Martha Stewart Turkey Hill Garden Tour

Martha

Yes, it finally happened. I met Martha Stewart. It's been a whole two days and it still hasn't fully sunk in yet. Before I attended the Martha Stewart Turkey Hill Garden Tour, wonderfully organized by local Westport charity Positive Directions, everyone asked me what I would say to the woman who has been influencing me since before I hit double digits. It was something I quietly contemplated for a good two weeks. 
Then I started getting butterflies every time I played out what I would ask in my head. Did I want to ask for business advice since I myself am a budding lifestyle entrepreneur? Did I want to ask about some of my greatest gardening challenges (I can grow climbing roses but have no luck with regular rose bushes), or did I just want to ask "What's it really like to be you, Martha?"

In the end, I looked at a women who was dressed for a stroll through the garden and who spoke so plainly and easily with anyone who wanted to engage in conversation and I realized that I already knew everything. Martha has guided me as a women, mother, chef, gardener, party planner, crafter, holiday go-er overboard-er, and as a business person. I've known her my whole life. But she didn't know me. So in the end when I had a brief moment to catch Martha's attention, I said "Hello, Martha. My name is Rox-Anne. It's nice to meet you." I shook her hand, she smiled and said "Nice to meet you." and we parted. For 27 years, give or take, I have been in a one sided friendship with Martha. That all changed because for one brief moment in time, she heard my name and saw my face. And while introducing yourself might seem like a simple thing to say, for me it was perfect. 

But I didn't stop there. Oh no. I had to get a photo. The same goes for the new friends I made while waiting for the tour to begin. Along with my mom, we formed a group of four that was determined to get the coveted photo with Martha. We asked for a photo, Martha stopped for a few moments and then we all went on our way. We didn't get the opportunity for my mom, the photographer for everyone, to get her own photo but considering that my mom and Martha had a good amount of face time (my mom was beside Martha for the entire talk in the kitchen) I think that makes up for it. 

I could talk all day about what it was like to be in the presence of such an incredible self-made billionaire who revolutionized the way we think of life and home (it was amazing and she is just so down to earth and kind) but I'll leave that for another time. 

Martha Stewart

Now, onto the tour of the fabulous Turkey Hill! 

Westport

Standing outside the gates at Martha's former home. The property is actually two lots, 48 & 50 Turkey Hill Road. The house sits at 48 and we were ushered to the driveway of 50 to begin our tour. The home was originally built in 1805 and was the home of an onion seller. Martha told us, and the current owners, that when she and her husband bought the home they paid $26,000. She later sold it for $6.7M and said "It was my best investment, besides Google stock." 

Westport

Starting the tour at lot 50 was a last minute change by the organizers, and a good one (or a good thing 😉 ), this way we were able to walk up to the house by strolling passed all the gardens made famous through the Martha Stewart Living television show and magazines. 

Martha Stewart

It also gave us the opportunity to make a few friends who kindly helped take photos! Here's my mom and I waiting for the tour to begin (photo credit to Julio!) 

Chow chow

After meeting Martha's prize winning Chow Chow, Genghis Khan or GK, (and spending a few moments petting this sweet little guy) we followed the sounds of a little commotion to see Martha walking down with her new Chow puppy, Empress Chin who is the daughter of another Chow of her's, Peluche and granddaughter of GK.

Westport

We started with a private tour of the main floor of Turkey Hill with Martha and the current owners. So many memories in each of these rooms for Martha and for everyone in attendance! I will always remember the December 2001 issue of Martha Stewart Living with pictures taken in the very rooms we were walking through! The golden touches and warm wall colours of Turkey Hill directly influenced my decorating style. 

Martha Stewart

The decor and style has changed since Martha owned the home but it is still a beautiful home with character around every corner. I love the dining room where the current owners have painted the wall and the fireplace the same warm earthy colour. You can see a beautiful chandelier in the reflection of this antique mirror.

Turkey Hill

Meeting Martha was huge, being in Turkey Hill was incredible and I was equally excited to see the floors! I always remember Martha talking about waxing the wide board pumpkin pine floors and even as a little girl vowed to have these in my home one day.  


It was a clever touch to have blown up photos from the covers of Martha's books throughout the home. Here is the giant kitchen fireplace with built in dutch over, where Martha posed for the cover of one of her pies cookbooks. 

Martha Stewart

Practicing for my cookbook cover (one day!) in front of the wall of glass door built in shelves. Martha said she built this as a place to store her vast collection of serving dishes and silver. The new owners loved it so much they left it when they renovated the kitchen! 

Martha home tour

The summer porch that Martha enclosed using glass windows that a neighbour happily gave away. Part of Martha's charm is her ability to make something beautiful out of nothing! 

Martha

This is the new addition that the current owners made to Turkey Hill. This large family room connects the original home and the carriage house, that Martha and her then husband built. Martha stood in this room and said it was something she has always wanted to do but was not able to get to. Center, in the denim and chambray is Judy Morris, Martha's longtime producer and for those who watched the old show, Martha Stewart Living, a frequent guest! I recognized her instantly!

Martha

There were three levels of tickets to purchase for the Turkey Hill Garden Tour. There was Peony level (which we purchased) that included a tour of the home, a signed copy of one of Martha's books, and a afternoon reception with lemonade and finger foods. During this time Martha mingled and even gave another impromptu talk, and I stood beside her the whole time! The next level of ticketing allowed you to come onto the property for Martha's garden talk and the last level was access to the property to take a self guided tour of the gardens. 

Martha

It was time for Martha to give a talk about the gardens and take questions from the crowd. I asked Martha if she still recommends adding epsom salts to roses, and she said yes. She then went onto explain why this works and during her talk advocated for using natural ingredients, instead of products like miracle grow. She said her farm in Bedford is all organic and that the secret to her growing success is triple phosphate, she did caution to use it according to the package directions. 

She also talked about her new cooking show with Snoop Dogg and said that this format keeps her relevant, although she did reveal that at times she has no clue what these rappers are talking about! 

Since my life is usually spent obsessing about clothing, everyone was asking my opinion on Martha's outfit. I actually loved the dress, someone said they think it was from Anthropologie, raw hem denim is all the rage now and I just love it, on dresses and not jean pants. On jeans it looks sloppy but on a dress it looks casual. I would have maybe accessorized with a belt or a long necklace. And let's talk about Martha's giant single pearl necklace. I love pearls and luckily own quite a few so I'm going out on a limb here and saying that her necklace was not cheap. I'm not a fan of the platform sandals but since I'm not particularly a shoe person, don't take my opinion. I thought she looked very casual and dressed for walking in the garden. The program did stress to dress for comfort and no high heels. 

Now, let's take a tour of the gardens! 

roses

foxglove

allium

Turkey Hill

I have grown alliums at home since the day we bought our first house. I forever associate these purple star burst blooms with Martha. 

roses

The rose garden was just incredible. All the climbing roses were in bloom and I marked down in the Notes app on my phone a few plants to add to my own home, such as foxglove (they are everywhere at Turkey Hill!), poppies and aruncus. 

boxwood

pool

turkey hill

Walking passed this garden ornament, Martha remarked that she loved the idea of placing it here, it is in the centre of an alley. She originally had a cast iron urn filled with flowers, which is exactly what I was thinking I would place here.

turkey hill

The stone wall, like many structures on the property, was done by Martha herself! 

peonies

Peonies everywhere!

beech tree

Just off the main driveway is this giant beech tree, which Martha bought for $700 (which was a lot for her at the time) for her husband's 40th birthday. 

Celebrating This Life

Me in front of Turkey Hill wondering how long it will take for my boxwoods to get over 6 feet tall! 

Turkey Hill

I am completely enamoured by historic homes (Federal and Colonial is my favourite architecture period!) as are many people. One of my pet peeves is when people restore an old home and remove all the paint from trim work, instead of just painting over it. I'm happy to say that is not the case on Turkey Hill! You can see over 200 years of caked on paint on the trim work of the home. When I was adding chair rail to my home, which is only 10 years old, I added gobs of paint to try and mimic the look of it having been there for many more years. 

turkey hill

The carriage house that Martha added. The new owners connected this to the main house and use the upstairs as a tv room. 

 
Turkey Hill

While the new owners do not have chickens, they do intend to leave the chicken coops on the property. 

Martha Stewart

One of the garden sheds on the property. 

Martha Stewart

The back barn may look familiar, many of the Christmas episodes and magazines were filmed/photographed here! 

Turkey Hill

And one lucky girl (that would be me) got to go inside! This was not part of the tour but I happened to know someone, who knew someone and I was able to peek inside for a few minutes. 

Martha Stewart

Remember last week's post when I mentioned I was being interviewed about visiting Turkey Hill? So were three others who luckily I was able to meet up with! Here is Dennis, Nathan, me and Joey, the biggest Martha fans out there! We chatted about the property and of course, about Martha!
 
Martha Stewart

We all travelled from great distances for the chance to meet Martha and tour Turkey Hill. We just had to get a photo on the front porch! A total dream come true for all of us! I always remember the Halloween Martha Stewart Living episodes where Martha would hand out treats to trick-or-treaters on this porch. To have been a kid in Westport in the 90's. Talk about a dream scenario! 

There you have it, my big trip to meet Martha Stewart at Turkey Hill. I almost can't believe that it happened and that I actually met and spoke with Martha! And as an architecture lover, now my focus has shifted into finding out how I can tour her home Skylands in Maine (once owned by Edsel Ford!), the East Hampton home Lily Pond Lane, and her Bedford Farm, Cantitoe Corners. I'm sure she'll send me an invite soon since we're practically bffs now! 

I hope you've enjoyed this tour and if you have any questions about the home, gardens or Martha, leave them in the comments below!  

  1. I'm so glad you got to go! It looks like you had so much fun!

    xx Jennifer
    Effortlessly Sophisticated

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for sharing so many great photos! Glad you had such a wonderful time, I think it would be amazing to be able to visit Turkey Hill!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks like you had a great visit! What a fun experience you got to share with you mom!

    ReplyDelete
  4. You did such a wonderful job capturing such a beautiful day!! On to Bedford!

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an amazing trip! I'm sure you are still pinching yourself. Looks lovely (as expected) and how wonderful to have (what looks like) perfect weather!
    ~Morgan (mypeartreehome.com)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh my gosh! How amazing! #Lifegoals indeed!
    xx
    Neelam

    ReplyDelete