Garrettsville – Another Candlelight Tour has passed into history but the Christmas Walk goes on.

What a cool Walk it is too! Actually, it was closer to COLD than cool most of the time on the opening weekend but there were plenty of folks who braved the wintry blasts and the occasional sprinkles to come out and look at other people’s houses.  Tell the truth now, wouldn’t most of us just like to go around to see what somebody else has hanging on the walls or tossed down the back stairs or tucked, discretely, under the beds or burned on the bottom of the oven?  That’s why I like to go visit my sister.  Bless her heart, she can cook rings around anyone–except my other sister–and knows a thing or two…or three…or four…or…you get the idea…about medical stuff…but I polish up my Martha Stewart housekeeping credentials in comparison with her every time (The other sister makes me look like a paragon of tact and discretion, not to mention a liberal wing-nut.  Gotta love relatives such as these).
Anyway, I went on the opening soiree and had a fine time.  How much of this was due to the champagne punch being served at the Mott Building headquarters is debatable.  It did point out the fact that there are not a whole lot of people able to read maps nowadays…daylight or dark notwithstanding.  Quite a number of people commented at the two place at which I subsequently worked that they had wandered afar–Windham, Hiram, Mantua, the wilds of both Freedom and Nelson townships–trying to get to even the venues in town.  In the dark, on Thursday evening, I could understand but in daylight?  Ah, well, a little adventure never hurt.

The four houses on the tour this year are a nice assortment, two century homes and two built within the last decade or less.  These all, of course, complement the James A. Garfield Historical Society’s nationally-registered headquarters, the Mott Building, housing the Society’s museum, and the neighboring structure, the “Bonnet Shop”, renowned for years as THE place to go for ladies’ hats and accessories.  The latter building will mark its centennial (at least that’s when the hat shop  opened there) in 1914.  Could be a tie-in with the bicentennial of the Nelson U.M.C….well, those ladies wore hats to church too, didn’t they?
The craft show on Main Street served a number of purposes, not least among them the first look at the renovated space formerly belonging to the Irwin Hardware.  The pressed      tin ceiling, original wood floor and brick chimney announce its pedigree, while the paint and windows speak of enthusiasm for a new enterprise for the community to get acquainted with.  Crafters did themselves proud, with woodcarvings, Christmas décor and decorations, gifts and jewelry, food items–Methodist breads, Goodells’ maple products–and a general air of good will and Christmas cheer.

The ladies of the Garrettsville Piecemakers Quilt Guild were ensconced there as well, offering chances on a sesquicentennial celebration quilt marking the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (Or as it has been characterized in the South, “the War between the States” or “the late unpleasantness”).  Their quilt, made of materials reproduced to emulate the colors and patterns of the period, is called ”A Soldier’s Crossing”.  It recalls the part played by the Sanitary Commission in supporting the soldiers in the conflict by raising money, serving as nurses, operating kitchens, providing care and comfort to combatants for the length of the war and after.  Winner will be drawn on November 11 at 5 P.M.

Location #2 was the former home of Jedediah Cole on Water Street.  This was one talented guy–surveyor& mapmaker, thespian,  public official–who built himself a fittingly impressive home.  The original kitchen floor is on display (Please remove your shoes), as are maps of  the bustling village of Garrettsville, hand-crocheted(and starched) ornaments (Thank you, Dorothy Watson), period delights of every description.

Location # 3 is for the birds–literally!  8552 Riverview is aptly named because the southern bank of windows looks out on a flowing stream, a mature woods, a stone-buttressed (You should pardon the expression) terrace and plenty of birds–drawn by a collection of birdfeeders–and wildlife (Hello, squirrels & deer).   Then you’ve got the whole Asian  thing.  See it to believe it.

Location # 4 is St Ambrose Church  decorated  with an “O Holy Night” theme, serving homemade lunches and snacks.  Church Ladies’ cooking…’nuf said.

Location # 5 is the one that threw the cartographically-challenged for a loop all too often.  Those bereft of any GPS guidance sometimes were in danger of missing this “Christmas in the Country” gem.  It’s a farmhouse with fashion and illustrates both “the way we were” and what can be done through loving restoration.

Location # 6 boasted a harpist for the candlelight tour and simply amazing great oak beams in the timber framed structure.  Particularly fetching were the dog crates that were discreetly covered and topped with (1) a Christmas tree and (2) a miniature train set.  The big south window with the construction date carved across the upper level offered a great view and diversion is provided by the game room where one can play pinball, darts or piano or climb into the loft to read.

One week end to go.  Don’t miss it.