Aquilegia canadensis, Wild Columbine - A flower native to Albemarle County Credit: Credit: Leo Papandreou via Flickr

81st Historic Garden Week tours to feature history and heritage of the Southern Albemarle Region

Residents and visitors alike can experience the spirit of early 19th century Virginia on Sunday, April 27 and Monday, April 28.  The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historic Garden Week tour, one of thirty-one tours held statewide during Historic Garden Week, features two private homes, Redlands c. 1789, and Esmont, c. 1816, and historic Bellair Farm.  

All three properties emphasize the history and agrarian heritage of the Albemarle region and are located in the vicinity of Route 20 South from Carter’s Bridge to Keene, extending to Esmont.

These properties are all within the Southern Albemarle Rural Historic District, recognized as a national treasure with its listing on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Each property is also individually listed on the Register. The Garden Club of Virginia uses proceeds from its annual Garden Week tours for the preservation of historic Virginia grounds and gardens.

Built on land patented in 1730 to the Carter family, Redlands has been home to the Carter family since building began in 1789.  Under their stewardship, the house preserves the fine woodwork and furnishings of successive generations. The Georgian entrance façade recalls earlier Tidewater models, while the Federal interior reflects Thomas Jefferson’s influence.  

At Esmont, William B. Phillips, a brick mason who worked on the University of Virginia under Jefferson, is believed responsible for the fine Flemish bond brickwork.  Carefully restored, Esmont retains many of its original features, complemented by an exquisitely decorated interior.  

Bellair Farm, farmed continuously for over two centuries, highlights its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program using sustainable agricultural strategies.  The tour of Bellair features farm operations and does not include the house.  Box lunches by prepaid advance registration will be offered at the 1930’s dairy barn.

Parish volunteers at Christ Episcopal Church Glendower, c. 1832, will also welcome visitors on tour days.  Following annual tradition, Morven Estate and Gardens will be on tour on Saturday, April 26.  Morven was open for the first Historic Garden Week in Virginia in 1929, and was the birthplace for the Albemarle Garden Club.  A separate fee is charged for admission.  

Several sites at the University of Virginia will open to visitors on Tuesday, April 29 without charge to the public.  The Albemarle-Charlottesville tour is sponsored by the Albemarle Garden Club, the Charlottesville Garden Club and the Rivanna Garden Club.  

For a detailed schedule, complete tour information, advance tickets and box lunch reservations, visit  Tickets can be purchased in advance online, through various local merchants, including Baine’s Books & Coffee and W.F. Paulett & Son ACE Hardware.  On the days of the tour, visitors can purchase tickets at the featured properties.  Properties are not handicapped accessible due to multiple staircases and uneven walkways.


Martha Wertz is a member of the Rivanna Garden Club.