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Click the above link to learn more about our First Annual Chinsegut Hill Celebration, Fri & Sat, Nov 15 & 16 of 2013.

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Special thanks to Sonny Vergara for this video.

Big Smashing Success!  Thank you All !

The First Chinsegut Hill Celebration Nov. 15–16 was a huge success for the Friends of Chinsegut Hill’s efforts to restore and re-open historic Chinsegut Hill.  The 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.

“Despite light rain, 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.

Honorary event chairman Sonny Vergara opened the program with a thank you to the sponsors, committee members and those present. He thanked everyone for supporting the matching grant challenge for Friends’ fundraising goals.  Gary Mormino, former professor of Florida Studies at the University of South Florida, provided an informed and entertaining look at the history of Chinsegut Hill and its past residents.   Tammy Heon, Hernando Tourism Development Coordinator, spoke of the historic value of Chinsegut’s history to the future prosperity of this area.    President of Friends of Chinsegut Hill Jan Knowles noted her appreciation to all involved and the Friends’ commitment to the future of Chinsegut Hill. Executive Director Christie Anderberg recounted efforts taken by Hernando County to secure the lease with the state and the subsequent management agreement between Hernando County and Friends of Chinsegut Hill that enables Friends of Chinsegut Hill to mount efforts to restore and open the property to the public today.

“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.   The art show awards were:  Best of show went to Debra Mixon Holiday for her graphics.  lst place–Fine Art was Tony Moore for his pencil art.  2nd. place–Fine Art was Peter Gerbert for original wild life prints and 3rd. place–Fine Arts was Myrna Bradshaw for her original Wild Life  photo on canvas.  In the Fine Craft 1st place went to Craig Quirolo for wood turning and 2nd place–Fine Craft to Alexis Ellis for pottery.  3rd. place–Fine Craft went to Gloriela Hendrickson for art on feathers.

Thanks to the support of 36 local businesses that sponsored event expenses, every dollar raised during the Celebration will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Felburn Foundation and dedicated to upgrades and operation expenses for the property.   The funds will help Friends of Chinsegut Hill to open it as soon as January for special events and weddings.  The Manor House restoration will take at least a year.


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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. 15 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. 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 or call (352) 799-5400.


Featured Auction Items


Featured Auction Item for Friday’s Chinsegut Hill Celebration Reception & Silent Auction 6–9 pm

1.  Beehive Wood Stool handcrafted by John Morton.  17 1/2 ” long by 12″ wide by 15″ high

Rustic Cedar Bench handcrafted by John Morton  20" long X 12" wide X  18" high

2.  Rustic Cedar Bench handcrafted by John Morton  20″ long X 12″ wide X  18″ high.

Beehive Wood Stool handcrafted by John Morton.  17 1/2 " long by 12" wide by 15" high



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 – provides for auction these items in support of the preservation of Chinsegut Manor. The stated value of these auctionable items is $150.


Chinsegut Hill photograph by Myrna Bradshaw

Myrna lives in Bushell and is a board member of Friends of Chinsegut Hill.

To see more of Myrna’s photographs Click here.

First Chinsegut Hill Celebration

Friday-Saturday Nov. 15-16, 2013


The restoration of Chinsegut Hill Manor is underway 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.

Even as the restoration is underway, visitors will have opportunities to visit the historic site and support its operation as an historic property. Mark your calendar now to attend the Friends of Chinsegut’s First Chinsegut Hill Celebration on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. This free community event will feature arts and crafts, educational activities, student art,  music by the Hernando Youth Orchestra Quartets, and food and beverages compliments of Hernando High School’s Culinary Institute.

A members-only reception will be held Friday, Nov. 15 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 First Chinsegut Hill Celebration will give everyone a peek at our progress and an opportunity to be involved in making it a success. We are seeking sponsors for the event and artists to participate.”

For more information, please email, or call (352) 799-5400 or check us out on Facebook at  Or online at  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 Bartolin 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.