WHEN THE Lynch family began searching for their new home, they thought they might be seeking something that didn't exist. Their Clarksville home, situated on 5 acres, was no longer practical after their children were born.
"We were looking for an old home with a neighborhood around it," said Darcy Lynch. "That would be the best of both worlds -- playmates for our children and a great house".
Darcy and Tom Lynch found just what they were looking for when they came upon Bloomfield Manor, on the outskirts of Sykesville. The 18th century house had been beautifully and painstakingly restored to its original condition by local historic contractor Jonathan Herman.
The Lynches had built their former home and so were familiar with architecture and construction. They share an interest in homes in general but are especially keen on older homes. The couple and their children, Michael, Nicole and Kacie, often tour historic homes, plantations and house museums.
Bloomfield Manor, which was built in three time periods, consists of a pre-Revolutionary log cabin, a traditional Georgian center hall and a Civil War-era ballroom.
"I almost feel like a caretaker living in such a house," said Mrs. Lynch, "thinking that it's been here for 250 years and will probably still be here 250 years from now.".
Mrs. Lynch said the house came to be known as Bloomfield Manor before the Civil War, when the owners surrounded the home with a multitude of cherry trees and other blooming bushes and flowers.
The house recently received national attention when it captured second place in the seventh annual Great American Home Awards presented by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The house was honored for its superb exterior rehabilitation and is featured in the most recent edition of Historic Preservation magazine.
In preparation for completing the contest application, Mrs. Lynch questioned Mr. Herman extensively about the house.
"I have a notebook four inches thick detailing everything that was done to this house, from the trim to the paint colors," she said.
It was the first time the house had been entered in any kind of contest. The Lynches and Mr. Herman were thrilled with the recognition the house received.
"We all were very excited about the award," said Mrs. Lynch. "We know this house is something very special."
Those special valentines
Love, admire and respect were the buzzwords on Valentine's Day at Freedom Elementary School. The school's office sponsored a writing activity in which students wrote letters to nominate staff members to be named a "Special Valentine."
The Special Valentines received floral arrangements courtesy of Hutchinson's Florists, the Carroll County Career and Technology Center and the school administration.
The winning letters were read over the public address system. The students then delivered the flowers to the staff they had nominated.
Honored were: Karen Weber by Kristen Ford; Lorraine Thompson by Daniel Kempler; Jamie Newman by Jeffrey Richards; Mary Campbell by Nick Smith; Jennifer Kirner by Thomas Maskell; Wendy Weaver by Stacey Krebs; Margaret Hoff by Sarah Hellman; Sue Pahl by Jon Miller; Jeff Hiner by Mitra Khaksari; Susan Fordi by Kelly Davis; Rosa Featherstone by Eric Zepp and Adam Kempler; Ruth Schneehagen by Brian Hellman; and Jennifer Alexander by Molly Harrington.
Relay for Life
The American Cancer Society is making plans to introduce the Relay for Life, a distinctive fund-raising event, to Carroll County.
In addition to raising funds for cancer research, the event is aimed at heightening community awareness of the disease and of the American Cancer Society's battle against it.
The Relay for Life is a challenging event in which 10- to 12-member teams walk, jog or run around a track for 30-minute intervals over a 24-hour period.
While not taking a turn on the track, team members enjoy a party atmosphere with entertainment, food, games and contests. Participating teams camp on the event grounds and usually hold campsite decorating and cooking contests.
Incentives are offered for gaining sponsors. Students are eligible for student service credit for participating in the event.
The Relay for Life was begun several years ago in Tacoma, Wash. by Dr. Gordon Klatt, who spent the entire 24 hours walking around a track alone. The relay has since become an annual event across the country. Several Maryland counties will hold relays this year.
The first Relay For Life in our county is scheduled for May 31-June 1 at Westminster High School. Organizers are gathering community support through informal meetings as they seek volunteers, sponsors and relay participants. The next organizational meeting will be held Feb. 27 at the Carroll County Health Department in Westminster at 6 p.m.
For information, call Beth Suter, American Cancer Society community director, at 823-2515 or 795-8199.