Virginia Dare’s Birthday
In honor of the 431st birthday of the first English child born in the new world on August 18 1587, regular admission to The Elizabethan Gardens is reduced. Special celebratory general admission: $4.30 + NC admissions tax. For more information, call 252-473-3234.
For years, Eastern North Carolina residents have celebrated Virginia Dare’s birthday on August 18 with special reverence, especially in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island. In 1892, Sallie Southall Cotton of Pitt County initiated efforts to recognize the historical icon by forming the Virginia Dare Memorial Association to pay homage to the first child of English Parentage born in America. Today, The Elizabethan Gardens located in Manteo, continues to revere Virginia Dare with special activities in her honor.
Cotton’s turn of the century efforts to promote and expand recognition of Virginia Dare, the maiden of mystery, caught the attention of a Salem MA sculptor Louise Lander, who was likewise moved by the American-born colonist. In 1859 Lander’s passion was expressed in a white Carrara marble statue, carved while residence in Rome.
The remarkable sculpture’s fascinating and tumultuous trek to The Gardens involves drowning, burning, abandonment, and relocation east and west that are documented and part of The Gardens’ mobile audio tour. “Lander’s Dare now rests peacefully in The Elizabethan Gardens with thanks to Paul Green, playwright of The Lost Colony who was instrumental in starting The Gardens and donated the statue. It was his wish that the statue be placed here,” explained Carl Curnutte executive director of The Elizabethan Gardens. “And each year we spruce her up with new plantings so she will look her best for her special day.” He added, “Our Virginia Dare took quite a voyage to get here; we like to encourage folks to visit her on this special day and pay her homage.”
And to promote guests to visit her and The Elizabethan Gardens on August 18, admission for this day will be $4.30 for adults. Children and youth will be free.
In addition to visiting the beautiful gardens, fountains and statues, there are several Virginia
Event day schedule TBD. For more information on the day’s activities, call The Gardens 252-473-3234 or visit elizabethangardens.org.
Photo Remarks: Pictured here is the statue of Virginia Dare found in The Elizabethan Gardens. This maiden of mystery was crafted by American sculpture Louisa Lander of Salem, MA. The statue’s history and how it came to be in The Gardens is as fascinating as the subject Lander depicted. Lander’s Virginia Dare is realized as a full-grown woman, but instead of 16th Century English garb, she is clothed in native-inspired attire.