Whew! One of the downsides of living on a historic property is that all the descendents think they need to revisit their roots.
The guy (Isaac Bowman) who built this house in 1812 had 80 grandchildren. So you can imagine, when they have their reunion every two yrs, how many people show up. (And this is VA, where every conversation starts w/a pedigree.) The other local properties are handled by foundations & the commonwealth of Virginia.
Until this yr, Mt Pleasant has not been on the tour, for various reasons. But we decided this yr to allow them in. Thank goodness for cousin R.U. (Edward Randolph Underwood) who directed parking, and friends M & S who handled the upstairs. The mater handled gardens & I did downstairs. There were Hite-Bowmans from all corners of the earth. One had even written a book.
We were working until wee hours getting the house in order. I spent the day pointing out mantels and elbow-latches & the original hearth. Oy, I don’t have much in common w/British royalty, but one day of ppl traipsing thru the house, pointing out woodwork just about did me in. I don’t know how they do it. I wonder how many B-H’s will return home, discussing the Brad room, the Martha room & how to get heartwood pine floors.
And then in the last group, someone asked me if we were open every weekend. FREAK OUT does not cover it. “This is not a museum. We LIVE here. It’s a working farm! We opened the house to descendents who had legitimate interest, but the next public access will be sheepdog trials in November. That will be the grounds, NOT the house.” I’m sure one of the Hite-Bowmans caught my panic, b/c he very seriously thanked me for allowing them access.
The funniest thing is that we really are FFV (First Families of Virginia); my mother is a Randolph. But we have absolutely no connection with Bowman/Hites, beyond owning their house. (Except that I think one of my Beatty forebears fought in the same unit in the Revolutionary War. See, I’ve caught Virginia fever.)
So now it’s back to normal, after I pour myself a very, very stiff Screwdriver to savor on the screen porch & watch the rain pour down. And then start blanching beans.