Friday, October 30, 2009

Sotterley during Fall

"Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all."
- Stanley Horowitz
A mosaic, indeed! Sotterley is a magnificent place year-round, but this Fall has been something extra special - successful events, multitudes of new and old faces, and awe-inspiring colors.
Riverside WineFest at Sotterley was held October 3 & 4th on the prettiest of weekends, drawing a record number of people and making it our most successful year yet! This is a yearly event, always held the first weekend in October, rain or shine. The Sotterley Board of Trustees, the Sotterley Staff, Sponsors, Advertisers, Volunteers, Wineries, Exhibitors, Artisans, Musical Performers, Antique Dealers, Food Vendors, and all of the guests deserve a special THANKS for their support.
Two weeks later, chill-you-to-the-bone rains fell, but the show went on! The Ghosts of Sotterley Tours ran October 15, 16 & 17th, a dramatic production set during the war of 1812. Thanks to the dedication of the "Friends of Sotterley" acting troupe (braving hour after hour out in the elements - and for some, the mud) who all gave a most stellar performance. "This was definitely our best year yet! The script came alive and the special effects were incredible. As guests were leaving, they all spoke of the tour in the most positive way," said Carolyn Hoey, Education Director. Under the direction of Dawna Diaz and the technical wizardry of Ming Diaz, this year's script, written by James LePore and Morriah Cell had twists of intrigue and shock factor as never before. A huge thanks to everyone associated with the performance, the Volunteers, and all of the guests who bundled up for this not-to-be-missed walking tour.
And to top it off, the gardens have been incredible this year - like bathing in colors galore, thanks to the tireless devotion of the Sotterley Garden Guild.
The turkeys? Well, they showed up at the office door and were rewarded with pretzels.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Civil War Comes to St. Mary's County!

The last FREE lecture in the 2009 Speaker Series will take place on Friday, November 6th in the historic Barn at Sotterley Plantation at 7:00 p.m., featuring Dr. Bradley Gottfried, President of The College of Southern Maryland. Author of seven books (with the eighth due to be published in May) and two unit histories on the Civil War, Dr. Gottfried is also an accomplished cartographer. Call 301-373-2280 to reserve your seat!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Full-Circle Event

Sotterley Plantation hosted the One Maryland One Book event in conjunction with the St. Mary's County Libraries on Sunday reaching maximum capacity in the historic Barn. Members of the Accokeek Foundation's award-winning Museum Theater, Jarren Fonville and Anika Prather presented, "Grandpa Joe and the Drinking Gourd." Janice Walthour, President of the Unified Committee for Afro American Contributions (UCAC) read excerpts from James McBride's novel, "Song Yet Sung", the 2009 selection for the One Maryland One Book state-wide read.

Nancy Easterling, Executive Director of Sotterley stated, "We had a terrific turn-out, and it was heartening to see the level of interest in the community for this special event and for the story told in James McBride’s book Song Yet Sung. It was an honor to be the host site for this terrific One Maryland One Book project event. This program spoke to our mission of education and to the interpretive history which we tell to our visitors here at Sotterley Plantation."

Carolyn Hoey, Sotterley Education Director escorted guests down Rolling Road to our newly restored original 1830's Slave Cabin, where she shared the experiences of Sotterley Plantation slaves. As part of the tour, she showed guests an 1826 inventory list of slaves who lived here.

"This was a full-circle event. Here we are on a historic location, on the very site where slaves lived," said Linda Tucker, Event Manager. "The diverse group of guests thoroughly enjoyed the outstanding performance by the actors from The Accokeek Foundation, as well as the wonderful reading, with the Slave Cabin tour connecting it back to the history here at our very location."

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Follow the Drinking Gourd

Original 1830's Slave Cabin
A Note from the Membership Coordinator~
Dear Friends of Sotterley,

The St. Mary's County Library and Historic Sotterley, Inc. have partnered to bring the performance, "Grandpa Joe and the Drinking Gourd" to St. Mary's County. Members of Accokeek Foundation's award-winning Museum Theater will present the play on Sunday, October 25, at 3 p.m. in the Barn at Sotterley. The play is a special adaptation by Anika Prather of "Follow the Drinking Gourd".

Grandpa Joe and the Drinking Gourd to be performed at Historic Sotterley
This event is part of the One Maryland One Book state-wide read sponsored by the public libraries and Maryland's Humanities Council. This year's book, "Song Yet Sung" by James McBride is a gripping tale of escaped slaves and slave catchers. These slaves on the run used codes to communicate with one another. The play is about one of those codes, music, and its role in the Underground Railroad.

Excerpts from "Song Yet Sung" will be read by Janice Walthour. The United States Colored Troops Memorial Monument Committee will present a quick presentation to commemorate the event. Tours of the newly restored slave cabin will follow the program.

The program is free and open to the public.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Civil War Comes to St. Mary's County

The last FREE to the public lecture in the 2009 Speaker Series, "The Civil War Comes to St. Mary's County" will take place on Friday, November 6th in the historic Barn at Sotterley Plantation at 7:00 p.m., featuring Dr. Bradley Gottfried, President of The College of Southern Maryland. Author of seven books (with the eighth due to be published in May) and two unit histories on the Civil War, Dr. Gottfried is also an accomplished cartographer.

From the landing of Federal troops at Leonardtown in 1861 through the release of the Confederate prisoners at Point Lookout Prisoner of War Camp in 1865, St. Mary's County played an important role in the Civil War. Using illustrations and maps, Dr. Gottfried will describe the fascinating events that occurred during this turbulent period in our history.

Having worked in higher education for over 30 years, Dr. Gottfried has been a full-time faculty member, department chair/head at two colleges, Campus Dean for one of the campuses in the University of Wisconsin system, Chief Academic Officer, and President - at Sussex County Community College for six years, and currently at The College of Southern Maryland since 2006. His areas of expertise are quality improvement initiatives, forging community partnerships, and curricular development.

An important community outreach, the 2009 Speaker Series is yet another way Sotterley Plantation fulfills its mission. We are proud to partner with The Boeing Company to make this series a continued reality.

FREE to the public. Call for reservations: 301-373-2280.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The ULTIMATE in Spookiness!

The Ghosts of Sotterley Tours 2009 was a thrilling and chilling success! Last night the three nights of tours came to a close. The production was put on by the acting troupe "Friends of Sotterley" - who braved the rain and winds to do what they do best! Guests were treated to a historic dramatization taking place during The War of 1812 Era.

Making their way down the slate path to Rolling Road, visitors were greeted by the sinister tour guide cautioning them to keep their children close since "This year ... the ghosts can see you, too!" From the woods emerged a woman with the most blood-curdling screams, as she recounted the tragic loss of her husband and her baby. Gilbert the Slave, singing outside of the Slave Cabin, was startled and came out swinging his ax in fear for his life. The ghostly Admiral Cockburn and his band of terrifying minions didn't hesitate to take a guest into their clutches to a destination unknown. Gun shots rang out up the hill! More chaos erupted as brother and sister, George Plater V and Anne Plater, had a heated family argument on the front portico of The Mansion. A creepy child ghost glared at visitors as they turned into the gardens. Confusion about who was dead and who was alive ensued at the Sundial, as young love was cut short by the ravages of war. Making their way to a fire in the distance, the most gruesome of ghostly figures appeared, warning of "the uglies up ahead." The guilt-ridden British naval officer pleaded for forgiveness and for the crowd to take him from his miserable camp, to no avail. Rustling in the bushes. Eerie children begging for hand-outs. A learning moment from a living human being. The tour ended with the vanishing of the tour guide before the very eyes of the guests!