Elizabethan Gardens To Celebrate Virginia Dare History And Birthday
North Carolina has long embraced its Elizabethan history, and in Dare County, residents celebrate the August 18 birth of Virginia Dare, the first child of English parentage born in the new world to the ill-fated Elizabethan colony of 1587.
The date holds special significance to her birthplace on Roanoke Island near the township of Manteo, North Carolina. For the occasion, The Elizabethan Gardens located in Manteo, hosts annual special activities with a reduced admission price to her honor.
But Virginia Dare fans aren’t limited by geography or history to the small island town.
In the 1890’s, Pitt County resident Sallie Southall Cotton devoted herself to Virginia Dare. She rallied to recognize the historical icon, forming the Virginia Dare Memorial Association.
Cotton’s promotions worked. News spread all the way to Salem, Massachusetts and caught the attention of a sculptor, Louise Lander. Lander was determined to prove that women could be as skilled as men in the craft. In 1859, she carved a beautiful museum-worthy Carrera marble likeness of Virginia Dare during a residency in Italy.
But the story doesn’t end there.
The remarkable sculpture’s fascinating and tumultuous trek to The Gardens involves drowning, burning, abandonment, and relocations that are documented as part of The Gardens’ history found on their mobile audio tour.
Fortunately, Lander’s Dare now rests peacefully in The Elizabethan Gardens – a donation from Paul Green, playwright of The Lost Colony (a long-running outdoor drama that features the birth of Virginia Dare) who was instrumental in creating The Gardens. “It was Green’s wish that the statue be placed here,” explained Carl Curnutte executive director of The Elizabethan Gardens.
He added, “We like to encourage folks to visit her on this special day and pay her homage.” The gardens gift shop has procured a cast stone likeness of Virginia Dare’s statue, on sale for this special birthday.
In honor of the historic birth, admission to The Elizabethan Gardens on August 18 will be reduced on Dare’s 430th birthday to $4.30 for adults (+ NC admissions tax). Children and youth will be free.
In addition to visiting the beautiful gardens, fountains and statues, there are several Virginia Dare-inspired activities for August 18.
The following events are scheduled in and around The Gardens for August 18:
9:00am – Virginia Dare Birthday Plant Clearance 30% off Plant Sale, 9:00am-1:00pm
9:00-10:00am – Ask Our Gardner – on staff consultant to answer garden questions
10:00am – FREE Children’s Program- Backyard Birds
10:45am – FREE Children’s Program- Butterflies!
12:00-1:00pm – A “Southern Picnic Lunch” of fried chicken, $9 per person ($8 for members). Tickets available to the first 100 guests.
1:00pm – Ice Cream and Cake in Odom Hall
Along with activities for the children and special programs we will be offering for the first time ever a photo op board for visitors to snap photos of their time spent on the Outer Banks. There will also be a giant birthday card to sign, which will later be posted on our Facebook page so that visitors can show off their signature. Additionally, all of the children will be commissioned as “Roanoke Explorers” and will be given a personalized card to remember the day. Parents will also receive a special free souvenir.
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