Virginia is for lovers of house-and-garden tours April flowers: The state will stage a weeklong celebration of springtime beauty.

March 17, 1996|By Rosemary Knower | Rosemary Knower,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

If you're feeling that springtime urge to get out and frolic where there are thousands of flowers, good food and good walks, you might consider popping down to Richmond, or over to Middleburg, or out to the James River Plantations for a leisurely saunter through what has been called America's Largest Open House.

During Garden Week, April 19-27, Virginia throws open more than 250 historic and private homes and gardens from the Tidewater to the mountains, for a weeklong celebration of fragrance, blossom and beauty. Many of the homes are not open at any other time.

Alexandria's tour features the home and walled garden of the lieutenant governor of Virginia, along with other 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century houses in the Old Town section just the thing if you're looking for inspiration on what to do with that scrubby patch behind your rowhouse in Federal Hill. The Tidewater Tour will feature ocean vistas, seaside gardens and a luncheon cruise on Linkhorn Bay. The Richmond Tour provides a look at Victorian summer retreats and some innovative 20th-century houses and gardens. You can almost pick your century and go for a day or a weekend.

Ticket prices for the tours range from $8 to $20. A detailed guidebook, listing all the events and tours (including the candlelight and champagne tour of Ash Lawn-Highlands, President Monroe's house) is available for $3 from the Garden Club of Virginia, 12 E. Franklin St., Richmond, Va. 23219. The proceeds from the brochure, as well as all the tours, go to fund the restoration of Virginia's historic gardens.

Remember, man does not live by flowers alone, and Virginia offers Southern cooking in its infinite variety, from down-home barbecue to nouvelle Cajun. And if you're looking for things to do between gardens, you might consider the Mid-Atlantic Doll Expo (April 20-21 in Strawberry Hill) or the Mid-Atlantic Corvette Car Show (April 26-28 in Richmond).

For a list of accommodations, contact the Virginia Division of Tourism at (800) VISITVA.

Cherry blossoms

Celebrate spring with a visit to Washington April 14 sponsored by the Carroll County Arts Council. Also view the Japanese Landscape Kimonos exhibition at the Museum of National History and tour the Life of a Japanese Painting exhibit at the Freer Gallery. The cost is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers. Reservations are due March 28. For more information, call (410) 848-7272 or (410) 876-8550.

Pub Date: 3/17/96

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