Women’s Civic League of North East Annual Secret Garden Tour


The Women’s Civic League of North East announces its Annual Secret Garden Tour on Saturday, June 8. The event takes place, rain or shine, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and features eight gardens in and around the town of North East, Maryland.

A self-driving tour showcases the gardens which include a charming town garden and waterfront properties with views of the North East River. Highlights include meticulous landscaping, water gardens, whimsical statuary, mature wooded areas, and late-spring floral containers. A new, highly anticipated feature will be a “ surprise culinary delight” at one of the gardens.

This annual garden event, sponsored exclusively by Nowland Construction Services, is the major Spring event for the Civic League. The League, established in 1951, is celebrating over 68 years promoting literacy in North East, particularly by supporting the North East Public Library.

Tickets are $15.00 in advance and may be purchased at North East Town Hall, Kathy’s Corner Shop, and Silver and Sassy on Main Street. Tickets are available for $20.00 on the day of the tour only at St. Mary Anne’s Parish House, 315 South Main Street, North East. Tickets include a map and driving directions.

For further information visit the website wclnortheast.org/upcoming-events/ or the Women’s Civic League of North East Facebook page.

Forest Music Returns June 6 to Adkins Arboretum


Adkins Arboretum joins the National Music Festival in presenting a unique improvisatory performance in the Arboretum forest on Thurs., June 6 when the NewBassoon Institute performs Forest Music.

Positioning themselves throughout the forest, within hearing distance though not necessarily within sight of one another, these innovative musicians will engage in a musical conversation that winds throughout the trees. Following the forest performance, there will be a brief concert at the Visitor’s Center. The program begins at 4 p.m.

Forest Music is free, though donations are welcome. Light refreshments and a cash wine and beer bar will be available. Advance registration is appreciated at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

The NewBassoon Institute is an annual workshop taught by “bassoon supergroup” Dark in the Song. The workshop focuses on contemporary bassoon literature, performance techniques and pedagogy, with the aim of teaching a new generation of open-minded players and bringing the bassoon and bassoon ensembles to the forefront of 21st-century music-making.

The National Music Festival brings together inspiring mentors and the next generation of gifted musicians, providing education, scholarships and affordable, adventurous public performances in and around Chestertown, Md., for two weeks each June. This year’s Festival is June 2–15. Visit nationalmusic.us for more information.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Spy House of the Week: Colonial Elegance


The tranquil setting of this two and a half storied stately Colonial caught my eye. The house’s slate roof, cream colored stucco and red brick foundation set against the green of the lawn and plantings was very appealing. After opening the gate in the black iron fence along historic Water Street, you walk up a brick sidewalk to the entry door at the side elevation. The door and sidelights are beautifully detailed with an elliptical transom and half-glass sidelights of leaded glass. I loved the entrance hall with its checkerboard flooring pattern of white and black marble, the vertical patterned wallpaper with a paneled wainscot and the graceful stairs with a wide landing to allow the lower run to curve around to the upper run of steps. The entrance hall spans the full depth of the house so the vista from the front door is to the landscaped rear yard.

To the left of the entrance hall is the living room and sunroom.  The Chippendale style fireplace mantel is the focal point of the living room with Wedgewood blue walls with white moldings and chair rail. To the right of the entrance hall is the dining room that also has Wedgewood blue walls but the panel in the wainscot is outlined in white.  A contemporary glass table allows the beauty of the Oriental rug to be fully appreciated and French doors lead to a screened porch.

The kitchen and bar pantry at the rear of the house continue the black and white theme.  The bar flooring has small white tiles with black chamfered corners that is perfectly scaled to this cozy space. The white cabinets with period hardware and  glass fronted upper cabinets open up the space. The kitchen is a cook’s dream-it also has white cabinets with black countertops and larger tile flooring, stainless steel appliances and a gray tiled backsplash.  French doors lead to the rear covered brick terrace. Steps from both the covered terrace and the screened porch lead to the spacious rear yard that is ready for a game of croquet!

The stair landing at the second floor is a charming reading nook. The center window’s valance picks up the colors of the mural on one wall opposite an antique armoire.  Full height bookcases flank the window and an oversize rattan chair and ottoman would be a cozy space for reading. Another charming room on the second floor is a bedroom that is currently decorated as a sitting room. This corner room has windows overlooking the rear landscaping and the side yard for added daylight. The third floor has additional bedrooms and a bath.  

Classic American Colonial with a blend of the old and new, gracious entrance hall, great flow on the main floor for entertaining, wonderful and private outdoor spaces, a large rear yard  surrounded by a wooden fence-if you are seeking a historic house on one of Chestertown’s best streets, this one’s for you!

For more information about this property, contact  Peter Heller with Coldwell Banker Chesapeake Real Estate Company at 410-778-0330 (o), 410-708-3301 (c) or pheller@cbchesapeake.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.


House of the Week: Town Home with a Twist


Queen Street is another of my favorite streets in Chestertown’s Historic District because of its historic character of distinctive architecture, mature trees, brick sidewalks and the close proximity to the attractions of High Street and the waterfront. This charming Victorian semi-attached townhome has appealing outdoor spaces from the front porch that spans the full width of the house and the private fenced rear yard.  An added plus is off-street parking for two cars.

In many town home designs, the front door is at one side of a house opposite the stairway so it was a very pleasant surprise that this house’s front door opens directly into the living room. The stairs for this house are between the living -dining area and the kitchen at the rear of the house which maximizes the size of the living and dining rooms.

Two long windows at the front and another window at the side wall bring daylight into the living room. The focal point of the room is the fireplace with millwork on each side surrounded by comfortable upholstered pieces that are anchored by a beautiful rug of colorful floral squares and accent pieces of warm wood.

Columns below a beam define the full-width wall opening leading to the dining area with its side wall windows, wood table and chairs and a painted armoire for storage. A small accent table and two extra chairs for dining are placed against the living room sofa to maximize the space.  All the windows in the living and dining rooms have sheers to filter the sunlight and to provide privacy.

I loved the kitchen with its checkerboard patterned kitchen floor, the white cabinets with glass-fronted upper cabinets and the rear wall of windows with views of the yard. The range hood shaft is accented by a shelf with collectibles and the table for two in the middle of the room is a cozy spot for breakfast. A cut-out in the side wall next to the refrigerator opposite the range brings daylight into this corner of the room from the kitchen’s rear windows. Another cut-out in the front of the kitchen wall offers a vista to the front door and could also be a pass-through to the dining room.

The charming master bedroom on the second floor has a painted rattan headboard trimmed in the same fabric as the bedspread and window valances, two painted nightstands and lamps to create a serene retreat. Another bedroom and a third bedroom complete the second floor plan.  The third floor with the computer below the dormer window and built-in shelving is a quiet home office space.

Victorian charm with original details including the beautifully maintained pine flooring, spacious living -dining area, updated kitchen, great outdoor rooms in a prime location- a perfect in-town spot!


For more information about this property, contact Sarah Dean with Cross Street Realtors at 410-778-3779 (o),410-708-2528  (c) or sarah@csrealtors.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

Kent County 4-H Calendar and Club Info


Volunteers needed in 4-H: Looking for volunteers as Kent County Fair 4-H Division chairpersons, judges and much more! Call the Extension Office if interested, 410-778-1661. The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

11 – Eastern Shore Spring Show, QA Co. 4-H Park, Centreville
13 – Jr. Leadership Council (JLC), 7:00 pm, Ext. Office
Deadline: To Purchase MD Dairy Judging Team Pit Beef Lunch Tickets. See Dylan Hill or Kent Extension Office
14 – New Family 4-H Orientation, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Ext. Office. Register by 4/10
15 – 4-H UME Volunteer Training F2F, 6:30 – 9:00 pm, Ext. Office. Register by 5/13.
16 – Ag Center Board of Directors Meeting, 7:00 pm, Ext. Office
18 – MD 4-H Dairy Judging Team Pit Beef Lunch, Pickup 11:30 – 1:30 pm, Hill Haven Farm, Kennedyville
19 – Kent Clover Kids Program, 1:00 – 3:00 pm, Ext. Office. Topic: “All About Small Pets”
MD State 4-H Council, 2:00 – 5:00 pm, MD 4-H Center, College Park
21 – UME 4-H Volunteer Online Training, 6:30-8:30 pm, Webinar. Must register in Kent Office.
23 – New! Hands-On 4-H Quality Assurance Workshop, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, Ext. Office
27 – Memorial Day Holiday ~ Extension Office Closed
28 – 4-H Leaders Council, 7:00 pm, Ext. Office

4-H Club Meeting Dates

4-H Nature After School Club 3rd – 5th Grade – Meets 1st& 3rd Mondays, 4:00-5:00pm, 3:40pm pick up Garnet walkers. Kent County Public Library Yellow Building. Jenny Lee, 302-753-8191. Extension staff, 410-778-1661
Bits and Bridles Horse Club – Educational Activity held 1st Wednesdays, Jan, March, May, July, Sept, Nov.
Business meeting held 1st Wednesdays, Feb, Apr, June, Aug, Oct, Dec. 7:00pm Running W. Farm, Worton. Jaime Orndorff, 302-531-8179, Mary Coates, 443-480-2722
Kent 4-H Triple Shots Shooting Sports 1. – Shotgun: 2nd Sunday, 12:00pm, Kent C., Gun Club, 4th Sunday, 12:00pm, Sudlersville Skeet Club. 2. Archery: 1st and 3rd Sundays, 2pm, Cypress Creek Archery, Millington. Summer: Kent Ag Center, 4pm. 3. Rifle: Kent Ag Center Rifle Range, Tolchester. Contact Leaders. Anna Armstrong,302-535-3640. Andy Simmons, 410-708-6073.
Junior Dairy Associates – Meets 3rd Friday monthly, 7:00pm. Kennedyville United Methodist Church. Leaders, Beth Hill, 410-778-1661, Kathy Myers, 410-708-8317
Kent Clover Calf – Meets 2nd Wednesday, 7:00pm, Kennedyville United Methodist Church, Leader, Jennifer Debnam, 410-708-4923
Kent Fuzzy Tails & Shiny Scales – Meets 4th Monday monthly, 6:30pm Greenscapes Land Care, Kennedyville, Leaders, Carrie and Jay Douthit, 410-480-6964
Kent Puppy Pals 4-H Dog Club – Practice 3rd and 4th Wednesdays, 6:30pm, Winter: Radcliffe Creek School, Summer: Running W Kennel. Monthly business meeting 2nd Tuesday, 6:30pm, Running W Kennel, Leaders, Bert & Jim Lindauer, 410-778-2887

Habitat: Atelier 11, the East End of Easton and Adaptive Re-Use


This year, the architecture and interior design firm Atelier 11 celebrates twenty-five years of design excellence in architecture and interior design.  Notable projects include the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy Building Complex, the Talbot Hospice building, the Community Center at Londonderry and Evergreen Cove as well as numerous new residences, seamless addition and renovations.

The ESLC complex was unique for its sustainability and for its being a historic building that now has a new life to house the ESLC offices and other non-profits.  Glass interior walls encourage collaboration and the stained concrete floors and brick walls are preserved elements of the building’s early days. The building’s welcoming form, colors and sunny interior spaces of Talbot Hospice have drawn back many people whose loved ones spent their last days there. Many people return to visit the chapel or stroll the grounds and feel the presence of their loved ones.

The Londonderry Community Center was an opportunity to provide an environment for residents to socialize or to try a new skill including dance, art, crafts, or attend lectures to exercise the “little grey cells” as Agatha Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot, was fond of saying. Evergreen Cove was an opportunity to literally think “outside the box” of a brick rancher.  Atelier 11’s solution opened up the box to nature and is a peaceful setting for yoga and other healing arts.

What many Talbot County residents may not know is the firm has also made a significant contribution to urban design. When they built their office at 11 S. Aurora Street in 2002, the East End needed revitalization to eliminate vacant lots and to renovate the existing housing stock before structures deteriorated to the point that demolition was necessary.  They constructed their building in the middle of a vacant block and opened for business.

Slowly but surely other building owners or investors followed Atelier 11’s pioneering lead and rescued this neighborhood to give it a solid future. After completing their building, Atelier 11 added development to their list of services. They designed and built two new houses on lots near their building to knit the streetscape back together. Now that the Easton Town Council has voted to approve the creation of an Arts and Entertainment District, the availability of tax credits will ensure the East End will continue to thrive.

Their office building is also an example of how good design matters in creating a building that can adapt to changing economic times and uses. When the housing and real estate crash occurred in 2008, firms in Easton had to make painful choices about staff but luckily Atelier 11 retained core staff. They consolidated their office on the second floor and opened a gallery on the first floor.

After five years of having a second office in Lynchburg, VA, to add University work and downtown development projects to their repertoire, the firm converted their Easton building to a live-work space and relocated staff to a studio at the corner of Washington and Dover Streets. Now on the market, 11 S. Aurora St. could be a gallery/living space, a single family residence, or a commercial building. As Principal Architect Lauren jokingly remarked to me, “it is probably the only residence that has a fully compliant ADA bathroom on the first floor.”

On the day I visited, one of the firm’s associates, Tom Batchelor, gave me a tour of the completed construction.  I had always admired the distinctive front door mat created by embedding rounded edged stones into mortar that provides a distinctive way to remove mud from one’s shoes.  The former reception area now becomes a spacious entrance hall with filtered light from both the front French door and sidelights and from the stair landing beyond. The ADA compliant restroom now is a full bath with the renovation of an adjacent storage room for an ADA shower. The former studio space has been transformed and could be an open plan living-dining-kitchen or a studio area . The rear high windows at the South Street side of the building filter sunlight in while maintaining privacy. The former Principals’ two offices are now a bedroom and a den.

As we climbed the stairs to the second floor, we paused at the landing with its dramatic large window overlooking the surrounding neighborhood. I asked Tom how many buildings we could see that had been renovated since Atelier 11’s pioneering building. He told me the firm had actually compiled a map that showed over seventeen buildings which is an amazing statistic.   

The second floor now contains three bedrooms, one of which is a spacious master suite.  The overlook to the first floor has been maintained and also provides light into the hall from the window at the side wall. The master suite has a French door to a terrace with a stair down to the sidewalk along South Street and would be a great space for sunbathing. Opposite the terrace is the “Tower”, a two-story rental unit with living, dining and kitchen on the first floor and a bedroom and bath on the second floor.

Co-Principals  Jon Braithwaite and Lauren Dianich divide their time between offices according to who is the lead on projects.  The next generation of Atelier 11 will continue under the leadership of senior staff of Christian Chute and Tom Batchelor and support staff in both offices.  Happy Anniversary to a talented team of architects and interior designers who have been responsible for some of Talbot County’s best design work, and for the community service that is part of the firm’s mission.  Bravo!

For more information about this property, contact Kelly Showell with Benson & Mangold Real Estate at 410-822-1415 (o), 410-829-5468 (c) or kshowell1958@gmail.com, “Equal Housing Opportunity”.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.


Explore Local Farms on Adkins Arboretum Tours


Learn about myriad types of farming and conservation-minded farm practices when Adkins Arboretum offers a series of local farm tours beginning this spring. Six farms across the Mid-Shore will welcome participants to learn about their products and land management efforts and to engage in a hands-on project to take home.

The series kicks off on Sun., May 19 with a tour of Cottingham Farm on the banks of Goldsborough Creek in Easton. Join owner Cleo Braver to learn about food farming and the infrastructure required for crops, chickens and pigs before exploring cover crops, greenhouses and processing and storage spaces. Participants will also cut garlic scapes and make garlic scape pesto.

On Sun., June 2, join Carrie Jennings for a guided tour of her field-grown specialty flowers at Honeybee Flower Farm in Cordova. Jennings grows flowers without insecticides; by growing varieties not readily available from overseas, her operation helps to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. Participants should bring a vase or mason jar to create a cut flower arrangement to take home.

At Schoolhouse Farmhouse in Cordova, Lauren Giordano and George Burroughs follow a regenerative approach that includes minimal tilling, no synthetic pesticides or herbicides, and the use of cover crops. On Sun., June 23, learn how they use sustainable practices for vegetables, flowers and chickens. Participants will also take a walk through the meadow and create a hand-printed tea towel inspired by their surroundings.

On Sun., June 30, tour the organic cutting garden of floral designer and longtime Adkins docent Nancy Beatty. Owner of Sweetbay Designs, Beatty has grown her own flowers organically for more than 25 years. Participants will take home a tiny tussie-mussie made from greenery and mostly native plants.

Calico Fields Lavender Farm near Millington is on the tour schedule for Sun., July 7.

On their Calico Fields Lavender Farm near Millington, Christa and Jay Falstad grow their plants organically and tend and harvest them by hand to make high-quality bath and body products. Participants will cut their own lavender bunches and learn about the Falstads’ conservation efforts aimed at promoting native bee species and monarch butterflies.

A native nursery and garden center offering services and products that foster harmony with nature, Unity Church Hill Nursery & Farm has been growing produce, flowers, and vegetable and herb starts sustainably for the past three years. On Sun., Sept. 15, join Theresa Mycek for a tour of the food gardens to learn about the farm’s regenerative gardening methods. After the tour, participants will make a hardneck garlic “braid” to take home.

Each tour is $35 for Arboretum members and $40 for non-members. All tours run from 1 to 3 p.m. Advance registration is required at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Adkins Arboretum is a 400-acre native garden and preserve at the headwaters of the Tuckahoe Creek in Caroline County. Open year round, the Arboretum offers educational programs for all ages about nature and gardening. For more information about programs, visit adkinsarboretum.org or call 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Spy House of the Week: Before and After in Rock Hall


I am indebted to the Spy reader who emailed me about the work done by two intrepid home owners who have been renovating their Rock Hall property since they purchased the property in 2015. The Spy reader thought it would be a great idea for a “Before and After” profile and last Sunday I visited with owners Kimberly and Bill to tour the  garage/guest house and the main house.

After spending many weekends at Rock Hall, they soon fell under the spell of this charming community and began their search for a weekend/summer place. They were attracted to this house’s historic architectural character, especially the stacked sunrooms at the outside corners of both floors, the full front porch and the woods beyond the rear yard.

On the day I visited, the work on the detached garage/guest suite was complete and the upper floor guest suite was now their weekend retreat while the construction on the main house continued.  They showed me several “before” pictures and the deteriorated condition of the main house and garage would have deterred many buyers. Not these two! Bill is a bridge engineer and Kimberly is a kindergarten teacher who has an innate interior design talent. Both of them collaborated on the space planning and the construction.

Their master plan began with demolition in 2015. Overgrown shrubbery, a mature tree that needed to be removed, the main house’s rear wing whose roof was collapsing, inadequate  foundations, etc., were part of a long list that had to be resolved before the fun of transformation could begin. Next, they tackled the garage and extended its footprint to create space on the second floor for a one-bedroom apartment that is a cozy temporary home for them due to Kimberly’s flair for interior design.

The last two years have been spent on the construction of the main house. During demolition, they discovered the exterior wall construction was balloon framing, where the stud walls are uninterrupted up to the roof joists, without door or window headers. Another challenge was the low ceiling height. They wisely decided to leave the original exterior walls as-is and construct new inner walls to support the windows, doors, floor and roof joists.  The added advantages to this approach are a deep exterior wall that can be infilled with insulation for better thermal comfort and higher ceilings in the new spaces.

In the main house, they moved the stair from the side wall to the center to separate the living room from the sunroom. Behind the living room will be the kitchen and dining area, a side entry from the driveway and a bedroom suite. At the rear is a roofed deck that will become a screened porch.  Since this space is outside of the main house footprint, it has a high pitched ceiling and views to the wooded area beyond the yard.

The front of the second floor will be a wonderful master suite. The bedroom is separated from the corner sunroom by the stairs and the sunroom will become a sitting room for the master suite.  Light will filter into the stairwell from the sunroom windows through the interior windows in the wall between the sunroom and the stairs. Behind the master bedroom will be the master bath and closets, laundry, a second bath and two other bedrooms at the rear of the house.

The stud walls are in place and the rough-in plumbing, HVAC and electrical is being done so interior finishing will be the next step for this talented duo.  After they move into their new home, Kimberly and Bill are considering renting their garage apartment with its private deck. The Spy looks forward to reporting on the completed house-stay tuned!


Spy House of the Week is an ongoing series that selects a different home each week. The Spy’s Habitat editor Jennifer Martella makes these selections based exclusively on her experience as a architect.

Jennifer Martella has pursued her dual careers in architecture and real estate since she moved to the Eastern Shore in 2004. Her award winning work has ranged from revitalization projects to a collaboration with the Maya Lin Studio for the Children’s Defense Fund’s corporate retreat in her home state of Tennessee.

“Thru the Garden Gate” All Seasons Garden Club Show May 20


The All Seasons Garden Club (ASGC) will hold its biennial flower show on Monday, May 20, 2019, from noon until 3:00 PM, in Sacred Heart Parish Hall, 510 High Street, Chestertown.  Attendance is free and open to the public.

The theme for the 2019 show is Thru the Garden Gate.  Floral arrangements in four design classes will be presented. Each entry will satisfy rules of a specific design category and reflect one of the following themes: Garden Creation,  Herb Garden, Tree House, and Garden Picnic.

In addition to the four Design Classes, there will be entries in as many as eighteen Horticultural Classes, which include dish gardens; window boxes; terraria; as well as individuals specimens of bulbs, evergreens, Columbine, Hosta, Lily, Peony, Rose, Iris, Baptisia, and Sedum.

The All Seasons Garden Club was organized in 1985 and draws most of its members from Kent and Queen Anne’s counties.

Diana Bonner, Kent Island Garden Club and past President of Maryland Federated Garden Club; Susie Middleton, Dorchester Garden Club; and Charlotte Hardman, Kent Island Garden Club will serve as judges for both the Design Class and Horticultural Class competitions.

Flyers describing the Design Classes for the show as well as other aspects of the judging are available by emailing Frank Creegan at fcreegan2@washcoll.edu.

Convenient and free parking for entrance into Sacred Heart Parish Hall is available in the lot at the corner of Calvert and Kent Streets.

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