THE TOURS

Tickets at the door - $30

 

The 1793 House – A Cottage Garden

37042 Charles Town Pike

 

 

This charming Cottage Garden is reminiscent of a New England setting, with its paper birch trees, summertime flowering hydrangeas, stacked stone walls, white picket fences and river rocks, overlooking raised beds of continually flowering perennials. Current owners Brenda Bradley and Steve Walczak enjoy evenings sitting on the cottage porch. One being from Vermont while the other travels extensively, they were attracted to Hillsboro as they wanted a New England feel with the history of the architecture and the proximity to the mountains, and to some extent, the climate being somewhat closer to New England than the deep South.

 

Early spring showcases a swath of crocuses and mini irises in the lawn and raised-beds blossoms follow rather quickly, framed by the white and yellow daffodils that dot the yard edge underneath the large Silver Maple, Dogwood, and Tulip trees. Northern Lady Fern Fiddleheads (transplanted from their gardens in Vermont) thrive in deep shade areas, raising their heads in early May. The raised beds host vegetables, flowers and volunteers—just for the fun of it!

 

Upon purchasing this property a few years ago, the gardens and landscaping were in a sorry state of neglect. The current owners took on the task with enthusiasm and began reclaiming the landscape, felling dead trees, uncovering the lines of beds and replenishing the soil to create a strong foundation for perennial plant growth. Their dream is to continually restore the cottage garden to the time when adults played horseshoes and children frolicked in the lush grass under the cool water of a sprinkler, eating ripe tomatoes fresh from the garden. They are well on their way!

 

Birkett’s Tavern

36985 Charles Town Pike

 

John Birkett purchased this Flemish bond brick building in 1824, along with several other plots of land throughout Hillsborough, to set up his tailor shop. Fifteen years later, Birkett saw an opportunity and changed his career—and the building—by adding a new stone section and opening a tavern to accommodate drovers bringing their livestock through town headed for market at the Port of Alexandria. Birkett’s Tavern offered a good night’s rest, a square meal and a corral to bed down livestock. In Birkett’s day, the gardens fed his family and the overnight travelers. With two more additions, Birkett’s Tavern grew and anchored its strategic position in the center of the Town, occupying more and more of the Charles Town streetscape. A frame addition was added in the 1920s, serving as a general store and later selling ice cream from the bay window in the front.

 

Although the property changed hands many times over the years, the garden has always been a constant. From the tavern’s kitchen garden to a renowned flower garden in the 1940s, to today’s enchanting perennial and container garden, visitors will see clean lines and surprising variations. This natural habitat links history with modern gardening techniques to create an array of charming vignettes.

 

While the Birkett’s Tavern land holding has been reduced to a third of an acre, in that space the owners, Claudia and Andy Forbes, have cultivated a natural setting supporting wildlife, birds and pollinators. The yard has different seating areas from which to enjoy the gardens, birds and butterflies visiting from blossom to blossom. The sheltered back porch is adjacent to a log smoke house and the patio, where containers—used to move plants from the owners’ previous homes—abound with perennials, herbs, shrubs and saplings. While the intention was to plant them, having the ability to rearrange plant placement became an interesting way to reinvent the garden periodically. Visitors will take home ideas from this garden—whether they have acres to develop or simply a patio to host containers!

 

Hillrose Cottage

36963 Charles Town PikE

 

This Queen Anne style single-family home was built in 1890—the only known architect-designed building in Hillsboro. Harvey Lindsley Page designed this home and many properties in Washington, D.C., including the Army and Navy Club, the Metropolitan Club and the Phoebe Hearst House. The house was built originally for J. Potts Neer, a retired banker from Baltimore, and is now owned by architect Michael Oxman and his renowned artist wife Laney.

 

The largest home on the south side of Charles Town Pike, Hillrose Cottage stands out today as one of the most beautifully restored in Hillsboro. This grand Victorian treasure, with its many porches, massive brick chimneys, numerous large windows and steeply pitched roofs is admired today as a rare piece of architecture in the Commonwealth’s Piedmont region.

 

Formal boxwood gardens grace the upper garden as daffodils and tulips peek out in all the corners. A very private pool offering views of the willows and North Fork of Catoctin Creek below is a quiet respite in the summer heat. A stately magnolia signals the garden’s entrance area. Dozens of pink peonies emerge each spring with a show of their own to appreciate.

 

Thirty years ago the Oxmans stumbled upon their home on a rainy Saturday while driving in the country and fell in love at first sight. The home, though needing work, was graced by a beautiful four-acre property that gently rolls to the creek, and includes a barn and two outbuildings. These buildings are now transformed into Michael’s architecture firm and Laney’s artist studio. Laney, earning a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art and an MFA in ceramics and glass from Temple University, is today globally recognized for her inspirational art. Her concentration and the primary subject in all of the mediums she works are women—their forms, thoughts, dreams, fantasies and the ultimate reality of their lives. For the first time in decades, her studio will be open to the public during the tour, featuring a sample of her art.

 

An elegant Southern Tea will be offered in the Hillrose Gardens at noon and 3 p.m. – Advanced Reservations required.

 

The Hideaway

36956 Charles Town Pike

 

Adouble-galleried stone house built just before the turn of the19th century, this was the home occupied by the Hillsborough Border Guards before the Civil War, organized to protect the town after John Brown’s raid on the arsenal at Harpers Ferry. The property is best known for its impressive double-decker front porches that have been painstakingly restored by the current owners, Steve and Inez Morgart. Visitors are welcomed to enter into this historic home and enjoy beautiful wood walls and floors and country-Americana details that make it magazine worthy. A formal colonial dining room, comfortable living room and a large great room including kitchen with stone hearth and rear porch await.

 

The surprise of this historic property fronting on Charles Town Pike lies behind it in “The Hideaway” of gardens, patios and outbuildings. Enjoy the property’s five acres of wooded mountainside and shade-loving plants, including interspersed hostas, ferns, begonias and impatiens. Nestled amid the gardens is a stone-bed stream feeding a small pond with recycled-mountain water, offering a cool and calming refuge in hot summer months. The fun and ingenuity of the beautiful shade garden is accentuated with sprawling outdoor living spaces including a billiard room, bar and cabana, outdoor fireplace, wood workers shop and a small hydroponic green house. Inside Hillsboro’s “Key West of the North” gardens and porches, visitors will enjoy and experience the owners’ goal, simply stated, “To create a backyard surrounded by beauty, where no one can ever be bored.” Mission accomplished!

 

Fieldstone Farm Bed and Breakfast

36906 Charles Town Pike

 

This commanding 1770 stone manor home sits high above the north side of Charles Town Pike, resting atop a massive stone wall built in the 1930s as part of the WPA efforts in the region. The southern-facing hillside abutting Route 9 has been transformed from an eroding cliff to one of the most beautiful displays of spring ground cover, phlox and daffodils. Climb the massive stone stairs to enter, as visitors did two centuries ago, welcomed by a large front porch. Hard wood floors, oriental rugs and period paintings and furniture grace the original dining room, parlor and library. Walk out upon the back terrace to find yourself in a different world—four acres of country perennial gardens and a wildflower meadow adjoining some 25 acres of wooded forest and hiking trails—not to mention a swimming pool above the gardens offering commanding views of the Blue Ridge and Short Hill Mountains.

 

An avid environmentalist, herbalist and gardener, owner Amy Marasco relies only on organic materials and natural methods to keep the gardens in bloom three seasons of the year. When she moved in 16 years ago only a large pine, two maples and black walnut trees canopied the hillside garden. Since that time, with the help of family members, she installed numerous terraced stone beds adorned with native and favorite trees, shrubs and plants. Redbuds are added every year. More than 2,000 daffodils bloom each year along with cherry trees, irises, peonies, hydrangeas and old-fashioned lilacs. A white oak was added in the wildflower meadow by her grandchildren and her sisters added a weeping willow from their mother’s garden in Connecticut.

 

Committed to reducing the lawn area, she has designed and planted herb gardens, raised vegetable beds, cold frames and berms with a variety of perennials and a waterfall and terraced rock garden. Native plant areas and woodland wildflowers have been encouraged to slowly take over their respective locations. A large composting area behind the old chicken coop, and cisterns collecting more than 1,000 gallons of rainwater, are key elements of this sustainable landscape.

 

Fieldstone Farm, now a bed and breakfast inn, is host to small gatherings, family reunions, rehearsal dinners, garden workshops and overnight guests.

 

 

 

 

The Old Stone School

37098 Charles Town Pike

Hillsboro, Virginia  20132

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540-486-8001

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37098 Charles Town Pike

Hillsboro Virginia  20132

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