Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sotterley's Devastation from Hurricane Irene

Sotterley Plantation, a National Historic Landmark, is closed to the public until further notice due to extensive damage caused by Hurricane Irene. Much devastation was caused at this over 300 year old site, due to heavy downpours a few days prior to, and torrential rains and high winds during the storm.

To varying degrees, several historic and non-historic structures were affected, including the 19th century Smoke House, the Plantation House kitchen porch, the original 1830’s Slave Cabin, the Spinning Cottage, the Historic Barn, the Gardener’s Cottage, the Grape Arbor, and white picket fences. Rolling Road is impassable. As the site is at present, it is unsafe for visitors.

“Although this is devastating, we were so incredibly fortunate,” stated Nancy Easterling, Executive Director. “The 1703 Plantation House is in good shape, despite near misses by several enormous trees. Our newly restored Slave Cabin, while affected, is still intact. Our magnificent gardens are still glorious.”

Although trees lay atop the roofs of the Slave Cabin, the Historic Barn, and the Spinning Cottage, none of these buildings appear to have suffered serious damage. The Smoke House roof is shattered but the brick walls remain standing, though it has yet to be determined whether or not the walls have been structurally compromised. The Plantation House porch and sections of the kitchen roof will require complete rebuilding. The Grape Arbor is now non-existent. Some of the trees were iconic, well over 100 years old, and a tremendous loss in and of themselves.

The biggest problem Sotterley faces right now is the removal of the downed trees. Anticipating that much of the structural repairs will be covered by insurance, there is uncertainty about the total cost of tree and debris removal. Well over 30 trees are down and the nature trails have yet to be assessed.

“Donations to help with the massive clean-up effort are vital and will be tremendously appreciated,” said Easterling. “There are so many who love and understand the importance of this site, and we know with the support of this amazing community, we can restore Sotterley and preserve it for future generations.”

Please check our website: www.sotterley.org to make your donation and the Historic Sotterley Facebook page for continuing updates.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Spookiest Ghost Tour in Town!

"1878: Washed Ashore"
Ghosts of Sotterley Tours 2011

October 13, 14, 15, 21 & 22, 2011
Tours run every ten minutes, beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Reservations Required – No Walk-ins

This year’s tour will take guests back in time to the year 1878, when Sotterley was owned by Dr. Walter Hanson Stone Briscoe and his wife, Emeline. The family’s enjoyment of prosperity, good friends, county notoriety, and living the good life has been interrupted. A ship wreck has occurred at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and Dr. Briscoe has been called upon to treat the survivors. The plantation is reeling from the disaster and teeming with uninvited visitors - the restless spirits of the newly departed as well as the spirits of those long past who have been unsettled by the upheaval. Prepare to encounter both the earthly inhabitants of the time and those not of this earth on this historical and spooky walking tour!

New for 2011 – Additional Tour Nights! What could be better than 3 nights of the Ghosts of Sotterley Tours? 5 Nights of the Ghosts of Sotterley Tours! This year’s tours will run on October 13, 14, and 15th AND October 21 and 22nd.

Advance reservations are required. We cannot accommodate walk-ins. Tour times will begin at 7 p.m. and run every ten minutes. May not be suitable for young children. Dress appropriately for this spooky outdoor walking tour / production.

Tickets are $13 per person and may be purchased online: www.sotterley.org. Group rates are available by calling our office 301-373-2280.


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bluebirds from a Soon-To-Be Eagle!

Receiving the distinction of Eagle Scout requires strong motivation, willingness to learn, careful planning, with a strong commitment to service. Isaac Wieser possesses all of these admirable characteristics, plus unmatched, unbridled enthusiasm. Born with Down syndrome, he doesn’t allow challenges to intimidate him one bit. Last week, after a full year of planning, organizing, supervising, and development, he delivered 10 white cedar bluebird houses to Sotterley Plantation, as part of the wildlife encouragement program.

“I’m so excited!” Isaac exclaimed, upon entering the Sotterley office with his mother and brother … and he has every right to be. After identifying Sotterley’s need for this valuable project at the 2010 Garden Fair, he set to work. With assistance from his family and fellow boy scouts in Troop 420 of Leonardtown, what began as an idea has become a reality.

After learning that bluebirds prefer white cedar, Isaac’s grandfather generously donated the wood for the project. Isaac’s next phase of learning included how to use a drill press and other tools correctly and safely, under the instruction of his father. Once the prep-work was complete, he supervised the construction of the high-quality bluebird houses. Grouping the scouts into teams, each responsible for a specific task on an assembly line, he oversaw each phase of development for quality assurance.

“We are so incredibly honored that Isaac chose Sotterley for this most amazing gift. This will help us to increase the bluebird population at Sotterley,” stated Nancy Easterling, Executive Director. “Most importantly, we have made a great friend in Isaac.”

Much thanks to Isaac Wieser, the Wieser family, and Boy Scout Troop 420 of Leonardtown, Maryland. We are grateful … and excited!

To view video of Isaac and the Bluebird Houses, check out the following links:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOqMrB FkjU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMzK 9hL9aw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCl1e0AH s4


Monday, August 15, 2011

A Fine Time for Wine ... and more!

Riverside WineFest at Sotterley 2011!
October 1 & 2 ~ Noon until 6pm both days

Sotterley Plantation will celebrate the best of Maryland in the breathtaking setting of this National Historic Landmark at Riverside WineFest at Sotterley 2011. For two days, guests will have the chance to taste the offerings from over two dozen Maryland wineries. Enjoy award-winning wines, scrumptious food and treats, hand-crafted wares from regional artisans, free children’s activities, and fabulous live music. For those who have always wanted to learn about wine making and wine testing, enjoy informative demonstrations and exhibits. FREE Garden Tours, Slave Cabin Presentations, and “Mini Tours” of the 1703 Plantation House will be available to guests. In the historic Barn, artists from The Color & Light Society will be painting, displaying, and selling their treasures. As an added bonus, 98.3 Star FM celebs T-Bone & Heather will be here with t-shirts and prizes for the crowd on Saturday.

For Discount Tickets - BUY Online! www.sotterley.org prior to Friday, September 23rd!

Tickets may be purchased in advance for a discounted price of $20 prior to September 23rd; $25 at the gate; $15 for designated drivers; $5 for children ages 6 – 20; free for children under six years old. Tickets for Sotterley Members are $18 available by phone only. For more information, visit www.sotterley.org or call 301-373-2280 or 800-681-0850.