in your own backyard

I am so lucky. I got to spend part of my winter visiting incredible houses as we searched for candidates to include on the Landmark Society’s 44th Annual House and Garden Tour on June 7th and 8th.

This year the tour is coming to a neighborhood near you! It’s a very familiar location. It’s been a retreat for recreation and reflection for over 150 years. It’s a place where our horticultural history and our ancestors have been planted. It’s a destination for flower lovers from around the world. Yes, lots of visitors know this neighborhood. But this is your chance to be more than casual visitor, as residents of the Mt Hope-Highland historic neighborhood welcome you into their homes.

Tickets available the second week in May. Advance tickets for Landmark Society members are $18, available only directly from or by calling (585) 546-7029 x11. The nonmember advance price is $22, and may be purchased from us, or at Parkleigh, 215 Park Avenue. On June 7 and 8, tickets for all will be $25 in the Lamberton Conservatory, if not sold out. All the details are at

What did we find for you? Ten private homes and gardens that will be open for tour goers. Eight of the homes have never been open for our tour.

There’s everything from the palatial Patrick Barry mansion on Mt Hope Avenue to charming bungalows nestled on hidden streets in the “highlands” of the area. The houses range from the mid 19th century to the early 20th century. Many (if not all) of them are architect-designed, so you can expect to see artistic use of space and light, and a plethora of fine detail. You will enjoy many original details, lovingly restored finishes, recreated historic kitchen cabinets, and wood trim that glows with the patina of time. Style influences include Italian Villa, arts and crafts, bungalow and colonial revival.

The gardens will not disappoint, either. Some of the treats in store: lush perennial gardens; a beautifully landscaped pool; an innovative sliding fence that transforms the upper drive to a patio; the historic grounds of the Ellwanger and Barry Nursery; a “pocket waterfall;” a lovely backyard crafted from a former “dump.” Our historic Ellwanger Garden, with its rare blooms, will also be part of the tour.

If you’ve never participated in The Landmark Society’s June tour, know that you can go at your own pace. Your ticket booklet provides a map, descriptions of the house, and admission to each home for one visit. You may go in any order – you can even choose to visit some houses on Saturday and others on Sunday. This gives you the opportunity to stroll the neighborhood, stop for coffee or lunch, or perhaps take one of the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery tours. You can even tour Lamberton Conservatory, which will serve as tour headquarters.

So come be a tourist in your own backyard and explore the homes and gardens of the Mt Hope-Highland neighborhood.