If touring historical and contemporary homes, viewing long-range vistas from a mountaintop, swinging on a gazebo porch swing and walking through garden arbors sounds like a pleasant way to spend a Saturday, the small town of Lewisburg may be your destination for the 34th annual Lewisburg Home and Garden Tour.
“It’s an opportunity to welcome people to Lewisburg, and hopefully they come back,” said Ellen Goodwin, an organizer of this year’s tour, which brings together the four garden clubs in the town of 3,830: Bluebell Garden Club, Greenbrier Gardeners, Lewisburg House and Garden Club and Savannah Garden Club.
Five of Lewisburg’s finest homes and four gardens are featured at the event.
Garden Club members will open the doors and garden gates to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 14.
Tickets purchased in advance cost $25 and cost $30 on the day of the event.
“The downtown businesses, the art galleries, the unique shops and restaurants, the little boutiques, the Greenbrier Valley Theatre, the Lewis Theatre, Carnegie Hall … just walking around is nice. There should be something for everybody,” Goodwin said.
Among the home and gardens featured is Cottage Belle, 419 E. Washington St., the home of Tag and Annabelle Galyean.
It contains a unique collection of “garden rooms, sculpture, gathering areas and exterior space” 20 years in the making, by the owners and landscape designer Josh Polan, said Annabelle Galyean.
“It’s a Sears Roebuck house,” Galyean said of the two-bedroom cottage’s original portion, constructed in 1922.
“When we moved here in 1989, it was owned by Bill Campbell, the golfer, and they had used it only for the summers. We bought it in 1992,” she said.
The home was redesigned and refurbished to be a simple cottage within a series of garden “rooms.”
“Tag will just sit out here in the gazebo and say, ‘God, this is beautiful.’ We built the gazebo to replace the covered porch which we converted to our master bedroom,” she said.
The Garden at Marfield
The Garden at Marfield, 508 E. Washington St., is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat, and was designed by the owners, Gail Marshall and Bill Tilson, with handcrafted gazebos, storage buildings, swing arbors and a collection 50 types of Japanese maples trees.
“When I moved in here in 1971, it was fenced in and it was a horse pasture. It was all locust trees, greenbriers, poison ivy and barbed wire,” Marshall said.
She explained that the name of the garden is a combination of the first syllable of her last name and the word “field.”
The couple has been together for 12 years and they share a mutual love of designing, constructing and maintaining the garden.
“She designs the shape of the garden and takes marker paint to outline it and then we both start shoveling. We call the seven-sided gazebo we built Cielo Verde, which translates to ‘green sky.’ Most gazebos have eight sides, but this one lends itself to being seven-sided because we wanted two swings. We like to put on a fire and have a gin and tonic,” Tilson said.
He went on to explain how together they hand-dug the larger of the two ponds on the property in seven weeks.
“We enjoy it, and Mother Nature is good to us,” Marshall said.
The home of Claude and Rebecca Gaujot, Gaujot House was built in 2005 in the Greenbrier Pines subdivision.
It was selected to be part of the home and garden tour to show how the Lewisburg area is not exclusively about historic homes.
“We built this house after we got the plans off the Internet. I think it was Southern Living,” Rebecca Gaujot said as she walked through her home, which features an open floor plan with many windows to provide views of nature.
A wooded area in the back of the home can be enjoyed from the deck or the stone patio on the lower level.
The traditional yet modern home also features an impressive art collection, including works by Lynn Boggess, Max Hayslette, Pamela Gatens and Jessica Roczniak-Grist.
Four additional homes and gardens are part of the tour: Harmony Hill, a 6,000-square-foot home built from yellow pine logs near the top of White Rock Mountain in the Greenbrier State Forest; The Mourges Home, a contemporary log home nestled in the Allegheny Mountains and overlooking The Greenbrier resort; The Spencer Garden, designed in raised vegetable beds with crushed pebble paths and perennial herb beds on each side of the backyard; and The Vass House, in wooded Greenbrier Pines, Lewisburg’s newest residential development.
Tickets for the home and garden show may be purchased at the General Lewis Inn, 301 E. Washington St.; The Front Porch, 219 E. Washington St.; the North House museum, 301 W. Washington St.; as well as at each of the tour sites.
Information and advance tickets are available at the Greenbrier County Convention & Visitors Bureau, 200 W. Washington St., or visit greenbrierwv.com.
Complimentary tea and cookies will be served at the General Lewis Inn from 2 to 5 p.m. June 14.
Tickets include attendance at a reception at 6 p.m. June 13, featuring George W. Longenecker, executive director of the West Virginia Botanic Garden, as the guest speaker at the Carnegie Hall auditorium, 105 Church St. He will discuss the vision for the 82-acre gardening site in Monongalia County. Light hors d’oeuvres and beverages will be served. Visit wvbg.com for additional information about the botanical garden.
Detailed information about the homes and gardens featured on the 2014 tour and directions may be found at lewisburghomeandgardentour.com.
Visitors are encouraged to take time during and after the tour to enjoy downtown Lewisburg.
The house and garden tour ticket entitles the holder to 10 percent off purchases at Stella’s, Livery Tavern or The Front Porch.
“We still think we’re a cool small town, and one should just come and experience it and enjoy the day. It’s fun,” Goodwin said, referring to the town’s “Coolest Small Town in America” designation by Budget Travel magazine in 2011.
All proceeds from the tour are used for beautification projects and for the next year’s home and garden tour, Goodwin said.
Reach Judy E. Hamilton at email@example.com or 304-348-1230.