I AM ABSOLUTELY crazy about decorating my home for the holidays. I have multiple trees around the house, decorations in every room – including the bathrooms, and then go to town on Christmas lights for the exterior. It’s not safe for me to walk into a Home Goods store this time of year. Nor is it safe to do as many holiday home tours as my schedule allows. I love peering into the homes of strangers who are equally giddy about holiday décor as I am. But you don’t need to be as committed to decorating to enjoy visiting holiday homes. Across North Georgia are a number of festive residents, opening their homes to visitors. Get inspired with a visit to these decked-out houses.
CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES AT THE GEORGIA CLUB
This season, the Georgia Club Foundation is hosting you for the holidays with its Christmas Tour of Homes. Five beautifully decorated homes within the Georgia Club will be open for viewing on December 11, 10 a.m. through 6 p.m.❦Avery Home. With its white-washed shaker shingles, this Colonial Georgian home has influences straight from New England. The home is decorated with original art and features a movie theatre and wine cellar.
❦Hull Home. Enter from the front brick porch into a custom-built modern farmhouse with heart pine floors. The home’s owner has decorated with her own original oil and watercolor paintings and its inviting back porch features an outdoor living room with wood-burning fireplace.
❦ Kearney Home. This modern Southern farmhouse’s interior is colorful and bright, filled with global art and textiles from the homeowners’ worldy travels.
❦ Leierzaph Home. This open floor plan home was custom-built to resemble a similar property at Reynolds Plantation at Lake Oconee. Clean lines and modern architecture are complemented with warm wood elements.
❦ Stevens Home. A combination of Craftsman meets Cape Cod architecture, this new home is a mix of traditional and contemporary.
The home tour includes a brunch at the Georgia Club Clubhouse and Holiday Market filled with artwork, handmade jewelry and crafts, and fresh-baked goods.
Timed tickets, available only online, are $50 before December 1 and then increase to $60. Registration, brunch and bus transportation begins at the Clubhouse, 10550 Chancellors Drive, Statham. Ages 13 and up. thegeorgiaclubfoundation.com
MARIETTA PILGRIMAGE CHRISTMAS HOMES TOUR
Five homes will be featured on this 36th annual home tour in Marietta, each located in the Whitlock Avenue Historic District. Presented by the Marietta Welcome Center and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society, the home tour is open December 3, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and December 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
While the five homes available on the tour were not revealed as of press time, ticket holders will be sure to enjoy what will be in store as the Pilgrimage features renovated historic homes adorned with stunning holiday decor. In addition to the home, several churches, museums and other public buildings in Marietta will be open to visit and witness additional holiday features.
The event kicks off with “Marietta’s Christmas Party” gala on December 2, 7 to 10 p.m. at Glover Park Brewery. Guests can enjoy food, beverages, live music and more. Gala tickets are $100 and home tour tickets are $25 if purchased in advance and $30 on the day of the tour (available at the Marietta Welcome Center or the William Root House). Purchase a Host Committee Ticket ($125) and receive a gala ticket, home tour ticket and VIP Pass to skip the lines at the home tours. mariettapilgrimage.com
HART COUNTY CHRISTMAS TOUR OF HOMES
The Hartwell Service League brings back its holiday homes tour on December 10 with six spectacularly decorated homes. Advance tickets are $20 at the Hart County Chamber of Commerce (706-376-8590), or day-of tickets are $25 at the Hartwell Art Center from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visit between 10:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
❦ Ankerich Home. Designed for a large family, this spectacular home was built by the owner on the water and features multiple rooms, pool, and pavilion with community dock. Owners use nature itself to accentuate a beautiful view of Lake Hartwell that includes a stunning sunrise view each morning.
❦ Combs Home. Located in the city limits, this 18-acre serene event venue and retreat features two houses, large in-ground pool, incredible gardens, and nature trails. The historic main house, built in 1950, has been beautifully restored and decorated for the holidays.
❦ McGee Home. Originally remodeled in 2002 and again in 2014, this gorgeous French Provincial home has been renovated to accentuate a breathtaking view of Lake Hartwell. The modern upgrades coupled with the timeless location is second to none.
❦ Van Dora Home. This Southern antebellum home has been restored with modern amenities while preserving the stately ambiance of a bygone era. This home is an example of “where the old meets new” on a grand scale.
❦ Williamson Home. Designed and built by former UGA Head Coach Mark and Katharyn Richt in 2007, this 6,900-square-foot home is built on a peninsula overlooking Lake Hartwell. In 2014, The Winshape Foundation in partnership with Fellowship of Christian Athletes acquired the site to provide marriage retreats to coaches and their spouses and offer sports team bonding activities. The murals are a must-see.
❦ Zemaitis Home. Enter the front door to a collector’s paradise that includes a massive Christmas tree decorated with memories, cherished nativity scenes, and lighted Christmas villages from all over the world. The well-traveled homeowners welcome you to their Christmas Wonderland.
MADISON HOLIDAY HOMES TOURS
Visit the living history of Madison and stroll through a selection of its cottages and historic homes, all dressed up for the holidays.
❦ The Stokes-McHenry House. Built in 1824, the FederalStyle in-town residence once hosted “Gone With the Wind” author Margaret Mitchell. Under seven generations of family, the well-preserved home continues to house significant family furniture dating back to its origins.
❦ The Mad House. Originally built circa 1910, the Mad House got its name for its array of unique elements. Departing from the typical central hall Georgia plan so common in the turn-of-the-century, what would have been at the front room on the right was constructed as an integral porch under the main roof.
❦ The Young-Whitcomb House. Built in 1890 and originally located in Apalachee, a railroad town north of Madison, the YoungWhitcomb House was purchased, cut into two sections and moved to Madison by the Tolhurst family in the late 1980s. The Victorian looks like a life-sized dollhouse.
❦ The Caldwell-Cooke-Zant House. This Georgia Colonial home featuring upper and lower front porches that was dominant in the South was home to prominent Madison families, including Sarah Cooke for whom the town square fountain is named.
The self-guided tours can be seen day or evening for $30, although ticket prices increase to $40 on December 1. mmcc-arts.org
ROSWELL’S HISTORIC HOUSES
In the heart of Roswell, North Georgia residents walking its charming streets can get glimpses of life hundreds of years before our time. Incorporated in 1854, Roswell’s “Southern Trilogy” remains: Barrington Hall, Bulloch Hall and Smith Plantation. These beauties are stunning every time of the year, but none as when volunteers descend upon the halls and adorn great rooms in garland, tinsel and baubles.
❦ Barrington Hall. Resting on seven acres, Barrington Hall has been a staple of Historic Roswell since the 1830s. Visitors can explore the Main House, grounds and gardens, which were fully restored in 2002.
❦ Bulloch Hall. Home to one of Roswell’s first settlers, Bulloch Hall was the childhood home of Teddy Roosevelt’s mother and where the former president lived as a child. The Greek Revival-style home was built in 1839.
❦ Smith Plantation. Still housing the original furnishings and artifacts from the home’s first owners, the plantation consists of the main home and 10 original outbuildings.
Roswell’s Historic Houses will be closed November 7 through 11 for decorating and then they’ll be open for self-guided and guided tours November 12 through Christmas, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 1 – 4 p.m. roswellgov.com
THE TATE HOUSE OPEN HOUSE
The historic 1928 property was nicknamed the Pink Palace or Pink Marble Mansion due to its pink and white Etowah marble. The Neo-Classical home now serves as a wedding venue but from November 28 through December 22, enjoy its Christmas Open House. Mansion walk-through tours ($20) are offered Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., no reservations required. From 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., a holiday gift boutique will provide gift options for your loved ones.