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Posted December 8, 2012 | comments Leave a comment

Middletown tour to feature Victorian house, historic structures

By Josette Keelor

This Middletown Holiday House Tour, which will take place again from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, will include a much-admired Reliance Victorian home along its route.

Kristen and John Wright, who moved into the home at 1319 Reliance Road east of Middletown nearly four years ago, have been preparing the house for Christmas, following a recent kitchen addition that makes the fourth addition to the 1894 house.

Knowing that the home tour was coming up, Kristen Wright said she has been collecting decorations from antiques shops, yard sales and anywhere else she can find them.

Her enjoyment of vintage Santa Claus decorations shows in the various rooms she had spruced up for Christmas.

Most of the main floor is decorated for the holidays, but it's the music room to the right of the front door that most invites in visitors, with a Christmas tree situated near windows at the front of the house, and cheery knickknacks on every surface.

Both music majors, the Wrights have collected various instruments throughout the years including a piano, an accordion and an old radio in the music room.

Lined along the piano are Gurley candles, which Wright estimates date to the 1950s and 60s.

"I think a lot of people would remember these," she said. In fact, many of the decorations around the house recall the 50s, which Wright said appeals to her.

Also prominent in the room are ceramic light up Christmas trees, which she found at an auction in Edinburg -- a box of six for $5, she said, and ceramic Santas overflowing with candy canes.

"It's been a lot of fun finding them," she said. "So I kind of went with the Santa theme."

In the kitchen and library are Spaghetti Santas, made in Japan with materials that make the cotton of Santa's hat look like it's made from pasta.

Along the tour, visitors will get to see the new kitchen edition, which the Wrights built to fit with the rest of the house.

Hiring local crafters, they purchased flooring recycled from horse fencing in Clarke County and matching white oak custom cabinets from Shenandoah Woodworks in Maurertown.

All of the trim matches the rest of the house, and an old radiator helps tie in the old with the new.

Along the rest of the Middletown tour will be Monte Vista, at 8183 Valley Pike; the Hoffman House, at 7827 Main St.; the Inn at Vaucluse Spring; St. Thomas Chapel, at 7854 Church St. and Grace United Methodist, at 7882 Main St. Light refreshments will be served at the Hoffman House and the Inn at Vaucluse Spring.

Monte Vista sits on five acres of the original 540 acres of the Heater property, according to a promotional brochure for the tour Bill and Barb Houdershell purchased Monte Vista in 1996 and since then have restored and enhanced the original integrity of the home. Their on-going restoration is about half complete.

The Hoffman House was built in 1796 and has been in the Hoffman family since 1852. John Hoffman, who currently owns the property and has, with his family, been restoring it.

The Inn at Vaucluse Spring, built in 1785, was named for the French country retreat of the poet Petrarch. Owned by Barry and Neil Myers since 1995, the inn offers 15 accommodations in the original federal-style Manor House and six other buildings on the property.

St. Thomas Chapel dates to 1834 and was patterned after York Cathedral in England; Grace United Methodist dates to 1896 and features a hand-played carillon in its tower.

The Holiday House Tour will take place from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will be $15 for the entire tour. Tickets will be available at Town Hall or through Middletown Garden Club members. All guests of the tour may receive a half-price admission to Belle Grove on the tour day.

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com

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