Headley House to host garden, showcase event

Posted: March 12, 2013

The Winchester Star

The Empty House Tour will highlight not only the structure of the house, whose earliest sections date to the 1770s, but the touches the Headley family added when they bought and restored the house in the 1950s. Joe Headley Sr., son of the owners, shows some of the special features.
The late Glynell Headley sits on the front porch of Headley House in 1957.
The late Glynnell Headley entertained for many years in her kitchen at Headley House at Long Green in Frederick County. This photo was taken in 1959. An Empty House Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday for the public to see the house before the fall event. Admission is $5 per person.
Blue Ridge Hospice and the Little Garden Club of Winchester are teaming up to transform Headley House in Frederick County for the first Winchester Showhouse and Gardens 2013, scheduled from Sept. 7 to 29.
The late Glynell Headley is shown on a family trip to Ireland.

Winchester — Glynnell Headley was a true Southern lady. She loved to play bridge, garden, and support the arts, according to her daughter, Kathy Howey of Lovettsville.

And given the chance, she also adored entertaining at her home, Headley House at Long Green in Frederick County.

“I think a lot of people in Winchester knew my mother. She was very generous, very giving,” Howey said. “She always saw the best in people.”

Glynnell had not lived at Headley House since she suffered a stroke three years ago and died last October at age 90. But thanks to the cooperation of her family and a new collaboration between Blue Ridge Hospice and the Little Garden Club of Winchester, her legacy of entertaining will soon live on.

The two Shenandoah Valley nonprofits are teaming up to transform Headley House for the first Winchester Showhouse and Gardens 2013, said Mary Ann Kaplan, a member of the garden club. The event will be held Sept. 7 to 29 at the house at 498 Long Green Lane.

Minor repairs will be made to the house, but the main showcase will be how participating decorators and landscapers transform the house’s 18 rooms and the surrounding grounds, she said.

The event will be a fundraiser for both nonprofits, give local designers and landscapers a chance to expose their work to the community, and bring a new shine to Glynnell’s home, Kaplan said.

The setting of the showcase is especially poignant because of Glynnell’s ties to both organizations, she said. She was a longtime active garden club member, and, toward the end of her life, a Blue Ridge Hospice patient.

“The Headley family thought this was an excellent tribute to their mother and grandmother,” said Kaplan, who is also on the hospice’s board member.

Before the house is transformed, the public will have one last time to see it as it was when Glynnell lived there, minus the furnishings.

An Empty House Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Headley House at Long Green, 498 Long Green Lane, Winchester. Admission is $5 per person.

Music therapists from Blue Ridge will perform both days, and there will be light refreshments featuring one of Glynnell’s favorite cookie recipes, said Colleen Zoller, garden club president and co-chair of the event with Kaplan.

“They will explain what the designers can and can’t do. There are limitations,” said Zoller of Winchester.

The house is not on the National Register of Historical Places, so the limitations mainly relate to elements the family wants to preserve, she said.

The tour will also highlight not only the structure of the house, whose earliest sections date to the 1770s, but the touches the Headley family added when they bought and restored the house in the 1950s, said Joe Headley Sr., Glynnell’s son.

Tour leaders will point out features such as the house’s many fireplaces, a window in the kitchen that used to be a door, and the hand stenciling Glynnell did in various rooms.

After she suffered a stroke three years ago, she lived with her daughter and eventually went to live at Spring Arbor of Winchester. At that time, she wanted to make improvements to the house but didn’t have the energy, her son said. The fact that the house will get a facelift would appeal to her. “My mother would love this,” said Joe of Frederick County.

A new start

When the Headley family moved into the house in the mid 1950s, they had to do a great deal of work to it, said Howey, who was 4 at the time. Her parents and older brother had to work on everything from the plumb ing and electricity to wallpapering and landscaping.

Even all these years later, Howey remembers reactions from other children when they found out where she lived.

“Kids I went to school with couldn’t believe I was living in that house because it was an old empty house and everybody was sure it was haunted, which it is actually,” she said.

The land originally came with 200 acres of land, but Glynnell’s husband, Boyd G. Headley, sold off about 150 acres to pay off the house, said Regina Headley, Joe’s wife. They had four children together and later divorced. Glynnell kept the house.

She loved to have company and often did, Regina said. She rented out rooms to boarders through the years. Hosting family events was a special highlight for her.

“Anything she could find as an excuse to have a party, she would have a party,” Regina said.

In many instances, Glynnell combined her love of entertaining with her other true passion — bridge. Many a Sunday evening found Milan and Marie Majarov of Frederick County arriving at Glynnell’s house with dessert or wine, ready to eat dinner and play bridge.

The trio and Glynnell’s bridge partner, David Grier of Frederick County, were all part of the Dick Bowers Duplicate Bridge Club. Sunday games were for practice, but the club’s two weekly games were serious business, Milan Majarov said.

“She was a good player. She was a life master. That meant she went to regional and national tournaments,” he said.

Glynnell revived the struggling club in the early 2000s, bringing it back to a much firmer footing, he said. Although she was not an assertive person, he said she trained to become a bridge director and encouraged others to follow suit.

“If you are going to be a bridge director, you have to be assertive because you are referee, judge, score keeper, and timekeeper all rolled into one,” he said. “She liked bridge so much that she really put out the effort to learn how to be a director.”

Glynnell’s other interests included painting, theater, and volunteering as a docent at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Howey said.

Transforming a home

A few weeks after Glynnell died, her granddaughter, Gina Wilson, was in a car coming back from Richmond with three other garden club members, Kaplan said. The subject of a designer house showcase come up, and Headley House was mentioned.

Garden club members decided to move ahead with the project but knew they couldn’t do it on their own, she said. In December, they approached Ernie Carnevale, president of Blue Ridge Hospice, about a collaboration.

It was a wonderful opportunity as a fundraiser, but he also liked the “connection with someone we cared for,” Carnevale said.

Things have moved quickly since then, Kaplan said. The two nonprofits are leasing the house from the Headley family from March 1 to Oct. 15. At that point, the family, who intend to keep the house, will take it back over, and Joe Headley Jr. will move in.

In the coming months, organizers are hoping to attract a variety of local designers and landscapers to the project, Kaplan said.

During the showcase, vendors are allowed to sell all of the contents of the rooms they decorated, but the items will remain at the house until the end of the showcase.

Two outbuildings near the house also will be renovated and turned into a boutique, The Shoppes at Long Green, and The Cafe at Long Green, she said.

Information

An Empty House Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday at Headley House at Long Green, 498 Long Green Lane, Winchester. Admission is $5 per person. To purchase tickets, call 540-313-9268 or go to winchestershowhouse.com for a list of sites selling them.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com.