The 68-acre waterfront property transports visitors to a halcyon bygone era
Along the Chesapeake Bay on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, rests a 19th century estate so far removed and well preserved one might think they’ve traveled back in time. Known as Clifton, the 68-acre estate at 28154 Revells Neck Road has roots as far back as 1666, with construction of the property’s main home traced to the early 1800s.
The seven-bedroom brick home includes eight fireplaces, a billiards/pool room, a dining room seating 20 people, a walk-in wine cellar, swimming pool and approximately one quarter mile of river frontage with a private beach. With panoramic views that extend for miles over the Manokin River, the secluded estate is filled with deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife. The property includes two rental homes, one in which the current estate manager resides, as well as two large barns and other outbuildings. Listed by Long & Foster’s Brandon Brittingham, Clifton is being offered furnished for $2.2 million.
Located on land originally granted to Randall Revell in 1666, the historic plantation home changed hands numerous times until it was purchased by Mary Wooten Carpenter in 1938. Carpenter, whose husband Walter S. Carpenter was the first president of the DuPont company who was not a member of the DuPont family, added two wings to the three-story house, and incorporated Georgian details including the original grand Palladian window on the second story, and the fanlight transom window over the front door. Today, several of the home’s original glass panes remain.
The floor plan of the structure was retained, preserving the elegance of its vast front hall and the river views from the two large main rooms. In the living and dining rooms, what first appears to be a window becomes a jib door that leads to a two-level, screened-in porch overlooking the river. Similar windows can be found at Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello.
The home has two adjacent kitchens where, except for the appliances, everything is much as it was in the late 1930s when the Carpenters renovated the home. Prior to that, it’s believed the kitchen was located in the basement, where there is a large walk-in refrigerator and freezer from the late 1930s currently in use as a wine cellar. One of the kitchens was used for cooking and storing food, while the second was used just for cleaning and storing dishes and glassware. A bell ringer, once used to call servants, and a large wood stove are still operational.
Because Walter S. Carpenter was so busy running the DuPont Company during the years the home was remodeled, his only input for architect Samuel Mullins was to install fireplaces with excellent draws. In the 20-seat dining room, Mullins constructed a paneled wall, fireplace and sunburst cupboard, based on the Almodington Room at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Coincidentally, the home where the museum’s Almodington Room came from rests directly across the Manokin River from the Clifton estate.
Improvements of the Clifton estate took place outside, too. Much of the land was used for farming until the Carpenters took ownership. They transformed the property around the home into gardens that remain there to this day. They planted full-grown magnolia trees and boxwood, some of which traveled by boat from Richmond, and one year they planted 1,000 roses. Donkeys were used to dig out dirt to install one of the first swimming pools in Somerset County. The two rental houses, two barns and other outbuildings were added in the 1940s.
In 1979, Kathryn Washburn, who served as the director of international affairs for the U.S. Department of the Interior, and her husband purchased Clifton from the Carpenters’ granddaughter. Since the Carpenters’ extensive work on the property, it has been carefully and lovingly maintained, as well as updated with modern air conditioning and heating. Visitors can still swim in the original pool, enjoy a dinner with spectacular sunset views over the Manokin River, and watch the stars come out on the expansive porch, while being serenaded by nature.