Chesapeake merchant earns tour award

Published 9:36 pm Saturday, December 8, 2012

At the close of a successful weekend for the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society’s 36th Annual Candlelight Tour, 18th Century Merchant of Chesapeake was honored with the People’s Choice Award for best tablescape.

This tablescape by 18th Century Merchants of Chesapeake, which featured fresh fruit, greenery, glass dinnerware and pheasants, won the People’s Choice Award for Best Tablescape after the Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society Candlelight Tour.

This year’s tour featured four of the most beloved historic homes in downtown Suffolk, and tour organizers invited regional merchants to create festive tablescapes to display in the homes. Ticketholders were able to cast a vote for their favorite tablescape.

The winning display by 18th Century Merchant, featured in the dining room of the Eley-Duggan House, was replete with gold, fresh and dried fruits and pheasants. The fresh fruit and greenery centerpiece was created by Churchland’s Village Flower Shop in Portsmouth. The glass dinnerware and stemware with hand painted 24-karat gold borders are made in Italy, and the pheasant table linens and gold quilted linens are all made in the USA and are available at 18th Century Merchant.

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Several other regional merchants created tablescapes, including Cordially Invited, Jester’s, Stage One and Nansemond Antiques, all of Suffolk; Mansion House Art and Antiques of Smithfield; Ragged Robin Gifts of Virginia Beach; Vaughan’s Jewelry and Fine Gifts of Edenton; and Way Back Yonder antiques of Portsmouth.

The Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society is thankful for all of the hard work and creativity that went into each tablescape, according to a press release. The unique arrangements and beautiful dinnerware added an extra element of fun to this year’s tour and gave ticketholders wonderful ideas to take home for their own holiday tables.

The Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society was founded in 1966 by a small group of people in Suffolk and Nansemond County who were interested in learning about the history of their area and in preserving the old buildings and artifacts still remaining from the past.

This small group has grown into an organization with more than 500 members, and the society has become an advocate for the community at large by bringing attention to people and places that are in danger of being forgotten or lost.

Every year since 1977, Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society has kicked off the Christmas season with its annual Candlelight Tours of some of Suffolk’s most beautiful and historic homes. Tours have been held in various neighborhoods of “old” Suffolk, as well as in Suffolk’s outlying communities of Chuckatuck, Crittenden, Driver, Eclipse, Everets, Holland, Somerton and Whaleyville. The annual Candlelight Tour raises funds for Historical Society projects and teaches history while fostering a sense of community for citizens.

The society is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Funding is derived from membership dues, donations, grants, publication sales, and a variety of fundraising events. The Suffolk Nansemond Historical Society property company, Preservation of Historic Suffolk Inc., has bought and sold several houses and currently owns the Seaboard Railroad Station.