We had such great feedback and fun at last years even, that we are now planning for another great Celebration! And boy do we have lots to celebrate this year! Here’s a brief recap of last year:

The First Chinsegut Hill Celebration Nov. 15–16 was a huge success.  The historic landmark property features a two-story manor house that is under restoration, seven cottages, a dining hall, classroom and 114 acres of natural habitat that have been used as a conference center and for special events as well as  an eco-tourist destination.

“More than 300 hundred people ventured out to support Chinsegut Hill at the reception on Friday evening.   Many new members joined and we exceeded our fundraising goal for the event,” said President Jan Knowles.  Professors, city and county elected officials and Friends of Chinsegut Hill board members mingled with business sponsors, new members, artists, nature lovers and history buffs.  They bid on more than 65 auction items, enjoyed music by Bob Webb and food donated by six restaurants as well as additional appetizers prepared by Hernando High School culinary students.

“On Saturday, about 800 visitors showed up to support the effort and enjoy the art, music and community organizations present. This weekend we increased our membership significantly,” noted Knowles.  Despite the threat of rain, artists and vendors, musicians and conservation organizations all set up and hosted visitors to the historic property.  Thanks to the support of 36 local businesses that sponsored event expenses, every dollar raised during the Celebration was matched dollar-for-dollar by the Felburn Foundation and dedicated to upgrades and operational expenses for the property.”

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GALLERY PHOTO FOR ONLINE VIEWING: Chinsegut Hill Celebration Photos Gallery Page [standard gallery format]

PRESS PHOTOS DOWNLOAD: Press Quality high resolution zip file [very large files, slow download zip file compression archive].


First Chinsegut Hill Celebration is drawing broad community support

Community support is building for the Friends of Chinsegut Hill’s efforts to restore and reopen historic Chinsegut Hill Manor and grounds to the public. Regional businesses and organizations are rallying to support the first major fund-raising event on Nov. 15-16. Among the major sponsors of the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration are the Tampa Bay Times, Republic Services, Center State Bank, Coastal Engineering and the Hernando County Tourism Office. Those organizations are at the front of a grass-roots contingent of individuals who share the vision of returning this 154-year-old landmark to its splendor, making it a resource in our community and a destination for visitors from all over Florida.

Honorary Chair of the celebration is Emilio “Sonny” Vergara, longtime Hernando County resident, former Executive Director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District and a founding member of Friends of Weeki Wachee. Vegara also is a prolific writer about Florida’s natural resources, a professional photographer specializing in wildlife and member of the Spring Hill Art League. “I’m happy to see there are so many folks who value Chinsegut Hill as I do, and are willing to get involved in reopening this important historical and cultural landmark,” he said. “I believe we’re going to have a great crowd at the Celebration.”

The First Chinsegut Hill Celebration begins Friday, Nov. 14 from 6-9 p.m. with a reception and silent auction under the stars at Chinsegut Hill. Attendees will experience a taste of restaurants such as Pearl in the Grove and Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant, and appetizers prepared by student chefs from Hernando High School. Guitarist Bob Webb will perform. Among the special guests will be Gary Mormino, retired professor of Florida History at the University of South Florida. Also, friends of Chinsegut Hill’s Executive Director Christie Anderberg and President Jan Knowles will elaborate on plans for Chinsegut Hill.   Auction items, which are still being collected, include adventures such as an airboat fishing trip for two, a two-day stay at the Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada, artwork such as “No Boundaries” a framed limited edition giclee painting by Leslie Neumann, “Tri-colored Heron, 2012.04.05 (416)” a limited edition giclee photograph by Sonny Vergara of Skyshadow Photography, Myrna Bradshaw’s print of Chinsegut Manor, and a spalted Brooksville-pecan wooden bowl by Craig Quirolo. Other items include a personally autographed book “Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams” by Gary Mormino, a floral arrangement from Westover’s Flowers & Gifts; a spa facial, manicure and pedicure from White Daisy Salon & Spa, a $50 dinner certificate from Papa Joe’s Restaurant, and a book/CD combo from author and storyteller Jerry Cowling. The reception is free to members of Friends of Chinsegut and nonmembers may join at the door for $20.

The celebration continues Saturday, Nov. 15 & Sunday Nov. 16 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with a juried arts and crafts show featuring artists such as the Highwaymen, Myrna Bradshaw, Peter Gerbert and Tony Moore. Families can participate in pioneer games and a commemorative photo shoot with period costumes and a horse-drawn carriage. Jerry Cowling will entertain with story-telling. Hernando High School students will prepare and sell healthy local food and beverages.  Local musicians will perform. A student art tent will feature local art and community organizations will provide information about the environment, plants and local history of Chinsegut.  Celebration activities are possible in part through the generous support of  Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, House of Passage, Beef O’ Brady’s, Kohl’s, Coffee Barn, Georgie’s Flooring Outlet, Monster Transmission, Great Stuff Resale and Old Brooksville in Photos and Stories.  Visit www.chinseguthillcelebration.org or call (352) 799-5400.


Featured Auction Items


We are now accepting donations of Auction Items for Friday’s Chinsegut Hill Celebration Reception & Silent Auction 6–9 pm To see your item highlighted here please download the donation form. Thank you for your support!


Sonny Vergara, Skyshadow Photography

Tri Color Heron by Sonny Vergara

“Giclees can be printed on any number of media, from canvas to watercolor paper…. superior to traditional lithography in nearly every way. The colors are brighter, last longer, and are so high-resolution that they are virtually ‘continuous tone’, rather than tiny dots. The range, or “gamut” of color for giclees is far beyond that of lithography, and details are crisper.” ~Nova Space Art

Tri-colored Heron, 2012.04.05 (416) – Current Bid: $175

A limited edition giclee by Sonny Vergara. Professionally printed in Crystal River using museum quality archival pigmented inks and canvas which is acid-free cotton/polyester. Click here to view the Giclee in fine detail.

Gallery wrapped.


Hand Etched Chinsegut Wine Bottle & Wooden Stopper

by Craig Quirolo of Studio Q.

Filled with Lindeman’s Australian Shiraz Wine valued at $150.

Hand-turned Spalted Brooksville Pecan Bowl

Hand-turned Spalted Brooksville Pecan Bowl by Craig Quirolo/Studio Q. Current Bid $150.

chinseut bottle bird chinsegut bottle name chinsegut bottle stopper
Craig Quirolo, Presidential Point of Light Award recipient and Co-Founder of ReefRelief.org – provides for auction these items in support of the preservation of Chinsegut Manor. The stated value of these auctionable items is $150.


First Chinsegut Hill Celebration

Friday-Saturday Nov. 15-16, 2014


The restoration of Chinsegut Hill Manor is near completion by the nonprofit organization Friends of Chinsegut Hill.  It won’t be long before the historic manor house and grounds are available for use for weddings and group stays, including use of the cabins and meeting rooms and for the public to tour the historic manor house and adjacent natural areas. By November’s Celebration event, the renovations will be complete.

Mark your calendar now to attend the Second Annual Friends of Chinsegut’s Chinsegut Hill Celebration on Saturday and Sunday Nov. 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This free community event will feature arts and crafts, educational activities, food and live music and other entertainment.

A members-only reception will be held Friday, Nov. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. and non-members can join at the door for $20. The reception will feature a silent auction to benefit Chinsegut Hill, music and refreshments and an update on current and future goals and plans by Friends of Chinsegut.

“We’re looking forward to opening the manor house and grounds after the restoration is completed,” said Friends of Chinsegut Hill President Jan Knowles.  “The Chinsegut Hill Celebration will give everyone a look at the massive accomplishments we’ve made over the past year, thanks in part to many sponsors and members over the past year. We are seeking sponsors for the event and artists to participate.”

For more information, please email friendsofchinseguthill@gmail.com, or call (352) 799-5400 or check us out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfChinsegutHillInc.  Or online at www.friendsofchinseguthill.org.  Chinsegut Hill Manor is located at 22495 Chinsegut Hill Road, Brooksville, FL 34601.

October 23, Silverthorne Country Club, Hernando Florida. Chinsegut Hill Celebration.

Tammy Heon of the Hernando Tourism Bureau, Jeff Webb of Jeff Webb Communications and DeeVon Quirolo, Co-chair of the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration(Left to Right)   Tammy Heon of the Hernando Tourism Bureau, Jeff Webb of Jeff Webb Communications and DeeVon Quirolo, co-chair of the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration, made a presentation at the monthly membership breakfast meeting of the Greater Hernando Chamber of Commerce at Silverthorne Country Club on Oct. 23. Quirolo updated more than 140 who attended about the latest news on the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration Nov. 15-16. “The tremendous community interest and support for restoring this historic landmark is phenomenal, and we anticipate a huge turnout at the celebration,” said Quirolo.


Chinsegut Hill Celebration Committee Meeting

Attending the September meeting were (Left to Right), Front Row: Rosemarie Grubba, Celsa Terry, Jan Knowles, Sherry Pedonesi, Collette Bortolin and DeeVon Quirolo. Back Row, From Left: Gary Sechen, Jude Simpson, Denzil Sasherland, Debbie Charlow, Beverly Lewis and Wynn Miller.

Friends of Chinsegut Hill volunteers met recently to continue plans for the First Chinsegut Hill Celebration on Nov. 15-16. The “FUN-raising” celebration seeks to raise funds to help restore the Hernando County landmark, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans for the event will feature a reception and silent auction on Nov. 15, and a free community event with an arts and crafts show Nov. 16 that will include family activities, music and food.