Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch leader receives book dedicated in her honor

Jan. 9—Beth Newburn doesn't like being in the limelight.

"The glare hurts my eyes," she said Sunday.

But as the center of attention, Newburn was gracious, articulate and composed when she accepted a copy of the new book dedicated to her during an event at the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum.

Anna Dangerfield and Lil Brannon, coauthors of "Hopelands Gardens and Rye Patch: The Friends' Story," made the presentation.

Last October, when the Friends of Hopelands and Rye Patch unveiled the book's cover during a ceremony in Hopelands, the nonprofit organization announced that Newburn was going to be recognized for her contributions.

"I am so humbled by this dedication ... there is nothing that I can appreciate any more," said Newburn on Sunday. "I have a great interest in Aiken history and a passion for these two properties that were gifted to the City of Aiken. How many towns have two contiguous properties that are given to the community?"

When Newburn first learned about the honor several months ago, "my heart was pounding, my knees were knocking and I really thought I was going to pass out," she recalled. "It was such a shock."

Newburn is a Friends trustee and a past president of the group. She has been involved for 30 years or so in the preservation of Hopelands and Rye Patch.

In a news release issued by the Friends, Brannon described Newburn as "perhaps" the organization's "most engaged and dedicated trustee."

Dangerfield said Sunday that Newburn was a "connector," who has pulled together her many friends and acquaintances to move forward projects that have benefited Hopelands and Rye Patch.

Newburn's efforts include an important role in establishing an endowment for the Friends. She also has been instrumental in keeping a record of what the organization has done to improve and maintain Hopelands and Rye Patch, which both are former Winter Colony estates.

"They're like two pieces of a puzzle, a perfect fit," Newburn said. "They're not typical city parks, in my book. They're historic."

"Hopelands Gardens and Rye Patch: The Friends' Story" can be purchased at the City of Aiken Visitors Center and Train Museum, Aiken Antiques & Uniques, Cold Creek Nurseries, Folly, 3 Monkeys, Nandina, York Cottage Antiques, Security Federal Bank at 1705 Whiskey Road and the Aiken County Visitors Center.

Proceeds from the book, which costs $40 per copy, will be used for the maintenance of Hopelands Gardens and Rye Patch.

For more information about the Friends, visit, call 803-642-7650 or send an email to

Hopelands Gardens, where the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum is located, is at 135 Dupree Place. Rye Patch is at 100 Berrie Road.