Westover, on the banks of the James River, is one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in America, built in 1730 by William Byrd II, author, diarist, colonial leader and founder of the cities of Petersburg and Richmond. The lawn, with its centuries-old tulip poplars, offers a commanding view of the James River. The grounds are still protected by wrought-iron gates hung by Williams Byrd in n 1709 and are known to be the finest set of 18th century gates in this country. Westover Plantation, on the banks of the historic James River, is considered to be one of the finest examples of 18th century Georgian architecture in America.
Get a rare glimpse into some of the Commonwealth’s finest private estates in Northern Virginia’s magnificent hunt country in Winchester-Clarke County. Impressive homes, old and new, are hidden along winding lanes amid green pastures, lovely gardens, Thoroughbred barns and scenic mountain backdrops. Five outstanding rural estates, dating from the 18th century to the early 21st, will not be opened to the public again by their present owners for quite some time, if ever. All have interesting stories, including Civil War maneuvers in the area and current homeowners’ interests in green technology. One property was built in the roaring ’20s as a showplace in the grand manner for the daughter of a New York Supreme Court Judge, also owner of the Savoy Hotel. Furnishings include elaborate 16th century paneling from Samuel Guggenheim’s penthouse suite at the Savoy and a chandelier from the estate of famed architect Stanford White. The Crash of 1929 ended the mansion’s glory days. The owner was forced to evacuate. Furniture was sold or lost. Vines grew through the windows. Visitors will enjoy viewing the wonderful restoration and reconstruction that has been accomplished by the present owners at this handsome country manor.
During the Colonial period of the 17th and 18th centuries, rivers served as “highways” for early settlers, their friends and their business enterprises. As plantations along Virginia’s major waterways prospered, fine mansions began to line the banks of the James, Rappahannock, York and Potomac rivers.
Some of Virginia’s most distinguished manor houses from this period will be showcased in Richmond County on Virginia. Generations later, several of these legendary homes are still owned by descendants of their original builders. Included on this year’s tour are a site where Captain John Smith was entertained by Powhatan Indians in 1609, the home place of a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and an estate that figured prominently in the introduction of Thoroughbred racing and breeding to this country. Refreshments will be served in the fabulous stable on the grounds of Mount Airy, one of the most beautiful 18th century Palladian houses in Virginia.
Lexington area tour will include a visit to charming homes, chapels and gardens that were part of General Robert E. Lee’s life during this period and also the life of Stonewall Jackson. Of special interest is the house built especially for Lee, with an adjoining brick stable for his beloved horse, Traveller, and a spacious, three-sided veranda around the first floor designed by Lee to enable his wife, confined to a wheelchair, to move freely around the exterior.
Master Gardeners will be stationed in the Stonewall Jackson House Garden to talk with visitors about the period varieties in this space and their horticulture. The garden is planted and maintained by volunteers.
Historic Williamsburg homes and gardens will be on the tour... a story for another posts!
For more information see: