December 8, 2011

Secret Holiday House Tour coming up


SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTH COUNTRY — From the outside, it looks as unassuming as any other home on the street.

But step through the front door, and you enter a full-blown winter wonderland.

The house is ready for the holidays, and it's one of the homes ready to be seen by everyone attending the seventh-annual Secret Holiday House Tour, to be held 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday as a benefit for the Kent-Delord House.

The decorations inside are tastefully done and placed with care. They hang from the light in the dining room like February icicles; they wind up the banister like wild ivy. Their reflections can be seen in the glittering tinsel, and they stand tall, in the form of Santa Claus, to greet visitors at the end of the hallway.

There is something for every holiday spirit to enjoy within these bedecked walls.


The secret behind the placement of the North Pole-inspired paraphernalia lies within one of the season's most iconic symbols: the Christmas tree.

Each room in the house contains a tree that has been decorated with a different theme.

In the kitchen, there's an Adirondack tree, heavily adorned with tiny wooden sleds, owls, and cardinals. Beneath it is a moose sandwiched between a bird's nest and an ice skate laced with a pink ribbon.

Upstairs, in a room that used to belong to a boy who has since grown, is a small tree that has tiny soccer balls dangling from its needled branches.

In the living room stands a traditional fir, decked out in more than 300 ornaments that represent past holidays shared by the host couple and their three children.

"The traditional tree is my favorite one," said the tree's decorator, who is not being named because of the secrecy of the tour. "It tells a story— the timeline of our family.

"Some of the ornaments are from when the kids were little. I take them out every year and have to tape some of them together because they're falling apart."


And then there are the snowmen. Dozens of them appear on shelves and tables throughout the dwelling. Some are composed of fabric, others of wood. There is a tiny snowman Pez dispenser and a fluffy, rotund snowman made from sheep's wool. Each one is as unique as the snowflakes that compose its real-world counterpart.

"All of the snowmen in the bedroom are shoppers because I love to shop," said the homeowner, laughing.

The house is one of five being featured in this year's Secret Holiday House Tour. Some of the homes feature grand displays on the outside while others, such as the secret home described here, make sightseers wait until they get inside.

The tour costs $15. Participants don't know whose homes they will be visiting until the day of the event, when they will be given a list to follow.

For tickets, contact either Scarlett McBride at 643-6678 or Pat Loughan at 561-6571 or visit the Kent-Delord House Museum on Cumberland Avenue between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The last day to purchase tickets is Friday.