More than gardens

Fluvanna County has made headlines recently as one of the fastest growing counties in the Commonwealth. Thanks mostly, right now, to the ever-increasing popularity of Lake Monticello, Fluvanna offers many advantages. With its relative easy accessibility to several metropolitan areas and its bucolic environs, the county has quickly established itself as a very nice place to live.
But all is not new in Fluvanna, and this weekend, the Historical Society and Garden Club offer tours of six historic homes, two of which are on the National Historic Register: The Oaks and The DeBusk House.
Built between 1810 and 1830, and nestled in a large grove of ancient trees sheltering an outdoor brick kitchen, later used as a schoolroom, The Oaks also has a smokehouse and an ice house. When the DeBusk House, also from the early 1800s, was moved to its current location, the owner salvaged doors, windows, and woodwork from old Fluvanna homes that were being demolished to rebuild this small gem.
Rosedale was also reconstructed at its current site using material from dismantled Fluvanna homes. Gum Creek is an outstanding example of a late 18th century Piedmont house. Built about 1797, the building has had few structural changes over the years. Because it so faithfully recreates the look and mood of the early 1800s, a visit is like stepping back in time. Of special interest is the owner's contemporary art studio and paintings of the county.
Caleb Stone House and Rivanna Farm both offer views of the James River. One of Rivanna Farm's more distinctive contributions to the tour is the large collection of outbuildings, including an overseer's house, outdoor kitchen, stable, corn house, and smokehouse, all dating from the mid-1800s.
In addition, the churches of Columbia will be open and, for restoration buffs, the Town Hall, currently being restored to its original grandeur. Other festivities include an art exhibit by Fluvanna artists, a plant and boutique sale sponsored by the Garden Club, an open working art studio, an antique toy collection, and strolling musicians. All proceeds benefit community projects as well as the Historical Society's maintenance of the mill and lock site on the Rivanna, and the Old Stone Jail.

The tour continues all day on Saturday, May 11, from 10am to 5pm. Tour tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. Box lunches, $7, are catered by Beth Thomas of E.W. Grocery in Palmyra. Picnics are permitted since there are no restaurants in the area. For more information or to order tickets, call Nel Stofberg at 434-589-4799.

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