Tour Woburn's Holiday Homes Sunday
Tickets are available now to tour nine homes and a farm during this year's Holiday House Tour.
Boughs of greens decorate the banister of the curved staircase in the ornate foyer of the Victorian house with its intricately turned balusters, the rails between the stairs and banister. Delft tiles frame the fireplace.
In the large room adjacent to the foyer, with thick ceiling molding and more plaster wall detailing, one wreath hangs over the fireplace; another, in the large window.
In one corner of that room, near the open pocket doors to the dining room, stands a ceiling-high Christmas tree, heavy with white lights.
Boxes of ornaments crowd the dining room table.
Decorating for the holidays is hardly unusual.
But imagine decorating a house that you moved into as recently as July. And you’ve got a deadline: this coming Sunday, when as many as 200 guests could traipse through your house to look at your decorations.
Social Capital, Inc. (SCI) of Woburn, is hosting a tour—of nine local homes and one farm—decked out for the holidays, outside and in, this coming Sunday, Dec. 12 between 2 and 6 p.m. SCI, started in 2003, aims to connect citizens to strengthen the community, according to its website.
About a dozen “elves” went to the mansion this past Saturday afternoon to dress it for the holidays.
The house was built in 1880 by Charles A. Burdett, who founded what became Burdett College, explained Gerry Kehoe, one of the society’s board members, who lent a hand with the decorating.
John and Kathy Flaherty donated the house to the society in the spring, Kehoe said. The society uses half the house. Before that, members of the four-year-old society used to work out of “our cars (and) homes,” she said.
The Flahertys and Malvy’s Flowers and Gift Shoppe are helping prepare the house for the holiday spotlight, according to Kehoe and Woburn Historical Society President Rosa DiTucci, another decorating elf.
Malvy’s developed a decorating plan for the manse, which includes green boughs in the foyer and around the perimeter of the dining room, above the windows and a herd of reindeer on the high shelf along one wall in the room the society is using as an office. Malvy’s will bring in fresh greens, smelling of Christmas, for the dining room, DiTucci said.
The Victorians used lots of fresh greens, explained Kehoe.
On the tree, ornaments of blown glass, similar in style to their modern non-glass counterparts, would have been characteristic when the house was built, according to DiTucci.
The other tour sites are on Arlington Street, Elm Street, MacBride Skyview Lane, Main Street (2), Stevin Drive, Warren Avenue, West Street and Wyman Street.
House tour tickets are available now at Malvy’s, 327 Main St., Century 21 Crowley, 132 Pleasant St., Woburn Public Library, 45 Pleasant St., NuPath Mercantile Shop, 147 New Boston St. and Prudential Preferred Realty, 616 Main St.
If any tickets remain on Sunday, they will be available at the three starting houses on the tour: Burdett Mansion, Tidd Home, 74 Elm St. and New Horizons, 21 Warren Ave.
Tickets are $25 each. Buy four and get one free. Proceeds benefit SCI.
Tour-goers can start at any of three tour sites—Burdett Mansion, Tidd Home or New Horizons—and visit the other tour addresses in the order they choose, to distribute what could be as many as 200 ticket-holders among them, according to Kallie McConkie, SCI AmeriCorps Outreach and Technical Coordinator. A map of the tour houses is included with a ticket, she said, along with information about each house.
Decorating the Burdett Mansion appeared to be a labor of love for its elves. Historical Society board member Sue Ellen Holland climbed up and down a ladder like an exercise machine to add ornaments to the tall tree. As for decorating her own house, she said, “Mine’s not done yet.”