We made it to only three of the six stops on the annual Bayard Taylor House & Garden Tour on June 2: a DuPont house modeled after Mount Vernon and a 21,000-square-foot former MBNA conference center, both off Old Kennett Road; and a Baneswood Circle house with a charming garden.
The Mount Vernon lookalike had a beautiful broad terrace leading out to the pool, and in the formal dining room, big teddy bears were sitting around the elaborately set table.
At the former conference center, a shuttle bus was available to take guests from the parking area at the caretaker's house up to the main house (we walked). In the basement were a game room, a video arcade, a theater room, and a pub. The doors to some of the mechanical rooms were open, letting us see the industrial-sized heating and water systems that such a mansion demands. People were saying that they'd be more than happy to live in just the pool house.
In the kitchen of the Baneswood Circle home, the owners of Portabello's Restaurant were serving up their delicious mushroom crepes. After we finished eating, we had a nice chat with artist Roe Murray, who was painting in the garden.
Happily, our timing throughout the day was impeccable: the crowds arrived either before or after us, according to the parkers and guides. Among the tourgoers we saw library director Megan Walters and library board members Bill McLachlan (with wife Carol), Jeff Yetter, and Tom Swett and many friends from the library's Special Events Committee, which organizes the tour.
Although torrential rain was predicted, it held off until later afternoon, just after the end of the tour.