Hot House: Bacon Hall Farm, 16300 Cedar Grove Road, Sparks Glencoe, MD 21152
Historic Georgian-style stone manor, circa 1779, with shingle roof. In fair condition, partially renovated. Four bedrooms, four full baths over two stories and 4,000 sq. ft. Living room and dining rooms with large stone fireplaces and double-height ceiling. Library, kitchen, one bedroom on the main floor. Further upstairs bedrooms. Several outbuildings, including bank barn and carriage house. Approx. 237 acres of fenced pasture land with pond, stream. Large working equestrian facility, Featherdown, with indoor riding arena and stables: $2,889,000 (price reduced)
What: Bacon Hall is a survivor. Built in 1789 by Nicholas Merryman, Sr. — aka “white-headed Nickey,” the first Baltimore County commissioner, who is buried on the farm — it was never a grand home. Its plain Georgian facade is just one room deep with two small wings on either side. But it was set among nearly 1,000 acres of rolling Maryland hills, and the Merrymans prospered here until around the time of the Civil War. Land records say the farm “was in sad decline,” overshadowed by the more beautiful and prosperous Merryman farm at Hayfields, which is now a country club.
Bacon Hall was owned by many generations of the Merryman clan, none of whom spent much money on it. A nearby neighbor doubts “they ever put a toilet in the place.” Possibly, they were out hunting. Bacon Hall has long been a fixture on the Maryland fox hunting circuit. Its 237 acres are in a preservation trust (land protected from development) that anchors a large parcel of stunning and protected farmland in the area. Most notably, it comes with a large equestrian facility called Featherdown Farm, which is currently leased from the estate.
While it is not exactly Grey Gardens, the photos of Bacon Hall make it appear to be in better shape than it actually is. The last renovation (a back build-out that opened up the center of the house) is dated, the roof of the nearby carriage house is caved in and there is a lot of work to do. On the upside, the land is gorgeous and the house is memorably atmospheric, with a “visceral aesthetic,” to quote the listing. It would be a fun project.
Where: Take I-83 north to exit 24, Belfast Road. The farm is located a couple miles from the exit. Neighbors include Peter Angelos, whose Ross Valley Farm is among the most beautiful horse farms in Maryland. It’s about a half-hour from downtown Baltimore, depending on traffic. The Hunt Valley Towne Centre is about 10 minutes away. Your closest restaurant would be the Manor Tavern.
Would Suit: Foxhunters, equestrians, history buffs in love with a rural lifestyle.
Why: Chance to make Bacon Hall great again.
Why Not: Chance of meeting the ghost of “white-headed Nickey.”
N.B.: Bacon Hall was once named Pork Hall.