Get Nosey With a Posey: Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea

Get Nosey With a Posey
Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea
by Jennifer LB Leese

It may sound secretive, but Shepherdstown Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea is anything but that. Going on their seventh year, the Garden Tour & Tea was originated as a fundraising effort for the Visitors Center and the Shepherdstown Library by a group of local women. 2005 is the first year that the event will take place within two days instead of inone single day.
The popular tour & tea will take place this year on Saturday, June 4 and Sunday, June 5 in Shepherdstown, the oldest town in West Virginia. During Saturday's tea, being held at the historic War Memorial Building, partakers can expect savory items such as chicken salad and sweet-tooth items such as strawberries and homemade cookies, while sipping both hot and iced teas served in China cups and teapots from the Shelley A. Marshall Foundation. Sunday's tea, being held at the Entler Hotel, will feature dessert tea, served with sweets and cookies. Visitors to the Entler Hotel will enjoy strolling around the former ladies' and gentlemen's parlors on the first floor, admiring the artwork, including displays of local American Indian tools and artifacts within the five upper rooms, as well as admiring a beautiful refurbished Victorian sitting room.
The War Memorial Building is owned by the Men's Club and is one of the beneficiaries of the tour & tea fundraiser. The Entler houses, town museum, and garden are one of the stops on the tour. Both of the historic buildings are located in downtown Shepherdstown.
The teas, for both days, will be floral varieties-"keeping with the garden theme," says Jeanne Muir, Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea Event Coordinator for the past two years. Ms. Muir runs the organizing committee, as well as heading a single committee, while taking time to coordinate the gardens for the June event. "We start in the fall with getting the organizing committee together and assigning roles. The heavy work begins in January.
"The volunteers are great and eager, and the organizations that receive the funds are very worthwhile," says Ms. Muir.
On Saturday, visitors can find out how to make and display beautiful floral arrangements; landscaping their own garden, and how to care for native plants. Visitors will also enjoy listening to speakers talk about Danske Dandridge, a local historian and gardener who "took rooms in Shepherdstown in Mrs. Line's house on the corner opposite Entler's Hotel" in November of 1858. Participants can browse numerous vendors selling garden-related items, including plants, containers, and artwork.
The self-led walking tour includes exploring the Shepherd Burial Grounds, where Thomas Shepherd's grave is marked (not open to the public); public and private gardens, the Entler Hotel, and many other historic sites.
Jeanne Muir hopes that visitors and those participating in the event will enjoy "seeing a variety of gardens, in different states of maturity; relaxing at a delicious tea, and shopping at our local shops and vendors."
So, don't be afraid to stick your nose in a rose, or act silly around a lily. Bring a few chums to see the mums and get nosey with a posey. Whatever you choose to do, you're sure to have tons of fun at this year's Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
This event is a major fundraiser for key community institutions: all proceeds go to the Shepherdstown Public Library, the Shepherdstown Men's Club, and the Shepherdstown Visitors' Center.
Shepherdstown residents and shop-owners, who believe that "Shepherdstown is a place where life slows down long enough for you to enjoy it" dare you to step off the town's public thoroughfares and explore the back alleys and tree-lined streets on the walking tour during their spectacular public and private gardens. "We invite you to push open the gates and experience the fresh blooms and textures in a diversity of garden styles."
Shepherdstown, West Virginia's community is very unique in representation. They believe they make up the artist, the musicians, the professors, the students, and the businessmen and women in Shepherdstown. Their history represents some of West Virginia's most interesting and finest culture. Shepherdstown provides live entertainment such as music, drama, and other elements of the arts as well as family parks, pubs, and lounges.
"There's always something going on in Shepherdstown, West Virginia."
A $15 advance ticket (cash or check) includes the tour map, wristbands, and entrance to the gardens, admission to tea on either Saturday or Sunday Tea (not both), and one free raffle entry. Discounted tickets must be purchased by June 1. There are numerous methods of purchasing advance sale tickets-interested parties can place orders by phone by calling 304-876-9249 or by visiting the event website at www.BackAlleyGarden.org; or by purchasing them in person at the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop, Elegance, or at the Village Finery. If you can't visit any of the stores in person, call, or visit them online to get your tickets, don't worry; you can purchase tickets on the day of the event for $18 at the War Memorial Building.
Tour maps and wristbands will be distributed at the War Memorial Building beginning at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 4 and at 11:00 on Sunday, June 5.
Proceeds from the Back Alley Garden Tour & Tea help fund some of the community's organizations.
For more information visit, call 304-876-2786, or write info@BackAlleyGarden.org, or click on the Shepherdstown Visitors Center www.ShepherdstownVisitorsCenter.com.