An array of exciting Eastern Shore properties await your visit during the Talbot County portion of the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage, Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. The Talbot County Tour is exceptional and not to be missed!
The Tour gives you rare access to some of Maryland’s most iconic homes and gardens, reflecting the unique beauty of Talbot County: the William Mason Shehan House, Riverbank, Shipshead Farm, Leggacy, Gross Coate Farm, and Ashby – all near Easton. The Tour will include stops at the Talbot Historical Society Gardens and the historic Third Haven Friends Meeting House.
The Talbot County Garden Club, which organizes the Tour, has participated in the Maryland House & Garden Pilgrimage since its inception in 1939. As a fundraiser, this year’s Tour will support the renovation of Joseph’s Cottage (c1797-98) at theHistorical Society and the club’s roster of civic projects. These include the design and maintenance of five public gardens in the Town of Easton, plus free gardening lectures, a children’s environmental ed program, holiday decorations for the town, floral presentations for Hospice and Meals on Wheels, and more.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door. To purchase advance-sale tickets, go to https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/5342165
Here are insights into each of the Tour’s celebrated historic properties and waterfront estates – all sure to regale you with beguiling floral arrangements indoors and exquisite spring gardens outdoors:
WILLIAM MASON SHEHAN HOUSE: Constructed in 1909-1910 in the Colonial Revival style, the William Mason Shehan House is one of Easton’s most distinguished homes. As Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Talbot County, Shehan resided in this home with his family until his death in 1941. Upon entering this lovely home, you will find an airy foyer and grand staircase, a dining room with bay windows offering wonderful natural light, a sunroom with wrap-around windows and relaxed views, and a welcoming kitchen with a serene color palette. The rear yard is an island of tranquility with a guest house and pool visually connected to the main house through the use of trellises and magnificent landscaping.
RIVERBANK: Filled with a crisp, elegant blue and white interior, this charming house is nestled along the banks of Dixon Creek, just off the Tred Avon River. Local lore has it that a smitten young landowner fell in love with Mary Lee of Virginia and named his land “Lee Haven” in honor of his bride-to-be. Alas, the marriage never took place, but the name held. Much of the property is lushly shaded with older trees and an impressive display of peonies, camellias, hydrangeas, and rhododendrons. With winding pathways throughout, the garden continues to evolve with fresh plantings and new spaces such as the creekside firepit for friends and family to enjoy. Follow the brick walk to the rear of the house to take in the waterside garden and always-blooming living shoreline just feet from the water’s edge. This delightful property is a horticulturist’s dream!
SHIPSHEAD FARM: Sheepshead Point Farm was referenced in Talbot County documents with a land patent of 1664. Its 18th century three-story manor house was recently renovated to accommodate 21st century living. The original portion of the house sits on a brick foundation with frame and brick nogging in the walls. The oval stairway and heart pine flooring on all levels of the main house are original. Additions allow for a private master suite with garden and farm views of grazing wildlife and numerous species of migrating waterfowl, as well as new kitchen, dining room and great room. Backyard pathways are highlighted by a variety of grasses, crepe myrtles and perennials. Paths lead to a pond-like swimming pool, butterfly gardens and expansive farm fields beyond. Sensitivity in conserving farmland from development and creating a mecca for wildlife were foremost on owners’ minds over the last 30 years and they hope you will find your own sense of peace as you walk the grounds.
LEGGACY: The back of this 1870s Victorian overlooks a large lawn with old, stately trees and a pool located halfway to the Miles riverbank. The house is built in the “shingle style,” popular in late 19th century Northeastern coastal areas for those seeking a rustic rather than formal Victorian look. Covered in butter-yellow scalloped shingles, the house has wide wrap-around porches and a complex, asymmetrical roofline formed by dormers, bay windows and a wide turret. Throughout the house, soft wall colors set off dark pine floors and high gloss cream paint highlights original, restored Victorian moldings. The house’s renovation preserved historic features, including a pair of iron brackets mounted on either side of the front doorjamb. They originally held a large iron bar across the door that was the 19th century version of locking up at night. Established around 1680, the now-extinct Miles River Ferry transported passengers via canoe and later a flat-bottomed boat that docked here. Before the first Miles River Bridge was built in 1858, ferry was the only way to cross the river to access Easton or St. Michaels.
GROSS COATE FARM: The large brick dwelling, located at the confluence of Gross Creek, Lloyd Creek and the Wye River, is a Georgian masterpiece, dating from 1760. The property was originally patented to William Gross by Lord Baltimore in 1658, then owned by the Tilghman family for two and a half centuries. Author Christopher Weeks writes of this gracious plantation house: “The house grew and changed in a leisurely fashion with the family fortunes.” In 1914 while significant changes were undertaken, an intricately carved mantel was rescued from the barn. The dining room floors were made from walnut trees, blown down by a hurricane. The wood was cured by lying in the river for several years. The wrap-around porch was designed to unite the house’s many varied additions. The creamery, smokehouse, laundry, carriage house, and stable are of interest, as are the very old, magnificent trees, several of which are state champions. The present owners have added a small Roman Catholic chapel, consecrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington in 2016. It is dedicated to Maryland’s Elizabeth Ann Seton, America’s first female saint. All are welcome to visit and say a little prayer!
ASHBY: Situated on Goldsborough Neck overlooking the Miles River, Ashbywas built in 1858 by Robert Goldsborough and his wife Elizabeth Greenberry. Ashby was designed with a romantic sensibility on the highest point of land facing south with a rolling lawn and two-mile vista of the river. The addition of a Colonial Revival portico in 1941 created a more formal Georgian mansion from the otherwise informal Italianate dwelling. The building is two bays wide, two bays deep and constructed on a brick foundation, reputedly part of an earlier foundation. An elegant entry hall features impressive high ceilings and the floor-to-ceiling windows in the great room illuminate the expansive interior rooms that overlook the river. Over nine generations, the family and original owners – descendants of Nicholas Goldsborough who emigrated from England to Kent Island about 1670 – played an influential role in Maryland and national politics. North of the house is the family cemetery enclosed by a high brick wall and stately gate. Many Goldsboroughs are buried here.
THIRD HAVEN FRIENDS MEETING HOUSE: Completed in 1684, this is the oldest documented building in the state. As one of only a handful of 17th century buildings to survive in Maryland’s Tidewater region, it is listed with the Maryland Historical Trust. At the time of its construction, there were many small Quaker meetings in the area and it was attended as a general “Meetinghouse” rather than as a place of local worship. By the end of the 17th century, the smaller meetings closed down and their members traveled more frequently to Third Haven. Meeting for worship continues to the present. Originally built in a modified cruciform, it was enlarged to its present shape in 1797-98. The sliding panels, which divide the large room, were closed to provide for separate men’s and women’s business meetings.
TALBOT HISTORICAL SOCIETY GARDENS: You are invited to tour the Gardens of the Historical Society of Talbot County, maintained by Talbot County Garden Club members. Enter through the North Terrace on Washington Street. The hand-wrought iron Entrance Gate incorporates the Historical Society’s “Star” logo and complements other iron gates, including an antique gate from New Orleans and the half-circle fence and gate providing entry from Glenwood Avenue. The garden along the brick walkway includes boxwood, spring and fall blooming camellias, native oak leaf hydrangeas, and sweet bay magnolias. The main garden has rectangular beds, typical of classical garden design in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Alice D. Huxley Herb Garden has lovely brickwork and a sundial as its focal point. The garden’s picket fence was designed after that of the Chase-Lloyd Garden in Annapolis. The garden adjacent to the Glenwood Avenue wall, with an undulating edge, is planted with native shrubs including sweetspire, summersweet and bottlebrush buckeye, and shade-loving annuals and perennials. The South Terrace Garden was a gift of the Garden Club in 1961. Enjoy these beloved in-town gardens.
Check TCGC’s website for further Tour details and for the lunch menu:www.talbotcountygc.org
A delicious $17 box lunch will be available for pickup from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. by advance reservation only at the Third Haven Friends Meeting House. Checks for box lunch orders must be received by May 2, with checks payable to TCGC (Talbot County Garden Club) and mailed to: TCGC, POBox 1524, Easton, MD 21601. Indicate your sandwich selection on the check. Your cancelled check is your receipt.
For questions, contact Talbot County Tour Chair Eleanor Denegre: [email protected]
For other information, check www.mhgp.org/ 410-821-6933