The 22nd annual Holiday House Tour, which took place on Sunday, December 6, 2015 was a smashing success. A record number of tickets were sold, exceeding our annual goal of 500. We were graced with a magnificently sunny and unseasonably warm day which made it a perfect day to spend visiting St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the six lovely homes which were on the tour.
The Callahan house, a beautiful 19th century Victorian with a wrap-around porch, made you feel welcome as soon as you entered the house. The Callahan's enjoy antiquing and tag sale hunting and have decorated in an eclectic and interesting manner. It is amazing how much they have accomplished in furnishing and accessorizing this large home in the short time they have lived there.
The Santana House, in the Wolpert section of Islip Hamlet has a fascinating history. It fell into disrepair in recent years but has now been brought back to life. The exterior is almost completely original and has retained its original character. The interior has been modernized while still keeping its charm. We were grateful to Lidia Santana, a newcomer to Islip Hamlet for opening her home in her new community.
Just across the street from the Santana house we were able to see a true Wolpert cape which was built in 1932. The Macrelli’s have lived in the house for over 30 years. Although they added a large addition to the house to accommodate their growing family, they took great care to retain its original features, including interesting built-ins and moldings. Even the first floor bathroom is completely original.
The Reiszl's purchased their little cottage on St. Marks Lane in 2011. They were looking for a small house with a big workshop and this was the diamond in the rough they dreamed of. They painstakingly brought the house back to life, doing all the work themselves and they solved some mysteries about the house along the way. The house is decorated in a quirky cottage style with interesting furnishings and artwork. The highlight of their holiday decorations came in the form of a Christmas Tree dress, which was made using pine boughs gathered from the property.
The Murray house gave the appearance of a tiny cottage from the front porch, but guests were surprised by the size and openness once they stepped into the house. The Murray’s have a keen eye for design and use of materials, which made this house a feast for the eyes. It was filled with interesting design features, fabulous lighting and a great layout.
The Semple house on Ocean Ave, a stately shingled colonial, built in 1898, has been meticulously restored. The Semples live in the home with their two young daughters. Since moving to the house they have been fascinated with the history of the house. They were fortunate to have received information from a previous homeowner who grew up in the house over 60 years ago.
Besides touring six wonderful houses, tour goers were able to spend time at St. Mark's Episcopal Church. The church has a fascinating history of its own and is very significant architecturally. Warm cider, hot chocolate, coffee, tea and cookies were served in the reception hall, where guests could listen to the lovely voices of Carol’s for Causes, a group of Islip students who sing Christmas Carols at local events. The donations they receive are used to fund local charities and food pantries. Our famous Chinese Auction was better than ever with over 80 gift baskets and other prizes.
We once again partnered with the U.S. Marines for Toys for Tots. This year the Marines were at the Semple house where they accepted an amazing number of toys.
Our Holiday House Tour is our major fundraiser. Our continued success is attributed to the many members of the Historical Society who commit their time to this event and to the homeowners who open their homes to the public. All of the houses were distinctive, charming and well appointed, but more importantly, the homeowners were unbelievably gracious, engaging and enthusiastic.
A special thank you is in order for Lori Zegel from Nook and Cranny who sells our tickets for us in her shop.