NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 5, 2012

Owners draw on memories, traditions for house tour

Owners draw on memories, traditions for house tour

The holidays represent a time to declare that, no matter what else may happen during the year, life’s finest moments can be immortalized in the twinkling of lights, the jingle of bells, and the laughter of friends around our table.

With so much good intent at stake, it’s no wonder that some of us go all out in the pursuit of creating an alluring holiday home, taking such special care with decorations so that even passers-by are moved by the display. In Newburyport, where one can easily imagine the city’s historic homes alight at Christmas long before the days of electricity, this is especially true.

That’s why the Custom House Maritime Museum’s annual Holiday House Tour has become such a popular tradition, offering guests a chance to glimpse beyond the window lights into some of the city’s finest homes transformed for the season.

According to co-chairwomen Kristin Hunter and Nancy Griffin, this year’s tour offers something for everyone, from the historic to the modern, and to the truly unique.

“We have a spectacular Federal-inspired townhouse in Brown Square,” Hunter said, “with three floors of opulent interiors decorated professionally by Terrence Gleason of Greenery Designs. That’s a very unusual one we have on the tour.”

Another is known as the “Treehouse,” a uniquely designed home by Andrew Sidford Architects built into a hill overlooking the Artichoke and serving as the perfect showcase Christmas home.

“In the family room it has a floating fireplace made out of a 3,000-pound slab of granite from the Rockport quarry,” said Griffin.

During this year’s tour on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., guests and holiday enthusiasts will be welcome to step inside 11 local homes that represent a variety of architectural styles.

Beginning at the Custom House Maritime Museum and a trio of waterfront homes that offer a “jeweled” vision of Joppa Flats and Newburyport’s picturesque marshland, guests can then travel at their own pace from the river up to High Street, stopping along the way to visit some of the South End’s finest Federalist homes.

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