Homes tour returns Dec. 4

Published 7:20 am Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Staff Writer

Christmas decorations, classic architectural features and more sights will be on display when A Christmas Tour of Homes returns Dec. 4 in Washington.
The tour, set to run from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., will afford ticket-holders opportunities to see inside a dozen homes within walking distance of the Turnage Theater on Main Street.
The event raises money for the Turnage Theaters Foundation.
Tickets cost $25 a person, and that price includes a box lunch for a tour-taker.
For more information, call the Turnage box office at 252-975-1191.
The homes tours began in the late 1990s, before the theater was fully restored, said Katherine Buchholz, box-office manager.
As a tradition, this fundraiser has continued intermittently through the years, and it wasn’t scheduled in 2009 because of the economic downturn, Buchholz related.
Asked why the tour has endured through the years, Buchholz replied, “The reason HGTV is so successful is because it gives us the opportunity to see into the lives of other people. This is our version of that.”
According to Buchholz, one of the tour locations generating buzz is adjacent to the Washington Daily News building at 213 N. Market St.
Presented by Scott Campbell and William Sykes, the West Loft of the Old Fire Station Lofts, so called because they used to house Washington’s fire company, boasts “original red oak hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers, (an) onyx fireplace” and a rooftop terrace, reads a brochure for the tour.
“There’s been a lot of speculation as to what that looks like inside, and this is your chance to see it,” Buchholz said of the lofts.
Two other stops on the tour are occupied by newcomers to the area.
The circa-1900, brick home at 420 E. Main St. belongs to John and Nancy O’Neill. This house is being featured on the tour for the first time.
The couple began coming to Beaufort County around 10 years ago, said John O’Neill.
The O’Neills keep a boat in Bath, and, before moving here from Raleigh, they would come down periodically to enjoy the community.
“It’s mainly, I think, we’re just highlighting the renovation that we did to it,” he said.
Another stop is Pamlico House Bed &Breakfast at 400 E. Main St. The house was built in 1906 as a rectory for St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, the brochure reads.
The B&B is now owned by Virginia Finnerty, late of Florida, who moved in on Jan. 29.
Finnerty said her holiday decor is “very much about tradition.” A Christmas tree erected in her sitting room is covered with shiny red or green ornaments, but, upon close examination, one will also see homemade pieces crafted by Finnerty’s children, she said.
“It’s a combination of my collecting over the years,” she added.
Finnerty revealed she’ll have a house full of B&B guests on the day of the tour.
“I’m very excited about that,” she said.