The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas come alive this Sunday as the Williston Woman’s Club presents the Christmas Tour of Homes featuring four magnificent houses, their decor and their generous owners.
A tradition that dates back almost 20 years has been resurrected by the club as a fund-raiser with monies earmarked for a covered pavilion at Williston Elementary School.
The tour begins at the clubhouse, located on Hwy. 121N. There, pick up a ticket for $10 per person, a map and a few refreshments before venturing out. Tickets and maps are also available at each of the homes along the way. Visit all four or select the ones that interest you most. The afternoon is yours to enjoy and there is no rigorous schedule to follow.
Phyllis McCoy Griffin–Built in 2007, the traditional home located in Camellia Plantation, features three bedrooms, office, expansive living room, dining room, kitchen and lanai.
The handiwork and crafts, created by Griffin, are showcased throughout the home and serves as the very basis for the holiday theme throughout.
Some items to watch for at the Griffin home include counted cross stitch, a hand painted Christmas village, authentic woven baskets, wood carvings and decorations she has acquired through her travels, including a nativity set from Israel.
The comfortable inviting space will validate why Griffin’s home is where the heart is.
Judy and Vince Marino–The Little Red Barn is breathtaking from the driveway and visitors are surely to be wowed by what they find inside.
The Marinos and their children have gone all out to make this house unique for the holidays. The couple is also proud of their home because Vince has done the carpentry work himself–a true labor of love.
Traditional and contemporary combine with the unusual through the expansive home that boasts not one, or two, but 11 Christmas trees.
Each tree has its own theme and spotlights similar decor in the house.
Silver and white complement one another on one tree, while another will be what most consider traditional–green and red featuring Santas.
The Marino’s son, Hoss, shows off a cowboy themed tree in his room, while daughter, January Caroline, is proud of the white and purple tree in her room.
Don’t be surprised, but for almost 30 years, Judy has been treasuring what many of us trash–Happy Meal Toys.
From Howdy Doody to Buzz Lightyear, one tree boasts a collection of those toys made into holiday ornaments. Reminisce and reflect as you remember which of those you or your own children had and delight in the memories.
Becki and Ronnie Stevens–Becki Stevens, along with family and friends, has been working diligently for almost a month to highlight her home for holiday visitors.
The house itself has been a work in progress, as the couple acted as owner/contractor during the two years it took to build.
“I wanted it to feel like my grandmother’s home,” Becki said, describing what she was aiming for in melding the traditional with the modern.
Throughout the home, the house itself and now its holiday decor, is an amalgam of the old and the new.
The hardwood floors are American black cherry, all handcrafted.
The 1 1/2 story house has three bedrooms, a library/music room (which features a 10x13 bookwall), living room, dining room, office and two playrooms.
The walk-in pantry is a throwback to yesteryear as Becki says it looks like something from the early part of the last century.
Each room features eight-foot high doors and ceilings of varying heights.
The holiday decor is also a combination of the old and new, Becki said. While some fresh greenery is used, she also plays up the lushness of silk throughout.
The living room is adorned in traditional red and green while the dining room sparkles with glittery gold.
A 12-foot tree is adorned with gingerbread ornaments and reflects the aura of the gingerbread-decorated kitchen, Becki said.
Pinecones are liberally placed throughout the house and visitors will see them in an array of colors including red, white and silver. Be sure to look for the red bird that has been placed in the major rooms–it’s like a “Where’s Waldo?” for those taking the tour.
Becki gives lots of credit for the splendor her home radiates to her sister Cookie King, whose inventive, creative ways paved the way for the spectacular holiday look that has been created.
Visitors will want to note the tree limb in the master bedroom. Ask about it’s origins. It’s worth the time.
The Stevens family will also provide refreshments for their visitors Sunday and live entertainment from Becki, husband Ron, Jewel White and Lisa Posteraro will ensure the music room lives up to its name.
Maggie and Joseph Crane–The oldest house on this year’s tour belongs to the Cranes, who have only occupied the house for a few months.
The traditional farmhouse went on the tax rolls in 1901, Maggie said but the couple isn’t sure if it was this house or there was one prior to it.
“We think this house was built in the 1920s,” she said.
The two-story white frame house, in Joseph’s family since 1963, boasts four bedrooms, two baths, living room, dining room, kitchen and playroom. Only the downstairs will be available on Sunday’s tour.
The first thing visitors will note as they pull along the circular drive is the amazing and welcoming screened-in front porch.
Here Maggie has decorated in the traditional manner of Christmas, using both the old and new.
The porch tree displays dozens of snowmen–some antiques–that Maggie has collected over the years.
Open the beautiful doors and be awed by the original hardwood floors, restored to their original luster while taking in the high ceilings with thick beams and marveling at the luxurious woodwork that trims the house’s original windows. The woodwork was handcrafted by Mr. Beamer, the same man who did the work on the United Methodist Church.
With logs blazing in the fireplace, and the history surrounding the home, one instantly feels welcomed.
The fireplace is made of stone from the property and encased in the work are two tomahawks found on the property.
To the visitors’ right, the formal dining room is ready for the traditional Crane Christmas breakfast and boasts a magnificent tree decked out in burgundy and gold.
Small touches of the season are visible in each room and in what was once a sewing room off the kitchen now stands a white tree sparkling with bright, gaily colored ornaments for the Crane children, Marissa and Roy Allen.
While both Maggie and Joseph have strong Williston roots, their last home was in Micanopy.
Today, Maggie is all aglow over living in her dream house and the potential it has in the years to come as they remodel, refurbish and repair it to its former glory–and most of it done by themselves.
Refreshments will also be served in the Crane home Sunday with most all lovingly prepared by Joseph’s grandmother.
Bobbie Smith contributed to this article.