Your Guide to Virginia’s 2015 “Historic Garden Week”
Coinciding with the peak of Virginia’s springtime color, the 87th Annual Historic Garden Week (April 18 – 25, 2015) offers a rare opportunity to visit Virginia’s most gracious homes and lavish, hidden gardens. This 8-day, statewide event showcases more than two hundred fifty unforgettable gardens and beautiful houses sparkling with over 2,000 fabulous flower arrangements created by more than 3,400 Garden Club of Virginia volunteers.
Since its beginning in 1929, Historic Garden Week has raised some 17 million dollars for the restoration of public gardens across Virginia, including Mount Vernon, Monticello, and the grounds of the Executive Mansion in Richmond. This year, there will be 41 separate tours throughout Virginia over eight consecutive days. Known as “America’s Largest Open House”, it is the largest ongoing volunteer effort in Virginia.
Historic Garden Week – Charlottesville Area
The rich cultural heritage of Thomas Jefferson’s era is on display in Charlottesville’s portion of 2015 Historic Garden Week, as several buildings on the tour reflect the influence of Jefferson’s classical architectural ideals. Several of the featured properties are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and much of the land is still held in large farms, as it has been since the 18th century.
- Morven. A majestic three-story brick manor house built in the late Georgian/Federal styles. Dating to 1820, the house was once owned by Thomas Jefferson. In 2001, the 7,378- acre estate was given to the University of Virginia Foundation by the late John Kluge. The extraordinary gardens boast a number of interesting varieties, including a pair of Osage orange trees, a state champion Chinese Chestnut, and a lovely dove tree. Read more here.
- Albemarle / Charlottesville. Close to the city-center of Charlottesville, this portion of the tour showcases several unique properties, ranging from restored Gillette gardens; to a modern, private home which seamlessly integrates the landscape with native and non-native specimens in colorful, expansive beds; to stately 19th and 20th century manor homes, representing the essence of refined country living in Central Virginia. Read more about this portion of the tour right here.
- Orange County. Highlighting three private homes, as well as the Barboursville Ruins, this garden-focused tour notes the evolution of farming and architecture along the Spotswood Trail near James Madison’s Montpelier. Tours of Barboursville Vineyards are also available. Learn more here.
- Tuckahoe Plantation. Located less than 45 minutes from Prospect Hill in Goochland County, this tour of the boyhood home of Thomas Jefferson showcases the most complete plantation layout in North America dating from the early 18th century, and includes the schoolhouse where Jefferson attended classes. More information is available here.
What Is It:
An 8-day statewide tour of 191 majestic homes and exquisite gardens. Begun in 1929, more than 17 million dollars has been raised to preserve or restore some of Virginia’s most-cherished historic landmarks. The Charlottesville portion of the tour will showcase numerous historic properties.
Dates / Schedule (for Charlottesville Area tours only):
Morven Estate: Saturday, April 18th, 10 am – 5 pm
Orange County: Saturday, April 18th, 10 am – 5 pm
Tuckahoe Plantation: Wednesday, April 22nd – Friday, April 24th, 10 am – 5:30 pm
Albemarle/Charlottesville: Sunday, April 19th, 12 – 5 pm; Monday, April, 20th, 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday, April 18, 2015 through Friday, April 24th, 2015
Locations / Admission Fees:
Morven Estate, 791 Morven Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22902, $15 advanced, $20 onsite.
Albemarle / Charlottesville, $40 advanced ticket purchase
Orange County, $25 advanced ticket purchase
Tuckahoe Plantation, 12601 River Rd, Richmond, Virginia 23238, $10 plus Richmond tour ticket (grounds & gardens only tour free with Richmond ticket)
Tour ticket prices vary by location and range from $15 – $50 per tour. Advance tickets can be purchased online here or at various local outlets. Tickets are also available at each tour location on the day of the event (not all tour locations can accept credit cards).
What Else You Should Know:
This is a driving tour of properties throughout the Charlottesville and Central Virginia area. Most of the homes and gardens are not handicapped-accessible due to multiple staircases, narrow unpaved roads and uneven walkways. Once onsite, you will do a good bit of walking, so wear comfortable walking shoes.
Neither smoking, pets, nor photography is allowed inside the homes. Children are welcome, but those under age 17 must be accompanied by an adult. The tours occur rain or shine, except for Morven (in the event of rain, Morven tours will be cancelled. Tickets, however, are not refundable).
The website for the 2015 Virginia Historic Garden week is here.
Where to Stay:
Our Inn sparkles like a jewel during the Spring, so as you plan your trip to Charlottesville, remember that we have our own captivating grounds (including a century-old arboretum) and fascinating history (our original cabin was built circa 1699 and is still available for guests… see it here. In addition, we’ll pamper you with breakfast-in-bed and delight you with true Southern hospitality. Book your stay with us today right here.