Blowing Rock Tour of Homes set for July 23
The 53rd annual St. Mary of the Hills-Blowing Rock Tour of Homes is scheduled for Saturday, July 23.
This one-day event is sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church. Although it is sponsored by the ECW, the tour could not occur without the entire parish and the many community volunteers who donate their time to help, according to tour officials.
Located on the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, Blowing Rock, the church will serve as the central location for the tour, from which transportation will be provided to the four tour homes. The first car will leave at 9 a.m. and the last at 2:30 p.m. from the front of the church. The tour is usually less crowded between noon and 2 p.m. All houses will close promptly at 5 p.m.
Complimentary parking and trolley service will be available from the Hayes Performing Arts Center on Valley Boulevard from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m., leaving the Hayes Center every 20 minutes. The last trolley to return to the center from town will depart at 5:20 p.m. from the corner across the street from the church.
Tickets for the tour are $25 each and can be purchased at the church office Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce (soon to relocate to 132 Park Ave. across from the Blowing Rock Library) during normal business hours. They may also be purchased in the churchyard on the day of the rour.
The Patron's Party will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 21, in the historic and newly refurbished Green Park Inn in Blowing Rock. Tickets are $150 per person and space is limited. Reservations, with check, may be sent to St. Mary of the Hills Patron's Party, P.O Box 1882, Blowing Rock, N.C. 28605.
In addition to visiting the homes, many activities will be taking place at the church and on its lawn on tour day. Picnic-in-a-Box lunches, $10, donated by The Storie Street Grille, will be available in the parish hall beginning at 11 a.m.
Tents on the front lawn will house some new features, including the Razzle Dazzle Raffle and Auction with items donated by local individuals and businesses.
A new tent, Culinary Creations, will house a bake sale with homemade desserts, breads, preserves, snacks, coffee and water. Frozen homemade casseroles, unique Aprons and the St. Mary of the Hills Cookbook are also for sale here.
The Art Sale, a new feature, will display works of art in a variety of mediums in its tent and in the halls of the parish hall.
Another tent will once again house a Note Card table, offering for sale handcrafted note cards depicting floral arrangements from the homes on previous years' tours. Docents will be available in the church from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. to discuss the history of St. Mary of the Hills. Of special interest in the sanctuary is a painting, the "Madonna of the Hills," by Elliott Daingerfield. There will be music provided by The Page Brothers in the morning and Laura Coston's String Quartet in the afternoon.
The 53rd annual tour will feature four houses again this year, two in Mayview, and two on Green Hill. Check out the church's website, http://www.stmaryofthehills.org, and click on 2011 Tour of Homes at the bottom of the opening page, to view pictures of the houses.
The first home on Green Hill Circle is the home of Barbara and Steady Cash and is rightfully named High Shelter with its view from North Wilkesboro to Charlotte. The original home, built in 1958, has been beautifully remodeled and rebuilt with a wonderful addition, making the home more than comfortable for family and friends. Each room has been impeccably decorated with attention to detail and colors. Several pieces of art are by local artists, but Steady's photographic views of Blowing Rock and the surrounding area steal the show.
The second home belonging to Janis and David Fite on Wonderland Woods Drive is aptly named Mountain Heaven and it is indeed that for this couple from western Tennessee. With an appreciation and love for the work of local artists and craftsmen, their collections accent the mixture of antiques and reproductions in this comfortable and beautifully decorated house. Views of Grandfather Mountain through a wall of west facing windows afford the Fites beautiful mountain sunsets.
Third, The Howard House on Mayview Rock Road, home of Carol Dabbs, has been in her family since 1972 when it was built by her father, Howard Biggers. A new addition in 2010 has brought the spacious, yet intimate house to a total of seven bedrooms and baths. Although there are many personal family mementos, as well as collected treasures inside the house, the most spectacular sight is outside. The views of John's River Gorge and Grandfather Mountain are the house's crowning glory.
Finally, the fourth is the home of Will Merrill, who calls his Cone Road home the NoName House, which is a name that he brought with him when he purchased it four years ago. The small house had been a "summer place" until Will bought it, totally renovated it, making it his year-round home. As a collector who finds it difficult to part with almost anything, Merrill has tried to pare down in order to fill the small spaces with "just a few of his favorite things."
"We cannot emphasize enough that the Tour of Homes is a community effort, and a significant portion of the proceeds from the tour are distributed to church and community outreach programs," tour officials said.
Recipients of last year's proceeds included nonprofit organizations in Blowing Rock, Boone and the region. A complete list can be found in the tour ticket.