Hop on the bus, Gus. Make a new plan, Stan – the Greenbrier Valley House & Garden Tour is back. Mark your calendar for June 11, 2022, 10 am – 4pm.
This is one of my favorite days in one of my favorite towns.
Eleven properties will be open for touring in Whites Sulphur Springs and Lewisburg. It’s worth spending a few minutes to map out the day.
If you head to White Sulphur first you can visit Walls Fine Arts Gallery and Dwarf Apple Quarter. Look for a garden that features dwarf and other fruit trees such as hardy kiwi, berries, asparagus, and herbs. Plants in this garden must give back in at least two ways – shade, pollination, medicine, nitrogen repair, or provide beauty to the area.
Don’t leave White Sulphur without visiting St. Thomas Episcopal Church. Although this location was built in 1931, inside, you will find an altar, pulpit, lectern, communion rail, and pews from the original site on the ground of “The Old White,” predecessor of the Greenbrier Hotel.
The Gum Store Studio is a fun stop. Originally, the Gum General Store from 1913 to 1980, this is where fresh eggs were gathered from chickens housed underneath the building. These days it is a home for arts, creativity, and healing.
One last stop at Nell’s Cottage with bright green shutters will finish the tour of White Sulphur Springs.
The remaining eight homes and gardens are in Lewisburg.
Here you can visit Fair Haven Equine and Event Center, a once spectacular barn being restored by new owners. Be sure to check out the recently refurbished and rehung stall doors.
The history of the area shines through this tour. Several houses were built in the 1800s. Visit Edith McKinley’s home and hear how, when clearing out the back garden and a row of black walnut trees, she discovered the graves of “bad boys” who were accused of robbing a band and cheating at cards, thus not put to rest in the cemetery.
The Ivanhoe was a 1913 Sears Mail-Order House delivered by rail to Ronceverte and brought to Lewisburg by horse and wagon. The house was built from the $1,528 kit, and after adding in labor costs, total expenses were $3,000. This Arts And Crafts style home has only had four owners. The current owner – and with full disclosure, my good friend Sissy Isaac has created a back garden where you will want to linger.
Built in the 1830s, the Shea Home is often referred to as the Homer A. Holt place. Former Governor Holt owned the property in the early 1900s. The Shea family has renovated and cared for the property since 2016.
The Craddock-Johnson Home is listed on the National Historic Register. The new owners Michelline and David Johnson have honored the past while including changes that reflect modern day living.
While on Washington Street visit the Dehaven home. This Victorian style home underwent a two-year restoration of the home and gardens. Looking for a work in progress? Then stop by the Venable-Mathew-Moore Home. The 17 room Neoclassical and Victorian styled home is just beginning its road back to glory.
This tour is about communities coming together. The Bluebell Garden Club, Greenbrier Gardeners, Lewisburg Home and Garden Club, Old White Garden Club, and the Savannah Garden Club are all involved in making this day a success. Profits from ticket sales are used for civic beautification projects.
If you need a place to sit for a spell and chat about the gardens, stop by the General Lewis Inn 1-4 pm. Complimentary tea and cookies are included as part of the tour. New this year is the Vendor Marketplace at Clingman Center in Montwell Commons.
If you are saving tea and cookies for dessert, visit one of the areas spots of lunch. There are many to choose from, but the tour map lists sixteen choices that will give a 10% discount if you show your tour ticket.
The $25 tickets are available in advance from garden club members, The Greenbrier County Convention and Visitors Bureau, The General Lewis Inn, Gillespie’s Flowers, and www.greenbriervalleyhomeandgarentour.com.
Are you more spur of the moment than the plan-ahead type? Don’t fret. You can buy tickets at the door of each home.