The main stairwell extends 36 feet, its handrail tethered to the steps by decorative spindles.

"Gretchen, she sat down and sanded every one of those spindles," Denis Clift recalled.

They also refinished the original Georgia pine floors.

In the 1990s, the couple extended the kitchen and dining room, adding a veranda that runs more than 60 feet across the back of the house. It overlooks a small pond and yard, and wildlife are drawn to the trees, flowers, birdbaths and feeders.

For the tour, homes of varying vintages and designs are included, from single-story dwellings to expansive houses; and landscaping that varies from native trees to carefully manicured gardens.

The tour, which guides visitors over the neighborhood's pedestrian bridge to cross the old Baltimore and Annapolis Railroad right-of-way, also shows a home owned by St. John's College for its president, replete with a garden house.

At four of the residences, only gardens will open, but they promise to be worth the walk as well: a Japanese garden, two with sculptures and another with a pond.

If you go

Proceeds from the annual House & Garden Pilgrimage benefit architectural preservation and restoration in Maryland, and the Wardour tour will specifically aid the Charles Carroll House and Gardens.

The tour will be Saturday, April 20, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Tickets, registration and tour information is available at Ticket price for Wardour is $30 for advance purchase on website; $35 on tour day at Old Crossing Road and Giddings Avenue, Wardour Drive and Melvin Avenue and at the Park Place garage.

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