Article Archive >> Featured Topics

Eastern Panhandle: Shepherdstown Back Alley Tour set for 28-29 May

Eastern Panhandle: Shepherdstown Back Alley Tour set for 28-29 May

The ink is drying on the route map and garden owners are putting the last touches on their flower beds between frequent cloud bursts as final preparations are made for this year's Shepherdstown Back Alley Tour. Mike Austin, Shepherdstown Men's Club President commented that: "although this will be the 13th annual tour, our luck is still holding. We keep finding new and interesting aspects of this historic community to share with our visitors and property owners willing to open their gates." An important feature will be a rare opportunity to visit the Thomas Shepherd Grist Mill and see its overshot mill wheel (the second largest in the world) in operation... Several American Revolution -era graveyards and a number of other historic sites were also added to capture and hold people's interest. Austin added that: "Particularly intriguing is the little stream (Town Run) that meanders through back yards, under buildings and streets and then begins its precipitous drop to the Potomac. It provided a rich opportunity to add water features to gardens, as well as exploiting the more practical applications of waterpower. This long-standing regard for beauty, as well as functionality, started in the early 1700s and remains a hallmark of Shepherdstown. A back alley ford of the stream off of the centrally located market place stills affords a place to see watercress growing, catch a tadpole or two, or just sit and listen to the town's own version of the Moldau."
The Tour and Tea Committees keep adding features to ensure that everyone has a memorable experience. Austin commented that his wife Bonnie, the tea committee chairwoman pulls out all stops to make the tea party, which is an integral part of the tour, a memorable culinary experience. A series of "tasting parties" are conducted by her committee to ensure that only the best recipes get used and those recipes are sent to an enormous group of volunteers to bake the cookies. Many "white elephants" that otherwise would continue gathering dust in attics find a role in the decor that creates just the right ambiance for an elegant tea party. A special collection of porcelain tea cups from the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation, life- size mannequins lurking in corners along with displays of eclectic birdhouses and nests on the tables and around the room along with nature paintings on the walls complete the "Birds and Bees" theme."
Speaking of bees, you will be able to "get up close and personal" with them in the demonstration apiary, part of the Urban Garden, which is another of the features that lets participants enjoy the bountiful nature of our area. Another important aspect of the tour, "The Friday Painters", an informal group of artists who share the experience of painting each Friday morning in and about the Eastern Panhandle, will hold their third annual art exhibition on the first floor of the War Memorial Building - the hub of activity for the Back Alley Tour and Tea. For more information visit, the Shepherdstown Men's Club home web site.

Printable version

<< back to Articles on Featured Topics
<< back to All Articles