Our 23rd annual holiday house tour took place on December 4th, a beautiful sunny Sunday. It was a tremendous success on all levels. We sold a record number of tickets to the tour, greatly exceeding our goal of 500. This being our main fundraiser for the year, we are grateful for the wonderful attendance. The tour we created this year had a little of everything. Some elements of the tour are an annual tradition and come to be expected : a tour of one of our wonderful historic churches, a great reception with lovely snacks, live music and a Chinese Auction, and of course interesting houses to tour, but this year we went a little outside the box for a day that was exhilarating to plan and implement and exciting for all to see.
Our reception was held at the Presbyterian Church of Islip, a stately white shingled structure built in 1857. The members of this congregation went above and beyond as hosts. They had members in the church answering questions throughout the day. At the reception everyone was delighted by musician, Rob Baione, who sang and played the guitar throughout the afternoon. His soulful voice was perfect for both Christmas music as well as other well known tunes. Our famous Chinese Auction was, as usual, a huge success.
We featured three single family homes on the tour which showed the diversity of architecture in our little community. Each was distinct in its own way.
The Piccirillo home, in Snug Harbor on the water, started out as a small cape cod built in the 1930’s, but has grown over the years to be an architectural beauty. The Piccirillos did much of the renovations themselves. With views of the bay and lighthouse from several rooms and a Christmas tree by the dock, it was hard for people to leave the property.
Although the Dragos home is a more modern structure, built in the 1990’s, its architectural style made it fascinating. A true post and beam style house, it was constructed in Maine and shipped, unassembled to the site in Islip. It has an open floor plan, exposed beams, a porch which wrapped around two sides of the house, and a charming loft bedroom.
The Carter home, a turn of the century colonial, is the type of home everyone loves to tour during the holidays. The Carters have not lived in the home for very long and have been lovingly transforming it. The beautiful wood features, the roaring fire in the hearth and beautiful décor made it a delight to see. The childrens’ bedrooms were especially sweet. But here is where we diverged from our usual format.
We had the unique opportunity this year to add to our tour one of the few remaining estate properties in Islip Hamlet. The Lipari home is on the market to be sold. The family generously agreed to allow us to show the house and all the outbuildings for our tour. The realtor, Nancy Stein was invaluable in making it a reality. In return we agreed to stage the property for the tour. There were five structures on the tour.
The Carol’s for Causes singers graced us with Christmas music throughout the afternoon. The “creamery”, a one room structure with red clay floors and white subway tile walls was all aglow with red and white decorations and a sparkling chandelier that was the focal point of the space. The horse barn was decorated with elaborately decorated wreaths and roping. The exterior of all the buildings were decked out in roping, wreaths, and greenery.
We once again partnered with the U.S. Marines for our Toys for Tots collection. This year the Marines were at the Lipari house where they collected an unprecedented number of toys for needy children.
As always, we wish to thank Lori Zegel from Nook and Cranny who sells our tickets for us in her shop. Also many thanks to the members of the Historical Society who give an amazing amount of their time to this event.
Our Holiday House tour is our major fundraiser. We were fortunate to once again be able to bring a distinctive collection of homes to the tour. We attribute our continued success to the homeowners who open their homes to the public. They were all generous, gracious, charming and enthusiastic.
In the large main house, which was originally the garage from the Samuel T. Peters estate we displayed a beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the living room, which was surrounded by vintage toys. The pool house had a Christmas tree as well and was decorated in soothing colors of the sea. The guest house, which we believe was a turn of the century ice house, or other cold storage structure, featured a “Christmas in the City” display, and a table set for Christmas breakfast.