The Piedmont Virginian's Blog

Serving and Celebrating America's Historic Heart

Category: Albemarle County (page 2 of 26)

Historic Garden Week 2014, right around the corner

Glenbrook, Loudoun, by Missy Janes, Stone Barn Photography 

April 26 to May 3 marks the annual historic garden week in Virginia. Almost 200 private homes and gardens will be open for 31 separate tours across the state. Stroll through scenic gardens while you celebrate spring. For 81 years, the grounds of some of the Commonwealth’s most cherished historic landmarks have been restored or preserved using proceeds from the tour including Mount Vernon and Monticello.

Hickory House, Loudoun, by Missy Janes, Stone Barn Photography 

Notable locations in the Piedmont include:

Saturday, April 26

Old Town Alexandria

Clarke County and Winchester (also open Sunday)

Orange County: Gordonsville

Charlottesville: Morven

Sunday, April 27 and Monday, April 28

Albemarle: Charlottesville

Middleburg and Upperville

Tuesday, April 29

Fredericksburg: Caroline Street

Charlottesville: University of Virginia

Tickets may be purchased at any tour location throughout Virginia on the day of the event. Prices vary from $15 to $40 per tour. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit:

This year, the Albemarle Garden Club celebrates its 100th anniversary with several locations open for tours including Redlands, Esmont and Bellair Farm. Morven Estate , the gardens at Monticello and the University of Virginia’s Pavilion gardens will also be open for tours.

Read about Garden Week in old town Gordonsville in our new spring issue. Preview the article on our website:

Six Historic Albemarle County Farms To Open For Public Tours

Keswick, VA — Members of the public will have an opportunity to tour six farm estates in Albemarle County, as well as the Keswick Hunt Club and Grace Episcopal Church, on Saturday, June 16, 2012 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The tours are sponsored by Grace Episcopal Church, which is located near the farms in the Cismont/Keswick area. At Grace Church, participants can visit a country fair, tour the historic church and grounds, and enjoy organ music. The fair will feature food and craft vendors, pony rides, a fire engine and a raffle for prizes.

The six estates on the tour are Airslie, Bridlespur, Castalia, Castle Hill Cider Works, Edgeworth and Merrie Mill. The farm tour event, entitled Beyond the Gates, provides a rare opportunity to visit a selection of historic sites near Charlottesville. Highlights of the tour include a sheepdog demonstration, presentation of the Keswick Foxhounds, an exhibition by Paso Fino horses, and other events.

Randall Haycock, Interim Rector of Grace Church, said: “All of us at Grace look forward to welcoming the people of Central Virginia to our Beyond the Gates historic farm tour. We hope that both individuals and families of all ages will enjoy the events and fun of this day in the country.” Added the Senior Warden, Anne Shackelford: “We want our visitors to know that proceeds from the farm tour will go to support our community ministries, including support for non-profit organizations like Hospice of the Piedmont, Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity.”

Historic Grace Episcopal Church stands at the site of one of six colonial churches in Virginia that still have active congregations. Thomas Jefferson served on the Vestry of the original parish from 1767 to 1770. Every Thanksgiving Day since 1929, the church has conducted an outdoor service known as the Blessing of the Hounds. This colorful ceremony brings together foxhunters and their horses and hounds in the church yard for prayers and thanksgiving.

Airslie Farm’s main residence, which was renovated in the 1990s, was built by descendants of the Meriwether family around the turn of the 20th century. The barns and cottages on this 507-acre property still reflect the architectural style of an earlier time. The Wildlife Center of Virginia and Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation will feature displays at Airslie.

Bridlespur was derived from an area originally identified as Clark’s tract, where a tavern served travelers between Charlottesville and Gordonsville. Designed in 1938 by the renowned architectural firm Grigg and Johnson, the antebellum style manor home features superior craftsmanship and an outdoor living area that incorporates over 65,000 bricks from old chimneys.

Castalia was once owned by relatives of famed explorer Meriwether Lewis. During the past 26 years, the farm has produced outstanding Paso Fino horses, including national champions El Vicario Ltd. and Lisanna.
Castle Hill was built in 1764 as the home of Col. Thomas Walker, who was a guardian and mentor for Thomas Jefferson. Today, this 600-acre estate is the site of a cidery and a venue for weddings and large events. Castle Hill Cider began in 2009 with the planting of 600 apple trees of 28 varieties.

Edgeworth is a 1200-acre farm that features Angus cattle and sheep. Previous owners include the Rev. James Maury, who operated a school attended by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; and Major-General William Fitzhugh Gordon, who fought in the War of 1812.

Merrie Mill began in 1857 when a retired Baltimore merchant purchased 600 acres and erected a two-story house, which he named Edgefield. Its interior is finished in polished chestnut and oak wood that was harvested on the property. Donna Lucey will be at Merrie Mill to sell and sign her book, Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age, which recounts the life of John Chaloner, who once lived on the property. There will also be a jumping exhibition.

The Keswick Hunt Club’s kennels are home to roughly 70 American Foxhounds that lead mounted club members on chases in designated territory in four counties. Founded in 1896, the Hunt Club has hosted at least one horse show every year since 1904.

Tickets for the Beyond the Gates historic farm tour cost $15 in advance through June 15th, or $20 per individual on the day of the event, and may be purchased at Grace Church and any of the tour sites on June 16th. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free. Each ticket allows admission to all sites, exhibits and demonstrations. The farm tour will take place regardless of weather conditions. Proceeds will support the church’s numerous community ministries, which benefit the church’s food closet and organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, the Salvation Army, Hospice of the Piedmont, Boys and Girls Club of Central VA and many others. Ticket information and other details are available at
Jill Kavanagh
Publicity Chair
c/o Grace Episcopal Church
P.O. Box 67
Keswick, VA 22947
Phone: (434) 293-3549

Ellen Hathaway, featured Artist at Les Yeux du Monde

From our friends at Les Yeux du Monde:

Epiphanies, brilliantly-hued, gestural acrylic florals by Ellen Hathaway, of Keswick, opened at Les Yeux du Monde, the Charlottesville mountaintop gallery designed by renowned architect W.G. Clark.

In one of the darkest months of the year, Ellen Hathaway: Epiphanies resonates color, energy and vibrancy on the walls of Les Yeux du Monde Gallery. Having shown in group exhibitions with Les Yeux du Monde since 2007, Hathaway’s Epiphanies is her first solo exhibition at the gallery featuring 45 acrylic paintings, the smallest at 10 inches to the largest at 4 feet. The portrait-like paintings of flowers, each unique, impart a larger message of life cycles and hope captured in such titles as Womb, Retiring, Playing with Fire and Euphoria. Executing a technique incorporating myriad layers of acrylic paint and clear glazes to increase opulence and depth, the artist is as concerned with process as imagery. The flowers are not botanical studies in precision and accuracy, rather expressive, emotive through color and gesture.

Hathaway paints in her Keswick studio and shows her paintings from Manchester, New Hampshire to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and is preparing for a solo exhibition in North Carolina in March. Her work has been on exhibit at The National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland and is part of Martha Jefferson Hospital’s permanent collection.

Epiphanies opened with a Thursday, January 5th preview with a talk by the artist followed two nights later by a reception; both events were well-attended. This exhibit will be on view at Les Yeux du Monde through February 12, Thursdays through Saturday, 1 until 5 pm, or by appointment. On Wednesday, January 25th the gallery will host a “Lunch with the Artist” at noon, call 434-973-5566 for reservations, cost $12 or free to Collector’s Club members. Les Yeux du Monde is located at 841 Wolf Trap Road in Charlottesville, VA.

For more information on the artist and her work go to or visit
LYDM Gallery owner and director Lyn Warren can be reached via email at, or phone the gallery: 434-973-5566 or mobile: 434-882-2620. Ellen Hathaway can be reached via email at or phone at 434-981-3589

Focus on the Print — November & December

Check out the latest news from our friends at the Frederick Nichols Studio:

During November and December, a group of galleries from Charlottesville to Orange, along the Route 20N corridor, will host a “Focus on the Print,” featuring the work of regional printmakers.

Since ancient times the urge to replicate images has been a goal of artists.  Before the invention of the printing press methods were invented to duplicate artwork, such as cast seals and relief carvings.  They were often used to disseminate information, religious, political, and cultural, to the masses.

As artists became involved in the pursuit of what has been called the “democratic” form of art, interest in multiples as discipline distinct from painting or drawing began to emerge. Some artists were inspired by process, from woodcuts to etchings.  Manipulating the image by invention and design became central to the process.

With the advent of computer prints, the lines between craftsmanship and the mechanical have been blurred.  But traditional methods continue to interest artists, and many artists now merge the digital with other methods. Conversely, a recent development in printmaking has been the monoprint, the technique of using printmaking techniques to produce one print, where spontaneous invention and gestural markings are central to the process. For the “Focus on the Print,” all forms of contemporary printmaking will be represented, from experimental to traditional.

On the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, Chroma Projects Art Lab will feature Charlottesville artist Rosamond Casey in the gallery during the month of November with her book/game installation, Catch the Baby, that involves a giclee’ print process for the project’s imagery. Their December show will feature recent work by Richmond Printmakers’ One/Off group, whose members demonstrate a rich diversity of printmaking approaches from wood block prints to etching and engraving with subjects ranging from abstract to landscape to figurative work which often contains a sense of humor.

Second Street Gallery, also on the Downtown Mall, and Les Yeux Des Monde Gallery on Rt 20, just North of Charlottesville, are collaborating on a major 25 year survey of the art of Dean Dass, professor of printmaking at UVA.  His most recent prints and paintings will be shown at LYDM while Second Street will have a range of his work from the early 1980s till today. The exhibition will open at LYMD on Nov 18 and at Second Street Gallery on the First Friday in December.

Further up Rt 20N in Barboursville, Frederick Nichols Studio will be having a mini-retrospective covering 35 years of Nichols’ printmaking career during November and December. Tours of the studio will be offered.  Nichols Gallery Annex will feature prints by ten artists from around the region, including silkscreens by Ed Bordett of Roanoke and Lou Stovall of Washington, DC, monoprints by Frank Hobbs and David Freed of Richmond, and digital collages by Charlottesville artist McCrea Kudravetz.

Fifteen miles from Barboursville is the Art Center in Orange.  In November 3rd thru December 23rd, the Center will feature  a group show of artists from the DC area Washington Printmakers Gallery, whose foundation promotes fine-art printmaking by fostering the creation and appreciation of hand-pulled, artist-made prints.  Just north of Orange is Woodberry Forest School, where the school’s Baker Art Gallery is featuring “Six Printmakers,” including Kelly Lonergan, who teaches art at Woodberry and curated the show, Dennis Winston of Richmond, and Russell Richards of Charlottesville, whose works represent a variety of printmaking methods and materials. The exhibition will run from November 1st through December 18th.

For information regarding individual gallery hours, exhibition dates, openings, and special events, visit

Autumn Over Warm Springs

32″ x 48″
[Fred Nichols]

Conferences, Summer Camps & Gods and Generals

Our friends at The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership (JTHG) have some pretty amazing events and projects going on this year.  From Gettysburg to Monticello, the JTHG is full of local culture, wineries, old towns, breath taking views and the amazing rich history of this region.

The first event that is quickly approaching would be the JTHG Partnership Annual Conference on May 24-25 at George Mason University in Manassas, VA.  JTHG along with A&E Television Network invite you to this annual conference featuring History Channel Chief Historian and Senior Vice President, Libby H. O’Connell as the keynote speaker.  The conference is open to the public however you must register to attend ($30-$100 for registration).  There will be networking events, battlefield tours, and workshops covering genealogy and tourism; mobile technology and visitors; African American heritage and the Underground Railroad; engaging youth in our shared national heritage; and the latest news on the commemorations for the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and Emancipation.  Seating is limited so please register soon!

JTHG also offers a wonderful Extreme Journey Summer Camp every Summer.  However this year, for the very first time, middle-school-aged students from around the globe can also experience Extreme Journey Summer Camp!  The JTHG Partnership is also teaming up with Woodberry Forest School this year to host a two-week overnight camp that builds on the enormous popularity of the normal Extreme Journey Day Camp.  Both of the day and overnight camps take 6th through 8th grade boys and girls on historic adventures through Presidential homes, internationally known heritage sites, and through some of our nation’s most significant national parks.  They will hike, bike, canoe and spend time with National Park Service Rangers, expert historians, archaeologists, and educators to unlock stories and lessons of leadership found in the region.  For more info and registration, click here.

HISTORY (channel) recently announced its financial support of $100,000 to the JTHG Partnership’s award-winning Of the Student, By the Student, For the Student service-learning program.  This donation will be used over the next three years to bring this groundbreaking, multimedia educational program to students and schools in order to interpret life and events during the American Civil War and from battlefields within the JTHG National Heritage Area.  The donation will allow JTHG to work closely with 12 National Park partners and nearby grade schools with in the JTHG National Heritage Area, and will teach young people about the impact of the Civil War.

The JTHG Partnership, Warner Brothers Entertainment, and Producer/Director Ron Maxwell invite you to see the new Extended Director’s Cut of Gods & Generals at the Hylton Performing Arts Center in Manassas, Va.  The actors will discuss the making of the film and the importance of our nation’s heritage.  Several of the actors/actresses will attend this event as well!  Come out and enjoy the premiere on Friday, July 22 at 3pm.  Tickets are $61 and benefit the education programs of the JTHG.  Group rates are available.  Click here for more information and to order tickets.

As you can see, there are so many fantastic things going on with The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership and we’re so excited to be a part of it.  We hope that you and your family will take the time to enjoy one or all of these amazing events or programs coming up.  Please visit the JTHG website for many more event listings such as The Heart & Soul of the Journey Annual Gala on June 18th; Kids to Parks Days; the Dinner at Palladio Restuarant with Gods and Generals director Ron Maxwell, or read about the six JTHG Certified Tourism Ambassadors that have reached the finals for the annual Star Award!  Visit to stay up to date with all of the amazing events happening for this organization.

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