Sunday, December 3rd I joined my family for the Winchester Holiday Tour of Homes – there were four homes on the tour and it took about two hours; give or take a few minutes, to tour all four homes. I took far too many pictures – but there is a romance to older homes that just lends itself to lots of picture taking…and when you add in the whimsy and wonder of the Christmas season, well – that just means I take even more pictures!
The first house was lovely – but it was a bit discombobulated. It would seem they weren’t quite sure how to corral the flow of foot traffic and hadn’t quite been prepared for so many guests at once. The interior of the house was cozy and decorated beautifully with trees that hearkened to an earlier time – strung with berries and handmade ornaments. The back yard featured an oddly placed, steep drop off the back of the land – soil from the back yard was removed long ago by General Washington and his troops to help build a fort…
The house was lovely and I was especially intrigued by the size of the house; I would have been right at home in the old fashioned little home – although; the more I think about it, the house was likely haunted. I tend to think any house built after…oh, I don’t know…the 1980’s is likely to be haunted, ha-ha!
We made our way to the second house on the tour, rounding some corners and marking off some city blocks before arriving to tour a wee yellow house! This home was even smaller than the first – and I absolutely loved it!
The home was originally all one story with a small loft – but had been added onto and the second story extended. The home was still small, with an eat in kitchen that had been added to the back…extending out into the backyard, where a tree stood decorated in the center of the courtyard. The couple that owned the home split their time between this house and a larger one in Pennsylvania – but this home had such charm and personality, all put into a small space.
I could have moved right in. Granted – it seemed like it might have been located in a less than safe part of town and once more…given that it was built in the 1800’s; I feel like no one in that house is truly ever “alone”. Eek! Gorgeous all the same though!
The third house was much larger – and also much older – which most certainly means that it was likely insanely haunted, right? I’m kidding…sort of. The house had stairs that took you straight up and into the front entry where the “chandelier” was made from something very unique indeed…
The chandelier is made from a re-purposed mortician’s gravity jar – originally used to remove fluid from a corpse during the embalming process. Isn’t that just what you want to use to create your very own stunning entry way lighting? Because according to the guide, they are still being re-purposed for that very use today. So much nope. The house was originally the home of a doctor…and his five sons also became doctors…and on a more horrifying note; the family owned slaves and recent work on the house had discovered rings embedded in the basement walls – to chain the slaves, who were kept in the basement. *sigh*
The house was absolutely gorgeous – the staircase had greenery woven along it’s length and the fireplace in the living area was adorned with five wreaths. The home had a lovely, smoky smell and gentle heat emanated from the fireplace to warm the rooms. The living area even had a coffee table crafted from a blacksmith’s bellows – which I thought was crazy unique. How can I go about getting one of my own?
The dining room was gorgeous – another beautiful fireplace that was perfectly decorated for the season. I loved the blues and greens that filled the room and I couldn’t resist taking a picture in front of all the gorgeous decorations – one of the perks of hanging back during a tour, ha-ha! Of course, once I’d taken a selfie…my Dad couldn’t help but jump into the next picture… He is such a cheese ball…
The final house was practically a castle in comparison to the three that came before… it was an original “Baker” house; although I’m not certain what that means. It was built with limestone quarried from nearby Strasburg and certainly cast a rather impressive figure standing on the corner of the street.
The detailing inside the home was something else altogether – each fireplace had a unique design, the wallpaper was all original artwork…done by an artist I sadly cannot remember…and there were even tapestries adorning the walls. The home had artwork that included a descendant’s summons to serve in the Union Army and another letter commending his service – signed by none other than Abraham Lincoln. The very hinges of the doors were detailed and ornate – suffice it to say; this house was something else!
And yes – I did hang back long enough to take a picture of one of the door hinges! You would have to if you’d seen how ornate they were!
The Tour of Homes was so fascinating and I’m so glad I was able to tag along and take in these four historical houses all dressed in their holiday best. I enjoyed it so much, I’m going to do another Tour of Homes this Saturday, ha-ha!