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What's Up Magazine

MD House and Garden Pilgrimage Tour

Mar 29, 2012 05:00PM ● By Anonymous
This year’s tours celebrate a 75-year Maryland tradition, offering visitors the opportunity to explore some of Maryland's most fascinating and noteworthy properties. The 2012 tour includes more than 50 private homes, gardens, farms, churches and historic sites across five Maryland jurisdictions:  Baltimore City, Bolton Hill (Saturday April 28); St. Mary’s County (Saturday, May 5); Talbot County (Saturday, May 12); Howard County (Saturday, May 19), and Anne Arundel County (Sunday, May 20). Tours are $30 in advance or $35 the day of the tour. Lunches will be available on all the county tours for an additional charge. Tickets and more information are available at or by calling 410-821-6933.

The annual spring tours are a central component of the MHGP’s efforts to cultivate awareness of Maryland’s rich architectural and cultural heritage, from historic to contemporary settings. Each year, proceeds from the tour support designated preservation projects in each host community. To date, the Pilgrimage has raised well over $1 million for the preservation and restoration of architecturally significant properties throughout the State of Maryland, while entertaining and informing many thousands of tour-goers.

“In this 75th year, we are proud to present so many unique and vastly different types of properties,” said Diane Savage, Chairman, MHGP. “Guests of the tours will see an elegant mix of townhouses in the Bolton Hill neighborhood of Baltimore, lovely waterfront homes in Talbot County, the rarely open Whitehall Estate in Anne Arundel County, rural St. Mary’s country homes and an outstanding collection of 18th and 19th century sites in Howard County.”

“In addition, Anne Arundel pilgrims may choose to have a fabulous meal at the Gibson Island Club, in Howard County lunch will be served in the period Refectory Room of the Shrine of St. Anthony and in St. Mary’s County visitors will enjoy a lovely lunch at the Port of Leonardtown Winery,” added Savage. Most meals are available by advance reservation only.

Highlights for each of the jurisdictions on the 2012 tour include:

Anne Arundel:

Whitehall is located on Whitehall Bay with a view of the Chesapeake Bay, and has never before been included on a MHGP tour. The elegant Palladian home of Provincial Governor Horatio Sharpe (1753-1768) was the first dwelling in America with a full-temple portico.  After an extensive restoration in the 1950s the house was named a National Historic landmark.


Of all the neighborhoods in Baltimore, Bolton Hill is the one that best captures the look and spirit of the old city.  It attained its final form in the 1880s as a district of a thousand homes and splendid churches and synagogues uniquely attractive to writers, artists and scientists. A home on John Street, built in the late 1850s, is one of the oldest in Bolton Hill and retains many of the original architectural details. Visitors will see the original pine plank flooring and a rustic carriage house.


The Ellicott City area is the focus of this year’s tour.  The town was founded in 1772 and today the entire Historic District is on the National Register of Historic Places. Waverly was the home of Maryland’s 25th governor, is 75 feet long and constructed of stone. Visitors will appreciate the three large double chimneys and canopied doorway.  Richland Farm, c1781, is an antique dealer’s dream with original furniture (discovered in the attic) that graces this eight-bedroom home.

St. Mary’s:

A water taxi will take visitors to St. Clement Island by reservation, the site of Maryland’s first colonial landing in 1634.  Visitors will see Tudor Hall, built in 1756 by Major Abraham Barnes.  It was sold to Philip Key around 1817, the uncle of Frances Scott Key (writer of the Star Spangled Banner).  The garden is typical of one found in 1820 with boxwood and an arboretum. The home is a Maryland War of 1812 site.


Talbot County was settled by the English about 1660 and still retains an 18th century atmosphere.  The Gardens of Joe Weems are a horticulturalist’s dream.  Passing from one garden to another, the mood changes from that of a country garden to an Oriental garden to a meadow and pond dominated by a giant dragonfly. The New Trappe Landing Farm encompasses 120-acres on a tributary of the Choptank River.  From this site the owners could see steamboats in the 1800s.  Later a floating theater came every year.  Edna Ferber spent a week on the boat in 1924 writing her famous novel “Showboat.”

To contact a county chair or for specific county tour details, please call Margaret Powell, MHGP Executive Director, at 410-821-6933. For more information, tour details and tickets, visit or call 410-821-6933, Monday - Thursday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., or send an email to