The Virginia Eastern Shore’s Historic Garden Tour is the state’s largest. People flock here to steal a look inside the gracious homes – often with breathtaking water views -- hidden far from the public eye. When you come for the Saturday tour, linger for a long weekend and explore some of the Eastern Shore’s 78,000 acres of park land, hundreds of miles of wild coastline, galleries, shops, museums and restaurants.
Get Tickets for the Virginia Eastern Shore Historic Garden Tour
Pick a hub on the lower, middle or upper shore. Don’t be surprised to find yourself staying in a historic hotel or B&B with a beautiful garden – it’s not on the tour, but it could be! Small towns off the main road – Cape Charles, Wachapreague, Onancock and Chincoteague -- are quiet spots with boutique hotels and B&BS, shopping and restaurants. Don’t miss the dozens of vacation rentals, retro hotels, fishing lodges and B&BS that are not in a town proper but tucked away off the main road. Pick from major chain hotels along Rt. 13 and in Chincoteague, or camp at one of the area’s eight campgrounds.
Find a Place to Stay
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Chincoteague Island
Spend the morning observing native plants and wildflowers along one of the nature trails that are open for exploration in this 14,000 acre refuge.
Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge
Inn and Garden Café, Onancock
Grab Sunday brunch here and sit in the sunny gazebo with panoramic views of the inn’s gardens. The chef whips up delicious French toast, eggs benedict and omelets for brunch.
Inn and Garden Cafe Website
Savage Neck Dunes Area Preserve, Eastville
One of the Eastern Shore’s most enchanting spots is a roughly 300-acre nature preserve with three hiking trails through maritime forest habitats. Keep a lookout for Engelmann’s umbrella-sedge, dwarf burhead and southern bladderwort. At the end of the hike, you’re rewarded with a view of the Chesapeake Bay from a pristine, isolated beach.
Savage Neck Preserve Website
Eyre Gardens, Cheriton
Eyre Hall is on the Historic Garden Tour every year but people often miss the beautiful public gardens, which are open year round. These gardens are among the oldest in the country, circa 1800. Ancient boxwood and gnarled crape myrtles tower over the traditional swept paths, all enclosed by a wall of brick brought as ballast from England. On the sunny side, English-style mixed borders add color, and opposite is the family graveyard and romantic orangery ruin from 1819.