For the first time since the Chimneys show house in 2007, a distinctive private home in St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea be open to the public. But this time, it’s just for a day.
The Vines & Vignettes “garden fantasy tour,” to benefit St. Ann School, will be staged at the home of the school’s principal, Theresa Tillinger. Historically, the house was one of the “Rose Cottage” of the St. George Hotel at the latter part of the 19th century. But mainly, this house is known to neighbors as the former Fred Frassinelli property on Saturday, June 5. For the really curious, a more formal preview gala is Thursday, June 3.
It was his father who was responsible for much of the neighborhood’s development in the 1930s and 1940s. Dubbing the property “La Dolce Vita,” Mr. Frassinelli really made that property magical, even if all I’ve ever seen of it is from the other side of its stone wall. (I live on the next block.) He had taste to spare and appreciated nice things.
(If anyone knows more about Mr. F’s legacy, or has a correction to this written-from-memory post, please send a comment. I regret I never knew him personally although we lived three doors apart for at least 10 years.)
Anyway, I’m sure lots of people will be eager to get a look-see at the estate.
Landscape architects, nurseries and antique dealers will create more than a dozen vignettes using the “tranquil garden spaces, ponds and walkways of this beautiful three-acre property on St. Mary’s-by-the-Sea,” promises the website.
Always a little smarter than his neighbors, Mr. Frassinelli moved out years ago before taxes skyrocketed, but the new owners have kept the property maintained in the same style and spirit, although a part had been lopped off for another house. That’s right. When you see the lawn, think that not so long ago, it was even bigger and grander.
See the website for tickets and times. Or if the Flash format annoys you as much as it does me, read the press release I’ve cut-n-pasted:
Vines & Vignettes: A Garden Fantasy is a unique garden experience and fundraiser for nearby St. Ann School.
Some of Fairfield County’s finest landscape architects, nurseries and garden antiques dealers will create more than a dozen vignettes using the tranquil garden spaces, ponds and walkways of this three-acre property, once part of the spectacular George Hotel on the waterfront at St. Mary’s-By-the-Sea.
Presenting sponsor Oliver Nurseries invites visitors to spend the day perusing the grounds, taking home innovative ideas for their own gardens, listening to expert lecturers and live music, and purchasing that special ornament at the boutique. Lunch and light refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the day.
The vignettes include an herb garden designed by Michel Nischan, owner of the acclaimed Dressing Room restaurant in Westport and president of the Wholesome Wave Foundation, dedicated to nourishing neighborhoods by supporting production and access to healthy, fresh and affordable locally grown food. His new cookbook, Sustainably Delicious: Making the World a Better Place, One Recipe at a Time, will be available for purchase at the event.
Other spectacular vendors include: Austin Ganim Landscape Architects, Beau Maas Antiques, Black Rose Gallery. Cargo Bay, Carol Brewer Interiors, Chad’s Landscaping & Design, Dietter’s Water Gardens, Elizabeth Belliveau Fine Art Photography, Enduring, Epicure of Design, Evocateur, Happy Tails, Lindquist Landscape Design, Nest of Southport, Oliver Nurseries, the Royal Tea Company, Runk Douglas Antiques, and Thomas Del Spina Fine Frames.
All proceeds from the day – and an invitation-only preview gala on June 3 – will benefit St. Ann School, a private Catholic school that has been serving the historic and culturally rich neighborhood of Black Rock for more than 70 years. St. Ann School is proud to provide outstanding education to an ethnically and economically diverse population with a strong alumni base that is committed to the school’s high academic standards and inclusive nature.
Donations made to Vines & Vignettes will help expand school programs and resources, support student and teacher education and allow St. Ann School to continue its mission of providing quality, affordable education to our community.
In addition to presenting sponsor, Oliver Nurseries and media sponsor, Connecticut Cottages & Gardens, St. Ann School wishes to thank a host of sponsors who are making this special day a reality. They include: Chad’s Landscaping & Design, Bruce and Michele Hubler, Marcia Selden Catering, Nestle Waters North American, Ashcreek Enterprises, Bartlett Tree Service, Candee Construction, Santa Energy, Karyn Leito Photography, Abbey Tent & Rental and Royal Restrooms.
Tickets for Vines & Vignettes are $20 in advance, $25 at the event. Tickets will be available after April 15 at:
• Fairfield Stationers, 1215 Post Rd., Fairfield
• Ganim’s Garden Center, 320 Kings Hwy Cutoff, Fairfield
• Harborview Market, 218 Harborview Ave., Bridgeport
• Nest of Southport, 3548 Post Road, Southport
• Runk Douglas Antiques, 362 Pequot Avenue, Southport
• Thomas Del Spina Fine Frames, 1869 Post Rd E., Westport
For more information, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit www.vinesandvignettes.com.