The 20th annual Holiday House Tour took place on Sunday, December 8th, a perfect day for our tour.  Having sold almost 400 tickets this year, the tour participants started the day at noon and visited five lovely homes.

The D’Arienzo house, a beautifully restored Victorian with a wraparound porch, showcased the couple’s unique talent in blending the old with the new.  Their large home, built in 1887, as well as an original potting shed and barn were all available for viewing.   The home featured interesting items the couple found on the property and repurposed, including a barn door, old windows and antique picture frames.  The house possessed a rustic charm while at the same time being youthful and sophisticated.

The Julich home, a 1900 Victorian was previously on our house tour in 1999, soon after the family moved in.  Since then it has undergone numerous renovations and additions to the original footprint.  An addition was added which blends seamlessly with the original home.

The Neil house, a stately 1875 waterfront Victorian, is a wonderful example of how an ugly duckling can turn into a swan.  The Neil’s found this house in deplorable condition.  It had been abandoned by previous owners and was left to fall into disrepair.  When it caught their eye, there was no electricity or running water and vines were growing in through the windows.  Visitors saw it as it has been transformed into the jewel it is today.

The Cardlin house, small in stature but bursting with charm, was filled with warmth and hospitality.  The decorations on the front porch of this late 19th century Victorian brought a smile to the faces of visitors who were anxious to see what awaited them on the other side of the front door.  The Cardlin’s displayed items that belonged to the original owners and fascinating documents tracing the history of the house.

Upon entering the Kurka home, a 1940’s colonial Cape Cod house, visitors were greeting by a hand painted staircase.  The home has been in the Kurka family for three generations and it was obvious that the Kurka’s take great pride in the family history of their home.

Tour participants were able to see the beautiful and historic Presbyterian Church of Islip, then enjoy some treats at the reception in The Chapel. Coffee, tea, hot cider and hot chocolate were served along with cookies provided by Waldbaum’s.  Live holiday music was provided by J. K. Hodge.

The Chinese Auction which consisted of over 80 gift baskets was, as always, one of the highlights of the day.

We have partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps. for the last 17 years to collect toys for Toys for Tots.  This year two handsome Marines were stationed at the D’Arienzo house to accept donations from our very generous tour participants.

The annual Holiday House Tour is our most significant fund raiser each year.  It takes a great deal of planning and collaboration in order for it to be a success.  Roberta Drake (kitchen), Arlene Goldman (Chinese Auction), Susan Hantz-West and Mark West (Program Design and photography), Jane Mizrach (costumes and tour guides), Steven Kreutzer (entertainment, reception), Karen Silverthorn (tickets), Lori Zegel from Nook and Cranny Gift Boutique (ticket sales) and Karen Schill (house pen and ink drawings) are only a few of the many volunteers who make this event come together.  Most importantly, we owe a great deal of gratitude to the homeowners who shared their homes with us this year.  They each brought something special to the event.  They were wonderful hosts who greeted the hundreds of visitors with enthusiasm, answering questions and telling stories about their homes.  It is that enthusiasm that makes people come back year after year to be a part of this wonderful annual event.

Tour Highlights
Christina Vanasco
Historical Society of Islip Hamlet Est. 1992