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8 Reasons to LOVE Historic Garden Week

by Casey | Posted on March 27th, 2013

New blooms and fresh, sparkling homes and historic sites are on display for one week only, beginning April 20 for the 80th Annual Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

Garden Week is a time when local garden clubs put away their trowels, gloves and wheelbarrows to welcome aficionados of beauty and sweet smells. If the mere idea of touring beautiful historic – as well as private – homes and gardens isn’t enough to get you out for a stroll, here are eight distinct reasons you’re going to LOVE Historic Garden Week in Virginia.

1. Dubbed “America’s Largest Open House,” the 8-day event includes various tours highlighting more than 200 homes and gardens.

2. The tours are spread across 32 Virginia locations reaching from Cape Charles to Staunton and Alexandria to Danville, so there’s probably a tour not too far from you.

Morven, Charlottesville

Morven, Charlottesville

3. Visit a billionaire’s home. Morven, circa 1820, was on the inaugural Historic Garden Week tour. The original gardens were restored in the 1930s and one can expect to see unusual Osage orange trees, the state champion Chinese Chestnut tree and a dove tree. The brick manor home is situated on a 7,378-acre estate that was given to the University of Virginia Foundation by the late billionaire John Kluge. Morven is located less than two miles from President James Monroe’s Ash Lawn-Highland in Charlottesville.

4. Tour the first federal war-housing project established during World War I when you embark on the Newport News-Hampton tour on April 24. The beautifully manicured neighborhoods featured on this tour make for an enjoyable walk.

5. Warrenton has supreme appeal. Walk in the footsteps of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall as you tour the property he acquired and the home he had built for his son. Also on this tour is the 1833 stagecoach stop for Wells Fargo at Glen Gordon Manor, as well as gardens in the midst of restoration and those professionally landscaped. See them all – open for the very first time – on April 25.

6. Hit a wide swath of homes and gardens by spending a few days in Richmond. April 23-25 offers a different set of Richmond area neighborhoods to tour each day, with more than 20 sites for your viewing pleasure. Included are ornate gardens, sweeping lawns and mature trees. It is said that some of these neighborhoods are so well hidden, they defy their urban address. You be the judge.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

One of the homes on the Richmond Garden Tour.

7. Get the best of two worlds with the Virginia Beach tour on April 24. Opening the doors of mansions, duplexes and beach cottages, this tour displays both oceanside and landside properties for a “formal to flip-flop” appeal.

8. If you only have one day to tour and it happens to be Saturday, April 27, consider the Gloucester-Mathews tour where the largest one-day concentration of sites is available – nine. The oldest home on this tour is circa 1800, but also included is Rosewell Ruins, dating from 1725.

Walking shoes are requested to avoid damage to the floors of the homes you’re touring. Boxed lunches may be available with some tours. Purchase tickets per tour, of if you plan to participate in multiple tours across the state, a $175 statewide pass is available for one person or $300 for two. Individual tours vary from $15 to $40.

A few policies …

  • No smoking
  • No pets
  • No photography inside the homes
  • Children 17 or under must be accompanied by an adult

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