Belhaven Chamber hosts evening Tour of Homes

Published 7:39 pm Thursday, November 30, 2017

BELHAVEN — Belhaven’s Christmas charm will be on display Dec. 9 during the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce’s Candlelight Tour of Homes.

Six of Belhaven’s finest houses, decorated for the holidays, will be opened to ticket holders from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All located within two blocks of one another, the homes featured are chosen years in advance.

“(The Tour of Homes) has been off and on for a number of years. The Chamber restarted it two years ago and we do it every other year,” said Diana Lambeth, executive director of the Belhaven Chamber of Commerce. “We’re a small community, so you don’t want to ask the same people all the time.”

A trolley escorting guests from the town docks and making stops at each house on the tour will run continuously throughout the evening starting at 5 p.m.

“They can leave their cars there, and they can just get off at whatever house they want to get off at,” Lambeth said.

SANTA FANS: The home of Edith and Nelson Guy is filled with the spirit of Christmas and features a collection of many Santas.

Featured on this year’s tour are the Swinson, Guy and Corbett homes on East Main Street; a vacation cottage on East Water owned by the Gnagy family; the Radcliffe home, also on East Main Street; and the Lamont Street home of Lindsay and Shane Hubers.

“Everybody in Belhaven refers to it as the Purvis House,” Lambeth said of the Hubers residence. Built by Solomon Joseph Topping in 1907, this home remained in the same family for more than 100 years, until the Huberses purchased it earlier this year. Much of the family furniture, and Christmas ornaments, remained with the three-story house and is featured throughout the house. With original hardwood floors, beadboard walls and ceilings in some rooms, the home embodies gracious southern living of the past. It wasn’t the first home “SJ” built on the property — a smaller one preceded it, but was later moved to build a bigger house for his wife and nine children, according to the Chamber brochure. Since the Huberses’ purchase, they’ve been restoring the home.

“It’s is amazing how much they have done to restore the home in such a short period of time,” Lambeth wrote in the brochure.

Of note on East Main Street, is Mandy and Dean Swinson’s Sears Aladdin kit home, circa 1920s, which still has the original front door complete with a brass Aladdin-genie doorknocker. Typical of the Aladdin kit houses is its four-square design, wood columns in the interior and built-in bookcases. Though once separated into two apartments — one upstairs, one downstairs — they were reunited as a single-family dwelling in the latter part of the 20th century.

Formerly known as the “Calfee House,” “Second Wind” on East Water Street, was vacant from 2002 until Mark and Michele Gnagy bought it, raised it and embarked on a yearlong renovation. The Gnagys preserved the hardwood floors as well as pine paneling on the second floor. The home was designated Belhaven’s first vacation rental in downtown Belhaven in 2015.

Sue Radcliffe’s three-story home on East Water Street is filled with all things nautical. Upper and lower porches offer expansive views of the Pungo River and Pantego Creek, while inside Radcliffe’s paintings and pottery are the frame for this year’s Christmas decorations.

The Craftsman-style home of Edith and Nelson Guy on East Main Street was built in 1925 and renovated in 1992. Edith Guy is a connoisseur of Santa — throughout the house, numerous Santas can be found, with more than 300 Santa ornaments on the living room Christmas tree alone. A collection of nativity scenes, and more decorated trees, can also be found in each room.

Finally, the East Main Street home of John and Jean Corbett rounds out this year’s tour. The house was built in 1928 and has undergone many renovations, but it is the furniture that stands out here. Most of the furniture was handcrafted of walnut, cherry and rosewood by John Corbett and his father, Albie Corbett. Among the many decorations are two very special ones, according to Jean Corbett: an angel over a stable, there in memory of the Corbetts’ grandson Christopher; and a soldier nutcracker in honor of another grandson serving overseas.

Tickets for the self-guided Candlelight Tour of Homes are $25 and can be purchased at the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce, at 274 E. Main St., or by calling 919-880-1183.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: The Hubers family’s Christmas stockings line the staircase ascending to their home’s second floor. The three-story home, known as the “Purvis House” is filled with Christmas trees and decorations belonging to former owners Bunnie and Jules Purvis.