The 16th Annual Shepherdstown Back Alley Tour that will be conducted May 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. This Shepherdstown Community Club (SCC) family event has expanded in recent years to include an elegant Tea Party from 11 a.m. 3 p.m. each day. The tea is held upstairs in War Memorial Building.
This year, attendees will be enchanted by beautiful and unique "fairy houses" serving as centerpieces on each table as well as decorating the facility upstairs and down. The houses, created by members of the Potomac-Mecklenburg Garden Club, show creativity through the use of natural materials and offer a spritely theme to the annual tea.
The idea for the theme came after members of the club had created fairy houses as a previous project, said member Bonnie Austin. A total of 12 individuals worked to complete the houses, some of which Austin says, will be for sale during the Tour and Tea weekend.
Garden club member Suzy Yates said of the project, "I'm just totally obsessed with these things." Yates has created several of the houses for the tea using a variety of mediums. One house in particular, which she said she will keep, is entitled "Cabin Woodland." The 'house' is made from a piece of a tree that Yates said her grandfather gave her mother when she was a child. The tree was chopped by beavers and bears the mark of the beaver's teeth. On the bottom, the date of 1912, along with her grandfather's name, is inscribed.
"I thought I would make something with it rather than have it just sit on a shelf collecting dust," Yates said.
Earlier this week, members of the garden club gathered at Austin's home to create additional houses. Laughter and chatter aided in making the project more fun. Joining in were Austin, Diane Cushing, Charlotte Porter, Yates and Rebecca Ayraud. Some members constructed houses with bases of logs sliced thin while styrofoam served as a base for others. Moss, shells, dried flowers, gourds and other items took shape as fairy houses and even a 'fairy bar.'
Yates, who came up with the 'bar' idea, laughingly said, "Some demented mind would think of this fair bar."
Private gardens are open during the tour and visitors can view a variety of diverse locations.In addition to the gardens and interesting sites included in the tour, visitors can view artwork in the War Memorial Building offered by members of the Friday Painters Group. .
The gardens are carefully selected to ensure that visitors have the opportunity to leisurely stroll through the back alleys of Shepherdstown and enjoy much of what makes the town so unique. The self-directed route is varied each year to keep it fresh and interesting, particularly since many families return year after year.
Tickets for the entire tour and tea are $25 each and can be purchased at the Sweet Shop, the Village Florist or Bistro. They will also be available at the desk on the first floor of the War Memorial Building. Those desiring to attend the Tea Party only may purchase tickets for $15. Tickets for the Tour only also cost $15.
Proceeds of the annual event benefit the War Memorial Building, Morgan's Grove Park and Visitable Shepherdstown.