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Homes for the Holidays

Resurgent Brewer Avenue focus of annual candlelight tour

By Allison T. Williams

People attending the Suffolk-Nansemond Historical Society's 29th annual candlelight tour next weekend will be treated to a peep show.
This year's tour, which will focus on homes in the recently revitalized Brewer Avenue neighborhood, will start off with a "peep-in" at the Holland House. Located at the corner of West Washington Street and Brewer Avenue, the recently restored Queen Anne-style home now belongs to Ernest and Sandra Hefferon.
"Guests will be legal peeping Toms as they peek into the front door and windows from the wrap around porch," said Sue Woodward, the historical society's executive director. "The lace curtains will be parted and guests will be free to put their noses up to the windows and look."

The tour, which runs from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 3-4, will feature six historic homes on Brewer Avenue. All the homes will be decked out in their holiday finery - fresh greens, candles and the like -in celebration of this year's theme, "Come Back to Brewer Avenue."
Houses in the spotlight include:

The Gay House, 104 Brewer Ave.
Lumberman M.E. Gay built the spacious classical Revival-style house around 1909, where three generations of his family lived. The recently restored house is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ryan L. Brooks.

The Delk House, 106 Brewer Ave.
Smithfield native S.E. Delk began work on his Queen Anne-style house in 1909, shortly after buying the lot in Brewer Place development. The house, also recently restored, is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. James Bielmann.

The Morrison House, 110 Brewer Ave,
This Queen Anne-style house, which had been made into a duplex at some point in years past, is now being renovated by Garcia Development. Visitors to The Morrison House - also known as Holiday Central - can visit the Sugar
Plum Kitchen to
buy Christmas
baked goods, hear the sweet sounds made by harpist Mary Margaret Jones and see Christmas trees that have been decorated by local
artists. The handcrafted ornaments on the trees will be for sale.


The Little House, 113 Brewer Ave.
The craftsman-style house was built for the Little family • sometime after 1920. Like many other homes on the street, the house is being overhauled by Garcia Development. Guests who
stop by next weekend will see works by local artist Sugar Barrow and a vintage linen show and sale by Fine Threads and Fine Linens.

The Riddick House, 121 Brewer Ave.
This Queen Anne-style house was built by Burwell Riddick, who also built the former house that is now home to R.W. Baker Funeral Home. Developer Mickey Garcia worked his magic on the Riddick House, which had been rental property that had fallen into a state of disrepair. The house is now owned by Suffolk attorney David Arnold and his family.

The Andrews House, 122 Brewer Ave.
The Tudor Revival-style home was built in the 1930s for the Willard Andrews family, who lived there for decades. Current owners Mr. and Mrs. John Pelletier's, interest in the Civil War is reflected in much of the art and collections on display in the home.

The historical society's annual holiday
tours have traditionally drawn hundreds
of visitors from Suffolk, other Hampton
Roads cities and parts of northeastern
North Carolina.
Volunteers, most in period costume,
will be on hand in each home to answer
questions, Woodward said. To protect the hardwood floors in many historic homes, visitors on the tour are asked not to wear heels or bring their pets, she added.
"We feel like there are all kinds of good things about the history of Suffolk," she said. "We try to make the tours educational and interesting."
The tour isn't quite over when guests have made all the scheduled stops on Brewer Avenue, said Tracie Pruden, a spokeswoman for the organization.
Guests may also visit the Constantia House, a 1920's replica of a 1720's house moved to this site from Cedar Hill Cemetery. People dropping by the restored house, located behind R. W. Baker Funeral Home, will be served cider and cookies by mem
bers of the NansemondSuffolk Academy Historical Society.
Then, on Sunday only, West End Baptist Church will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. People who stop by the church around 3:30 p.m. can enjoy an Advent and Christmas music program on the church's pipe organ, performed by organist and choirmaster Dean Kershaw.
Homemade vegetable beef soup and sweet potato biscuits with Virginia ham, prepared by Chef Michael Babb, will be available for take-out dining from the St. James Avenue entrance of the church, Pruden said.
Soup is $8 per quart and ham biscuits are $2.
Advance tickets for both the candlelight tour and soup dinner can be purchased at the Seaboard Station Railroad
Museum or the Suffolk Visitor Center, both located on North Main Street. Call 539-2781 for more information.
The candlelight tour tickets are $12 in advance and $15 on the day of the tour. The soup tickets are $8.