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Walk on the Hill Graced with Sun and Warmth

Community views home gardens, relaxes to music.

Walkers strolled around the yards that welcomed visitors.

Walkers strolled around the yards that welcomed visitors. Photo by Donna Manz.

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Windover Heights homeowner Lee Curtis brings his mother, Mary Jean Curtis, to the refreshment tables, which just happened to be set up in front of Lee Curtis’s home.

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Friends Ellen Deeb and Susie Prentice stop in one of the many Windover yards open to the public on April 29.

The weather was postcard-perfect for the 2012 Windover Heights Walk on the Hill … heavenly blue skies, a bit of contrail here and there to lend a modern art pattern to the sky. Neighbors strolled and chatted, the Green Hedges Jazz Band and the Vienna Community Band played on an expansive lawn, and Windover homeowners served refreshments. The Old Time Machine performed at the historic cabin on Walnut Lane.

It would have been the perfect spring event had the azaleas not bloomed weeks earlier. Here and there, stalwart azaleas stood their ground. Gardens dotted with lavender flowers compensated for waning azaleas, and one homeowner even showcased restored vintage autos. At Green Hedges School, the Ayr Hill Garden Club sponsored its biennial juried themed flower show.

"We wanted to take a walk today and get inspiration for our gardens," said Susie Prentice, looking over the open yard with her spur-of-the-moment friend Ellen Deeb.

Several residents, such as Gayle Gropper, expressed amazement that they were taking their first Walk on the Hill although they had lived in Vienna for many years. "We came today because it’s a beautiful day, and to walk for health reasons."

The residents of Windover Heights and Historic Vienna, Inc. partner to produce this annual spring event. A welcome touch is the map and brochure volunteers distribute at the Walk. Participating houses – those with "Open yard" signs – are detailed in the brochure, noting architecture and history of the homes, some of which are over 100 years old. The Windover Heights Historic District wends its way along the Windover Street corridor and its quaint side roads.

Jan Beatey and her three friends walked through yards. "We hope for the beautiful weather like today," said Beatey. "We come to see all the gorgeous gardens."

Every year, a family at Short and Windover streets turns its yard over to the Town of Vienna Department of Parks and Recreation to be used for the band concert. The Town sets up chairs around the shade trees, and the music always draws a crowd.

At 277 Windover, where the refreshment tables were set up, the property’s homeowner Lee Curtis was pushing his mother Mary Jean Curtis in a wheelchair. Mary Jean Curtis comes from Arlington every year for the Walk on the Hill. She likes that the streets are closed and the band plays. "It’s a real old-time community event where we get to renew acquaintances," said Lee Curtis.