I grew up down Ritchie Highway from Glen Burnie. Known mostly for its shopping centers, comfortable neighborhoods — and my high school, it isn’t a place one would call grand. It’s friendly, convenient, yes. Nothing to make it grand.
So when I heard the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley had a house called Glen Burnie, I had to go. The house was built by the son of James Wood who founded the town of Winchester, Virginia. It sits on land that Wood settled in 1735. The name harkens back to the family’s Scottish ancestors and means a little stream in a secluded valley. That pretty well describes the property around this house.
The house has grown over the years and the most recent owners, Julian Wood Glass Jr. and his partner R. Lee Taylor, transformed it into an elegant country estate surrounded by some gorgeous gardens.
Inside there are only a few rooms to see, including the house model that takes over the dining room and a wood-paneled and book-lined library. The drawing room is filled with the work of a local living artist—a nice feature.
The gardens are worthy of your time. Even though we went late in summer when the flowers are near the end of their brilliance, the carefully designed flower beds are a sight to see. If you go, don’t miss the Japanese pagoda and the trickling burnie (!) beside it. We almost skipped it; we wrongly judged from he map that it was far away. Glad we didn’t.
What I didn’t expect to visit was the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. I was entranced by the miniature houses on the second floor. Since we were there because of our fascination with historical architecture, that’s what we focused on.
Never thought I would say this — but you’ve got to see Glen Burnie. The one in Winchester, Virginia, I mean.
Ⓒ Text and photos by Mary K. Tilghman