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Nansemond River Garden Club sponsoring downtown observance

The Nansemond River Garden Club is sponsoring Historic Garden Week in Downtown Suffolk on Friday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Last year about 500 people visited homes throughout Suffolk, and they hope to have as many this year, said Sallie Sebrell, Garden Day co-chairman.

Each year the tour is held in different areas of town and this is the first year downtown Suffolk will be featured, said Theresa Earles, tourism coordinator for the city.

Sebrell said, “We are so excited about it being downtown because we really want to showcase what’s happening here.”

The tour includes five homes, plus Riddick’s Folly House Museum, which was built in 1837 and once occupied by Union troops.

Sara Ann Johnson, chairman of Garden Day, said all of the homes will have “period appropriate” floral arrangements created by the Nansemond River Garden Club members.

“They’re so creative,” she said.

Following is a list and description of the homes featured.

The Brown Home, 231 Pinner St., circa 1890, was a Victorian redesigned as Italianate. It features gardens to the side and back of the house, which include an Italian fountain, formal garden and a hidden Secret Garden.

The Faircloth Home, 227 Pinner St., circa 1920, is furnished with 18th and 19th century antiques, both American-made and some from England, China and Japan.

The Garcia Home, 310 N. Main St., built in 1917, is a craftsman-style bungalow that has been restored both inside and out, including original floors, mantels and wainscot.

The Woodward Jr. Home, 227 N. Main St., circa 1785, is one of the few remaining structures of that era in Suffolk. It features interior woodworking including a reeded mantel, reed wood jams, 1860s rosewood piano and more.

The Woodward III Home, No. 7 College Court, built in 1925, is a bungalow erected on the site of the Suffolk Female Institute. Recently restored, visitors will see the owner’s interested in Suffolk history from the Civil War to the peanut farming hey-day.

Other historical points of interest are the Main Street Train Station, Prentis House Visitor’s Center, Dawson House Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society Headquarters and Cedar Hill Cemetery.

A few special events will be offered during the day at Riddick’s Folly House Museum and the Nathaniel Riddick Law Office adjacent to the museum. The Virginia Chamber will exhibit and give advice on antique linens, local historian Kermit Hobbs will lecture (at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.) on the Civil War and the Riddick Family, Billie Ernest will lecture on Suffolk native and Civil War widow Sallie Corbell Picket, and a one-day-only exhibit of Civil War artifacts from the Siege of Suffolk will be on display.

Tickets are available by calling Betsy Brothers at 539-6312 or through the Suffolk Visitor Center by calling 923-3880 or toll free at 866-SEE-SUFK. Cost is $18 for a block ticket with advanced purchase and $20 after April 25. Tickets for tour groups of 20 adults or more booked through the Visitor Center are further discounted to $15. Single-home tours are $8 per person. Tickets for children ages 6-12 are $10, while children 5 and under are free.

Free parking, trolley and shuttle buses will be located at the First Baptist Church lot on the corner of Main Street and Finney Avenue. Sebrell and Johnson will distribute maps with directions to public restrooms and sponsoring restaurants for lunch stops. Those featured are: A.J. Gators Sports Bar and Grill, Ed’s Place, Baron’s Pub Restaurant, Caf\u00E9 Moose, Holland’s Gourmet Country Foods and Catering, Java 149, Kelly’s Tavern, Pisces Seafood Restaurant, The Peanut Gallery and Main Street Jazz Restaurant.