Last week I attended a really lovely little event put on by the local heritage society. Re-blogging from my Blue Ridge Life & Style blog (Shenandoah Living) below:
Tea and Tour of the Belle Boyd Cottage
Chester Street, Front Royal, Virginia
One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2014 is to attend any event sponsored by our local heritage society that does not conflict with a previous engagement on my calendar. I’m off to a good start, having attended my first event of 2014, an afternoon tea and tour of the Belle Boyd Cottage, last week.
For a small town in a small and relatively new Virginia county, Front Royal has a formidable history and a core group of townspeople who are dedicated to preserving and sharing the local lore through participation in the Warren Heritage Society. Located on historic Chester Street, the society has its headquarters, a museum, and a gift shop in the Ivy Lodge, and just behind the lodge in the Belle Boyd Cottage is an archive for researchers. Next door is the Warren Rifles Confederate Museum, and two doors down is the Balthis House (one of the oldest houses in the town), which has been restored and is maintained by the group.
This is one dedicated organization and this year’s line-up of events includes regular speakers, a cook-out, dinners, a summer history camp (see this blog article from last year), an ice cream social, ghost tours, and two lovely tea parties, not to mention the very popular annual Festival of Leaves. The society board, Executive Director Patrick Farris, and the staff have really knocked themselves out to offer the community a calendar packed with fun and educational opportunities to learn about the history of the town.
Last week’s event kicked off with an elegant little tea at the Ivy Lodge, followed by a tour of the Belle Boyd Cottage. The tables were set with white linens, crystal plates and chintz-patterned china, and we enjoyed finger sandwiches, scones, brownies, berries and cookies, all washed down with piping hot cups of tea. Patrick entertained us during lunch with stories of the town’s flamboyant confederate spy, Belle Boyd.
The tea was followed by a tour of the Boyd family’s 2-over-2 antebellum cottage, relocated, restored and filled with period antiques. Patrick guided us through the rooms, explaining the living arrangements and relating anecdotes about the family and the war-time exploits of the woman some called “Cleopatra of the Secession.”
You can learn more about the Warren Heritage Society on their excellent website. A modest membership fee will garner invitations to the events I’ve mentioned above (plus some). Non-members can still enjoy most of the society’s offerings, including the free museum. Stop by the Ivy Lodge on Chester Street and find out more about this fantastic community resource.
Warren Heritage Society
101 Chester Street
Front Royal, VA 22630
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