Saturday, April 28, 2018

9:30-5:00 Rain or Shine

71st annual tour

as part of

The Eastern Shore of virginia

Settled just a few years after Captain John Smith landed at Jamestown in 1607, the Eastern Shore of Virginia is a narrow peninsula situated between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It is also situated between two marvels: a link to the mainland by one of the longest bridge-tunnels in the world at one end and, at the other end, a link to outer space via a NASA rocket pad.

In between, is a land known for the warmth of its residents, the serenity of its waterfronts, the richness of its land and, most especially, the charm of its homes -- all exemplifying the fine heritage of the Eastern Shore.

Many properties are hidden from view, nestled amid mature landscapes or overlooking beautiful creeks, only to be revealed on rare occasions. Please join us on our 70th Anniversary House and Garden Tour to discover these gems in this singular place we call home.

EYRE HALL

3215 Eyre Hall Drive, Cheriton, va 23316

Recently honored as a National Historic Landmark, this acclaimed ancestral property offers a rare picture of colonial plantation life.  The key to Eyre Hall’s remarkable preservation lies in its descent through eight generations of the same family. The gambrel-roofed manor was completed in 1758 by Littleton Eyre, who lavished his home with expansive spaces, superlative woodwork and handsome furnishings. Before the end of the century, Littleton’s son and grandson had, in their turn, inherited his masterwork, adding an eastern wing and laying out a grand rear garden. Happily for historians, the three early owners were succeeded by stewards who declined to gild their classic legacy with the passing fancies of later eras.

Today, Eyre Hall visitors are delighted to find that the refined but soft-spoken style of its creators remains wonderfully in place. The past also lives in the garden, where venerable crepe myrtles tower above parterres enclosed by ancient boxwood and set off by colorful mixed borders. On the west, the recently stabilized remaining walls of an early orangery add a hint of romance to the garden scene. Beyond the house and garden, broad stretches of open fields and long views over Cherrystone Creek complete the placid panorama awaiting visitors to this perennial centerpiece of the Eastern Shore tour.  H. Furlong Baldwin, owner.

Vaucluselivingroom

VAUCLUSE

3350 Vaucluse Lane, Machipongo, Va 23405

Situated on a high bank near the mouth of Hungars Creek, Vaucluse was the seat of the prominent Upshur family from 1768 to 1844.  Littleton Upshur began construction of the main house in 1784, although a quarter kitchen wall may antedate the present dwelling. By 1829, his son, Abel Parker Upshur, had expanded the house and property, making one of the county’s grandest plantations. Young Upshur became Secretary of the Navy and Secretary of State under President John Tyler and was responsible for negotiating the treaty annexing Texas. His life ended tragically when, during a demonstration of a new cannon, it exploded, killing him and several observers. Vaucluse is of frame construction, with brick ends and chimneys, and distinguished interior woodwork.

Twin neoclassical porches adorn both facades of this one-room- deep building. A gracious living room welcomes the visitor and the spacious kitchen is open, relaxed and an obvious place to gather. A thoughtful 2005 addition and carriage house join seamlessly with older features as an adaptation to modern times. Although the plantation was subdivided, the park-like setting remains intact. Reputed to be a gift from Thomas Jefferson, a pecan tree shades the gardens and lawn that roll down to the water. Visitors can enjoy the formal garden fountain along with the exquisite herb garden while in the distance, a dock house beckons to be explored. Mr. and Mrs. David Rogers, owners.

Vaucluselivingroom

COVE’S END

6262 Fern Point Road, Franktown, VA 23354

A secluded serpentine drive slowly reveals the countless charms of this redbrick retreat on Church Creek. Designed by Floyd Nock, a noted Eastern Shore architectural historian, and built in 1981, Cove’s End was obviously created to capture the tranquility of its waterside setting. Long and low, this haven conceals surprises within that delight all who enter.  From the foyer, visitors are drawn through a spacious sunny double drawing room directly to the multi-windowed circular dining room with striking views of Church Creek.  Audubon prints grace the fireplace mantels, and an equine portrait reveals the owner’s interest in horse racing, as do the trophies proudly displayed.

A well-appointed kitchen with a fireplace and sitting area invites one to linger, as do the comfortably furnished bedrooms. Family portraits along the hallway delight the eye. Outdoors, the patio, with fire pit, is surrounded by extensive gardens and natural woodlands that overlook the creek. A nearby pathway leads to a private dock and skiff that is ever ready for quick jaunts to the Chesapeake Bay. Cove’s End is a much-needed antidote to the owner’s active schedule and a sanctuary that refreshes with each visit. Open for the first time. Jane Merriam Cody, owner.

Eastern Shore Cove's End 2017 kitchen dining.jpg

WALSTON PLACE

23419 Walston Place Drive, Accomac, VA 23301

Walston Place looks as if it were a painted landscape- the restful image of an elegant home in the middle of a quiet field.  Framed by the feathery branches of ancient cypress trees and crepe myrtles, the mellowed brick ends and cheerful yellow clapboard of the main house and outbuildings creates a scene reminiscent of 1802 when the house was first completed and part of a working plantation. The home, tall and generously proportioned, embodies the beloved features characteristic to traditional Eastern Shore architecture.  With three sections, the big house, a long and low colonnade, and an unusually steep roofed kitchen, the home is as practical as it is beautiful, clearly cared for and loved with a meticulous hand and heart. 

A casual elegance emanates warmth rather than just nods to historical correctness at Walston. The current family has owned the farm for the past six decades and their dedication to maintaining every detail of the house and property is evidenced in its curated charm. The impressive craftsmanship of the home, the choice collection of Americana and European antiques inside, and the scattering of pretty gardens on the property will be admired by antiquarians, architectural historians and home bodies alike. Col. Christopher and Dr. Conya Needels, owners.

Walstonplace

METOMKIN FARM

23411 Walston Place Drive, Accomac, VA 23301

Located three miles north of Accomac on Walston Creek, Metomkin Farm consists of a large brick house and several tidy outbuildings on fifty-three acres of horse pastures, pine forest and marshland overlooking Metompkin Bay. The original colonial style house was built in 1970, but the current owners dramatically expanded it in 2015 with a modern touch. At first the elegant white-washed brick main house appears to be a conventional example of traditional Shore architecture. A closer inspection reveals the fresh design ideas of the current owners, one an international art dealer, the other an artist and author. Inspired by the architecture of Hugh Newell Jacobsen, the old one-story colonnade/kitchen became a light-filled living area with 19-foot ceilings.

It also showcases an unobstructed view of the seaside and plenty of wall space to display large contemporary paintings. The owners’ art and antique collection span centuries and continents, from Europe, America and Asia.  The contrasts in style make the transition between traditional and new exciting and fresh.

In every season, perennials bloom against a wild backdrop of the ever-changing hues of the saltwater marsh. Layered gardens around the house are jaunty with color and create an inspirational setting wherever the eye lands. Mr. Barnaby Conrad III and Mrs. Martha Sutherland, owners.

Metompkinfarm