Kahlil Gibran wrote “Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” If that’s the case, then Upper Bundoran is a sonnet. Nestled in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the original home of the preservation neighborhood known as Bundoran Farm, this estate is an ode to trees. Statuesque sugar maples, cork elms, chestnut oaks and American sycamores create a lush park-like setting.
The estate’s Georgian-Revival home and sun-dappled gardens are the epitome of gracious country living. Upper Bundoran was completed in 1952 by Fred and Elizabeth Scott, community leaders and philanthropists. Mrs. Scott planted many of the historically important trees in the 1950s on the property.
For the first time ever, this original home of the Bundoran Estate will be open for Virginia Historic Garden Week. Now in its 90th year, the nation’s longest-running statewide house and garden tour continues to fund the preservation and restoration of Virginia’s historic homes and public gardens. Dozens of beautiful tours will happen throughout Virginia the week of April 15-22, 2023.
A Classic European Style Home in Virginia Wine Country
The current owners, Tracy Hedrick and her husband, have made the home their own. Their love of travel has influenced their European design aesthetic, which reveals itself subtly in every room of the home. The striking Lucite table in the living room serves as a perfect desk. In contrast, the modern piece is topped with an antique lamp and an array of French-inspired books. Hedrick collects French Majolica, Baccarat butterflies and also loves the signature ceramics of Astier de Villatte.
That juxtaposition of modern and historic defines European style: combining textile patterns and fabrics, mixing modern pieces like the “ghost desk” with elaborate antique gold sconces and Old-World art and using unexpected rustic pieces like the wrought iron coffee table alongside simple slipper chairs and streamlined sofas.
You’ll also find hints of their former California home—where the family lived for 27 years before moving to Charlottesville—as well as nods to the year they spent in Italy and to her grandparents’ home in Texas. The result is that “je ne sais quoi” style that appears both contemporary and lived-in for generations.
A Farmhouse Kitchen with French Design
The gourmet kitchen—country chic with stunning chandeliers over an exquisite custom-built marble island — is also designed for cooking with friends or gathering with family. Touches of French country style appear in the French blue island cabinetry, the tile, the dual farm sinks with historic design fixtures and in the blue banquette that wraps around a bistro-style table. A charming, framed print of a rabbit adds a fresh element to the composition.
The sprawling porch accessed via the original double French doors is the perfect place for entertaining. (Look for a beautiful story in the next issue of Virginia Wine & Country Life to see Hedrick styling an al fresco dinner party there.) The kitchen is both rustic and refined, offering spectacular views, which Hedrick says may be her favorite. “The view from the dining porch and kitchen windows, looking down the hill catching some beautiful buildings on our neighbors’ property as well as some of the livestock in the surrounding pastures, would probably win the prize!”
Stunning Views of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains
Bundoran Farm is a planned agricultural neighborhood that includes special amenities like a historic community meeting hall, walking trails and a special relationship with the award-winning Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, also in the Bundoran neighborhood. The peaceful views of the courtyard garden, the landscape and the mountains are visible from the kitchen and from almost every room of the house.
You’ll notice that Hedrick has not used draperies, making those views an integral part of each room. “The windows in this house are oversized, and I am a window girl,” Hedrick said, “so that was what I fell in love with instantly! Each window is like a frame with its own picture that constantly changes through the day and the seasons.”
The cozy study is a family favorite for watching sports on TV and boasts a fully stocked bar hidden behind a pair of handsome antique wooden doors. Vintage barware and unique liquors from around the world make it easy to serve guests or mix something up to enjoy while watching a game. The painting of Tuscany over the fireplace is a fond reminder of living in Italy. “It reminds me very much of the area around where we lived outside of Florence,” Hedrick commented.
A Country-Chic Wine Cellar and Craft Room
The renovation project currently underway for the Hedricks is a stylish new wine tasting room adjacent to the well-stocked wine cellar and spacious media room in the home’s large lower level.
The couple’s canine companions, two Rhodesian ridgebacks and a miniature labradoodle, also have a special place in the newly completed craft and laundry room. The charming room incorporates a built-in cozy nook for the pups where they can enjoy naps while Hedrick wraps a gift or writes a letter.
She can also create flower arrangements at the deep farm sink there, do laundry or even bathe the dogs in the dog washing station in the next room. The stylishly utilitarian space has become an indispensable part of country life.
A Sprawling Country Estate in the Virginia Countryside
Hedrick loves roaming the gardens each day with the dogs and checking in on their other animals. She and her husband have added their own verses to the arboreal poem begun by the Scotts, adding 100 trees to the pastoral landscape and putting their own stamp on the lush gardens and country home. “My first inspiration was definitely from my grandparents’ extensive flower garden and orchard in Texas,” she says. “It is hard to replicate their roses here due to the Japanese beetles, but I do have a few. My new love is definitely dahlias and I enjoy using them in arrangements whenever possible. We are so blessed with all of the plants and trees that Elizabeth Scott planted and reap those benefits through all seasons.”
“My first inspiration was definitely from my grandparents’ extensive flower garden and orchard in Texas,” she says. “It is hard to replicate their roses here due to the Japanese beetles, but I do have a few.”
At the side of the house, a gravel courtyard is framed by white crepe myrtles and boxwood. The lovely pond is both a focal point and home to colorful koi and graceful water lilies. A formal boxwood parterre garden has a flagstone path that leads to a central fountain. Mature boxwoods frame the perimeter, accented by graceful crepe myrtles and the white roses that Hedrick planted. Along one path, an antique iron bench offers a secluded spot to enjoy the garden view that includes her favorite peonies in spring and hydrangeas from summer into fall. Hedrick’s fabulous sulcata tortoise, Churchill, also enjoys walks on the garden paths and charms her and visitors alike.
Just beyond the parterre is the ornamental cherry grove, breathtaking in spring bloom. In addition to Churchill and her beloved dogs, Hedrick raises miniature donkeys and a small flock of sheep, often seen roaming the pastures near the fire pit and cutting garden. The flower bed is filled with old-fashioned classics including zinnias, daisies, hollyhocks and sweet peas. Nearby, the original farm’s icehouse has been converted into a charming guest space. With the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, these are the bucolic views of the unspoiled countryside that the couple loves to enjoy from inside the house or by the fire pit with a glass of wine in the evenings.
Exploring the History of Upper Bundoran
As the original home on Bundoran Farm, it provides a valuable historic counterpoint to the newer estates in the area. Bundoran was originally a working cattle farm with 26,000 apple trees dating back to the 1800s. Today, 90 percent of the neighborhood’s 2,300 acres is written into agricultural easements. This means that land will always be used for farming or environmental conservation, thus preserving the beautiful agrarian landscape. A fact the couple clearly cherishes.
The simplicity of country living combined with the sophisticated décor of the well-traveled Hedrick family make Upper Bundoran a gracious home and an excellent example of the elegant rural life that dominates Virginia’s Wine Country. Filled with the earth’s “poems written upon the sky” and surrounded by spectacular gardens, Upper Bundoran will be a don’t-miss stop during the 2023 Historic Garden Week.
Albemarle-Charlottesville Historic Garden Week Tour
The Garden Club of Virginia and its over 3,000 fabulous volunteers have created a very special tour for the club’s 90th Historic Garden Week on April 15 through 22, 2023. All week long, visitors will be inspired by 30 unique tours of over 100 private landscapes, homes, public gardens and historic sites across Virginia, enjoying our beautiful state at the peak of spring.
Upper Bundoran is included on the Albemarle-Charlottesville tour, Sunday, April 16, 2023, and includes another beautiful home on Bundoran Farm. The tour also includes the headquarters at the Baldwin Center for Preservation Development, which is a historic post and beam structure that serves as the community building for Bundoran Farm.
Visit VirginiaWineAndCountryLife.com this spring for more exclusive home and garden content from Upper Bundoran, including a very special guest room and gorgeous tablescape on the veranda that Hedrick set for a dinner party with friends and family. For more information about this year’s exciting Historic Garden Week, visit the Garden Club of Virginia’s website at vagardenweek.org and look for the official 2023 Guidebook in local boutiques around the state in mid-February.~
JENNIFER BRYERTON is Co-Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Wine & Country Life. She is an avid gardener, home cook and wine-taster. She enjoys learning about Virginia viticulture and sharing the story of our local farm-to-table makers.
R. L. JOHNSON is our Co-Publisher and Creative Director. Bethke studied at the prestigious ArtCenter College of Design and began her career as a professional photographer in Los Angeles. She moved into graphic design and art direction when she relocated to Charlottesville in 1994. As our company’s co-founder and visionary, she enjoys all aspects of storytelling.
you might like
Virginia Wine & Country celebrates elevated living in Virginia Wine Country. Virginia Wine & Country Life is a semi-annual luxury print magazine with a full digital presence. The Virginia Wine & Country Gold Book is an annual guide to the top award-winning wines, wineries and experiences in Virginia Wine Country. The annual Virginia Wine & Country Wedding Planner is an art book of elegant Virginia weddings. The brand includes the Virginia Wine & Country Shop in Ivy, Va. It is a beautiful lifestyle boutique that brings the pages of the magazines to life. Virginia Wine & Country tells the stories of Virginia wineries, the farm-to-table movement, luxury travel, entertaining, art and the elegant country lifestyle. Ivy Life & Style Media also provides branding, web design and PR services for the wine industry.