It’s an old-fashioned Christmas with the 26th annual Marietta Pilgrimage Christmas Home Tour, Dec. 1 and Dec. 2.
The tour will include six historic homes ranging from a Victorian Mansion to a 1920’s cottage, all located in the Church-Cherokee Street National Register Historic District, along with a series of historic public buildings.
More than 3,000 ornaments, thousands of magnolia leaves, 500-plus strands of lights and over 100 poinsettias are used in decorating the houses. A half a dozen or more hotel rooms are booked for homeowners for the event weekend to clear the way for the 5,000 or so visitors who will ooh and ah over vintage, traditional and highly artistic holiday schemes. Dozens of plastic mats are stashed in closets in case of inclement weather and scads of booties are stowed in attics to cover shoes for treading on floors that need extra TLC.
“It’s a unique experience. These are not public buildings. People are very curious because they are on public right-of-ways and people want to get a peek inside,” said Theresa Jenkins, of the Marietta Visitors Bureau.
Last year the Pilgrimage featured homes in the Whitlock Avenue Historic District.
The Pilgrimage draws between 3,500 and 5,000 people every year. “Attendance grew to a certain point, and we are at capacity now, around 4,500, that’s a good amount,” Jenkins said.
The six private homes that will be featured in 2012 include:
- The Dodd-Cook-Lloyd House
- The Simpson-Moor-Pearlberg House
- Blair-Runyon-Gay House
- The Cogburn-Hyde-Roland House
- The Morris-Gantt-Stark House
- The Lemmon-Rector-Kirby House
“Proximity and variety. We want a different style of homes—cottages, Victorian, bungalow; and we want a balance of big and small homes. We try to choose houses that are close together so it’s easy to go from one to the other.”
The public buildings featured include:
- Brumby Hall and Gardens
- First Presbyterian Church
- Ivy Grove
- Marietta-Cobb Museum of Art
- Old Zion Baptist Church
- Root House Museum
- St. James Episcopal Church
- The Kennesaw House
- The Marlow House
- Thomas Warehouse
The best time to go on the Pilgrimage tour is probably Sunday morning. “We aren’t suggesting you skip church or anything, but it tends to be less busy then. There won’t be many lines.”
The home tour features the Bistro, a charming stop on the tour to warm up and enjoy refreshments or a light lunch. The location for this year’s Bistro is the Ivy Grove, c.1843. The Bistro will be open Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The tour is sponsored by the Marietta Welcome Center & Visitors Bureau and Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society. Proceeds from the event are split between the two organizations. The Marietta Visitors Bureau uses a portion of the proceeds for marketing and its heritage program.
The pilgrimage offers day tours and a candlelight tour. The day tours offer shuttle service staffed with informative step-on guides.
Pilgrimage hours are Saturday: 9am-6pm; and Sunday: 10am-6pm. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door for the day ticket.
The Candlelight Tour, which features three homes, takes place on Saturday, 7 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $15.
For more information, call 770-429-1115 or 800-835-0445 or visit mariettapilgrimage.com.