Historic Garden Week in Virginia often focuses on the historic homes more than the gardens and this year’s tour in southern Albemarle County was no exception. Two prominent homes from the Jefferson era were open to visitors for a rare opportunity to see inside. This local tour was hosted by the Charlottesville, Albemarle, and Rivanna Garden Clubs.
Esmont, built nearly 200 years ago has just undergone an extensive renovation with extraordinary attention to detail, inside and out.
View of back porch of Esmont. Newly added kitchen wing is on the left.
A small chapel was added to the property in recent years.
The other home on the southern Albemarle tour was Redlands, built circa 1800 by the Carter Family who still own the property today.
A giant Ash tree stands in the front lawn.
This 1933 photograph taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston shows that the house is remarkably unchanged today.
Sitting on a high elevation, there are distant vistas from Redlands in several directions with views of the Virginia country side and Blue Ridge Mountains.
The final stop on the southern Albemarle tour was Bellair Farm. Here the house was not open to the public but a thorough tour of the farm was.
Bellair Farm is a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Farm where locals can buy in on a yearly basis to get a weekly supply of produce during the growing season. Crops are started in the greenhouse. The operation is working toward organic certification.
Eggs and poultry are also part of Bellair Farm. The moveable chicken coops allow the chickens to live on green pastures, feeding on insects and grubs as well as feed provided by the farm staff.
Frances Benjamin Johnston photograph courtesy Library of Congress.
All other photographs by © 2014, Steve Trumbull/C’ville Images