfolk, and points South: Turn right onto MD Rt. 322 and continue to merge with US Rt. 50 East.
Baltimore, Washington, Wilmington, Philadelphia, and points north or west. Turn left onto MD Rt. 322 and proceed through 4 traffic lights to US Rt. 50 West.