Visit historic Maryland homes and properties during annual spring tour

Norman's RetreatNorman's Retreat is a stop on the southern Anne Arundel County tour of the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage.Tour several Maryland historic homes, wineries and other properties during the annual spring Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage, when visitors can visit properties that are often closed to the public and learn about special historical sites. This year's upcoming tour locations and dates are: Anne Arundel County on Saturday, May 16; Baltimore City: Roland Park tour on Sunday, May 17; and Washington County tour on Saturday, May 30, 2015.

Tours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Visitors can stay as long as they wish at each stop during this time and visit the properties on tour in any order. Advance tickets are $30 per person for each tour date, $35 if purchased the day of the tour.

The annual spring tours strive to cultivate awareness of Maryland's rich architectural and cultural heritage. Each year, proceeds from the tour support designated preservation projects in each host community.

During the Anne Arundel County tour, visitors stop at 11 sites in South County, including eight private homes rarely open to the public, a shipyard and a farm property that is now a winery.

One of the private homes on the Anne Arundel County tour is Holly Hill, a rare surviving example of Medieval Transitional architecture. The oldest portion of the house was built in 1698 and there are many unique design details, including the original barrel-vaulted cellar.

Dodon Winery, owned and operated by nine consecutive generations of Steuarts (now Pittmans), is an example of the changing agricultural identity of Maryland. The farm has gone from growing tobacco to raising livestock, growing crops and producing wine. Today, the property is known for its locally sourced winery and equestrian training center. Wine samples will be available for a nominal fee and this stop includes a free 30-minute wagon ride to see the horse facility, family graveyard and main house.

The Stephen Steward Shipyard at Norman's Retreat on West River is the most archaeologically intact 18th-century shipyard in the mid-Atlantic. The Federal style main house is especially significant because many of its original interior ornamental features remain, including the original kitchen chimney and ceiling beams.

The Baltimore tour May 17 focuses on Roland Park, with stops available at a 110-year-old Georgian Colonial home with a formal Williamsburg garden, an 85-year-old home with seven bedrooms and 11 bathrooms, the historic Woman's Club of Roland Park and other homes.

Enjoy a restful stop at St. Johns Road garden with a fairy garden, pond with a waterfall and a perennial garden. At Goodwood Gardens, take in the large lawn surrounded by gardens that bloom year-round and 70 potted flowers around a pool and terraces.

To purchase tickets and for more information, visit the Maryland House and Garden Pilgrimage website or call 410-821-6933.

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