Merryland Farm tour

Merryland Farm in Hydes will be open to the public for tours on Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 4 p.m. Tickets are $10 with all proceeds to benefit the Historical Society of Harford County's Building Farm. (Courtesy of Merryland Farm / May 29, 2013)

The Historical Society of Harford County's next historic property Open House Tour will take place at Merryland Farm this Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Merryland is at 12901 Bottom Road in Hydes, just over the Harford/Baltimore County line.

Merryland Farm was founded in 1939, by Danny Shea who got his start with show jumping horses, competing at Madison Square Garden at the highest level. His vision for the property was as a commercial breeding and training facility.

Shea had just completed the construction of a 5/8ths mile track at the time of his death. His widow, Betty Shea Miller, sold the farm to Barbara and Henry Obre but continued to manage the farm for the next 30 years.

Back-to-back 2-year-old champions were broken at Merryland for Sonny Werblin's Elberon Farm during Miller's management including in 1968, Process Shot, the nation's top 2-year-old filly, and 1969 juvenile champion Silent Screen - one of the favorites for the 1970 Kentucky Derby.

Accepted by the Baltimore County Department of Parks and Recreation as a charitable donation in 1993, Merryland was subsequently purchased at public auction by Delaware park owner William Rickman in 1999.

Country Life Farm of Bel Air bought the property in 2001 and spent five years renovating the circa 1890 house for use by clients. The farm is a working commercial thoroughbred nursery and training facility and is in conservation with the Long Green Valley Conservancy. The Pons family continues the tradition of Merryland's role of providing a first class commercial breeding and training center that is tops in the Mid Atlantic region.

Visitors will be able to tour the house and grounds and will also have the chance to visit the stables to meet the breeding and racing horses that make their home at Merryland and to see the training track.

Tickets for the tour are $10 per person ($5 for children). Reservations are required and may be made by calling 410-838-7691 or via e-mail to DirectorHSHC@verizon.net. The tour will take place rain or shine. No dogs allowed. Walking shoes are recommended. Proceeds benefit the Historical Society's Building Restoration Campaign.