Woodlawn Plantation invites visitors to view the past


Woodlawn Plantation in Mount Vernon, Va., is the site for three different events this week: an antique carriage drive and car show, a tea and garden tour and a crafts and antiques festival.

This beautiful estate was the home of Maj. Lawrence Lewis, nephew of George Washington, and Nelly Custis Lewis, granddaughter of Martha Washington. When the couple married, George Washington gave them a portion of his Mount Vernon lands as a wedding gift. The mansion was designed by William Thornton, first architect of the Capitol, and during Woodlawn's construction Lawrence and Nelly lived at Mount Vernon. Ownership later passed to Quaker and Baptist settlers, a playwright and a U.S. senator, and now the mansion is a museum property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Antique carriages and antique cars will be on display at the plantation today from noon to 4 p.m. There will be a horse-and-carriage drive through the back roads around U.S. 1 to Woodlawn. After the drive the coaches will assemble on the grounds and participate in driving exhibitions. Antique cars will also be on parade and will be awarded prizes in various categories. During the afternoon the mansion will be open for tours, and light fare will be available. Admission is $6.

Thursday is the annual Rose Garden Tea and Tour from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Guests can enjoy a traditional English high tea that includes a variety of dainty sandwiches, fancy cakes and fruits dipped in chocolate, and then stroll through the gardens. Woodlawn boasts the largest collection of heritage roses on the East Coast with over 50 varieties. The tea and tour of the house and gardens costs $15 and reservations are required. Proceeds will benefit the Woodlawn gardens.

The third annual Heritage Crafts and Antiques Festival, one of Woodlawn's biggest events of the year, is scheduled on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visitors will step into the atmosphere of the 19th century, as costumed crafts people and antique dealers set up shop on the grounds. Folk singers, an a cappella group, a flutist and other period musicians will be on hand to entertain, and costumed guides will give tours of the mansion. There will also be lawn bowling, a variety of 19th-century games, hands-on crafts for children, and puppet shows. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., experts from Weschler's will be at the mansion to give antique appraisals. The cost is $6 per item. Food can be bought from concessions, and homemade treats will be offered from the plantation kitchen.

Festival admission is $4. Rain date is the following day. While at Woodlawn, consider a visit to Frank Lloyd Wright's Pope-Leighey House, another National Trust property, which is located on the Woodlawn grounds. Admission is $4, but festival-goers pay $3. Woodlawn is at the intersection of Route 235 south and U.S. 1 in Mount Vernon. For information, call (703) 780-4000.

Rose Hill Manor

Rose Hill Manor in Frederick, home of Maryland's first elected governor, Thomas Johnson, will be the setting for an afternoon of family fun next Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.

The annual Rose Hill Day Festival focuses on activities of the 18th and 19th centuries. On tours of the manor with costumed interpreters, you will see traditional crafts people engaged in candle dipping, soap making, spinning and hearth cooking. On the grounds, Civil War re-enactment groups will solicit new recruits for the Confederate and Union armies. "Musikanten," an 18th-century music group, will perform on the porch between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., while bluegrass musicians perform in the picnic area and a fife and drum corps plays on the lawn.

And there's more: a lawn-and-garden show and an antique tractor pull by the Farm Museum Association, a jousting tournament, an antique automobile show, hayrides and a variety of craft and food booths. Admission to the grounds and most activities is free, but admission to the museum and parking both cost $1. The manor is at 1611 N. Market St. in Frederick. Call (301) 694-1648.

Civil War re-enactment

The Battle of Chancellorsville will be re-enacted Saturday and next Sunday at Neshaminy State Park in Bensalem, Pa. The event is sponsored by the Grand Army of the Republic Civil War Museum and Library in Philadelphia in cooperation with the Bensalem Historical Society and the 28th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. Over 1,000 Union and Confederate troops and artillery will be engaged in full-scale re-enactments. It is the largest Civil War living-history re-enactment and encampment ever in the area. Camps will be open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is free. The park is just off Interstate 95 at the Street Road Exit. Turn right at light; left at stop sign and follow to park. Call (215) 289-6484 to request a return call.

National Pike Festival

The National Pike Festival continues next weekend in Garrett County, as the wagon train rolls west from Savage Mountain and arrives at Penn Alps at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Festivities include crafts demonstrations, wagon rides, muzzleloading rifle demonstrations and music at Spruce Forest Artisan Village, and music, stories of the National Pike and a presentation by the Cumberland Ballet Ensemble at Grantsville Park. The Casselman Valley Sportsman's Club offers breakfast Saturday and Sunday, black powder matches and a dance featuring a country rock group Saturday night. The wagon train leaves Grantsville at 9 a.m. Sunday, makes a stop at Keyser's Ridge about noon, and plans to reach its destination at Pig's Ear Road at the Pennsylvania line about 3:30 p.m. Most activities are free. Call (301) 895-3315.

Heritage Festival

"An American Heritage Festival -- Yorktown Sampler" presents a view of the different cultures that existed in early America Saturday and next Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Yorktown Victory Center in Yorktown, Va.

Various groups will perform at the festival, including a Virginia Indian dance group, a bluegrass band, cloggers, Scottish dancers and two storytellers. Life in the 17th century will be portrayed in the Powhatan Indian Village, while a re-enactment group demonstrates Revolutionary War camp life. Other interpreters depict rural life in the 18th century through demonstrations of food preparation, candle making and cloth dying. Children can enjoy pony and wagon rides and old-fashioned games, and there will be crafts and food for sale.

Admission is $3.75 for adults; $1.75 for ages 6 to 12. The center is at Route 238 in Yorktown. Call (804) 887-1776.

Garden tour in Frederick

"Beyond the Garden Gates" is a walking tour of eight private gardens in Frederick's historic district. The tour is scheduled Saturday and next Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Most of the gardens have pools, ponds, fountains or some type of water attraction, and some will feature musical entertainment. Plants, garden furniture and accessories will be displayed for sale by exhibitors at the Old Armory, and there will be an art exhibit at Schley Park. Refreshments will be available.

Tickets cost $10 and are available on tour days at the Visitors Center, 19 E. Church St. Proceeds will benefit the Hartley House for victims of assault. Call (800) 999-3613.

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