Historic House and Garden Tour sees 63rd year
The 63rd annual House and Garden Tour of historic Berkeley and Jefferson counties will feature seven diverse homes. The tours will take place Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Each of the homes will be shown by a participating club or organization that has arranged for the house to be included on the tour. Members of the clubs will docent and some will provide refreshments to the visitors.
On April 22, the homeowners were treated to a meal at The Purple Iris where each was presented with a framed watercolor of their home. Artist Robin Tatina joined in the festivities and posed with each homeowner for photos.
Shenandoah-Potomac Garden Council president June Rabatin commended the homeowners for opening their doors and homes for visitors.
“You have taken these houses and given them life,” she said. “I know you have been working, working and working to prepare.”
Included in the tour this year is the Strother-VanMetre House at 239 South Illinois Ave. in Martinsburg. Owned by Beverly VanMetre for over 40 years, the home has seen many improvements while still maintaining the original floors, windows and trip. Renovations were made to keep the integrity of the home intact. Built between 1935 and 1936, it’s a four-square style home with both late Victorian and Craftsman features. The owner’s collection of vintage china services are displayed; a number of antique furnishings also fill out the home. It will be shown by the Berk-Mar Garden Club.
The Nicklas House, located at 506 Queen St. in Martinsburg, was built in the early 1890s by William O. Nicklas. This is the first time the home, which offers many original architectural features of the Victorian design, has been on the tour. An extensive front porch and porte-cochere were among the additions made by the family. This home will be shown by the Olde Berkeley Garden Club.
Graycliff Hall, located at 200 Meander Lane in Shepherdstown, is a three-year-old home that has been constructed as a recreation of a 400-year-old castle in Umbria, Italy, where the owner once stayed. The home offers eight bedrooms plus two dormitory-style rooms, five of which have expansive views of the Potomac River. The lower level is “all about fun,” according to the owner. It includes bocce courts, shuffleboard, air hockey and a theater room. Members of the Shenandoah Garden Club will be showing Graycliff.
Popodicon, also in Shepherdstown, will be shown by the Dolley Madison Garden Club. Located at 108 Shepherd Grade Road and the official on-campus home of Shepherd University’s president, Popodicon serves as the “business residence” for President Mary Hendrix who has her own home in Shepherdstown and chose to maintain that residency. Popodicon was built in colonial Georgian style and features 17 rooms filled with interesting furnishings including a grandfather clock made by Shepherdstown clock maker Jacob Craft, circa 1820.
The Stone House Mansion, located at 1442 Short Road in Kearneysville, is the oldest house on the tour. Built in 1757 by John Strode, the home and property were allegedly involved in the Lord Fairfax land grant. Purchased in 1857 by John VanMetre, the home remained in the VanMetre family for 154 years. The last member of that family to occupy the home was Vesta VanMetre, a charter member of the Norborne Garden Club-the club showing the home on the tour. Many original features of the home remain along with multiple outbuildings on the property.
Caledonia, 8168 Middleway Pike, Charles Town, was constructed in 1795 and maintains many original architectural features. Owners Joe and Heidi Ware have made every attempt to match all additions and renovations with the original style of the home. Added interest lies in the outdoor features of a sunken garden overlooking a spring-fed lake and an extensive patio. The property is a working farm and visitors are encouraged to wander the grounds. The tour will be hosted by the Windflower and Wizard Clip Garden clubs.
The final house on the tour is the Olde White House Inn at 491 Washington St. in Harpers Ferry. The Inn was built by the Federal government in 1837 and was known as Armory dwelling #135. The house is an excellent example of Victorian architecture with a wide rocking chair porch. The current owners have a passion for presidential memorabilia which can be seen in various rooms named for former presidents. The home will be shown by members of the Harpers Ferry Woman’s Club.
Tickets for the tour can be purchased as a package or for individual homes. They will be available at each of the homes for a cost of $8 per home or $25 for the complete tour. Children’s ticket prices for those 12 and under are d$10 for the complete tour or $5 per individual home.
For more information, visit www.shenandoah-potomacgardencouncil.org.