by Madison V. Fisler
July 25, 2013. For 55 years, the annual Blowing Rock Tour of Homes, held by St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, has delighted visitors and residents alike in the High Country by showcasing the beauty of select homes in the area.
On July 26, for the 55th anniversary of the event, they coordinators hope to raise $55,000 to help support community projects.
There are five magnificent homes to be featured in the Tour of Homes this year. Visitors will be able to walk through and enjoy Las Damas, owned by Ala Sue Wyke, Hedgehog Cottage owned by Sandra and Doug Warner, Peace Haven, owned by Marsha and Preston Cornelius, Temple Home, owned by Ginny Temple and Opicherhoka, owned by the family of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Graves Vardell.
The tours will begin at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church, where the first transport car will leave at 9 a.m. Tours will run until 3:30 p.m. with homes closing at 5 p.m. sharp.
Hosts and hostesses will be stationed at each house, where visitors can walk through and experience homes on a set route through the house at their leisure.
Transportation will be provided, and no private vehicles are allowed on the tour. The tour route is also available for walking, as the round trip to each house is about one mile.
“The homes this year are so diverse,” said Susie Greene, co-chair of the event.
“We have everything from an 1899 summer home that is part of old Blowing Rock history to the very modern and updated. Each of the homes has beautiful gardens as well, and those are included in the tour too. They are just lovely.”
Tickets are $25 per person and are available at St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church in Blowing Rock as well as at the Blowing Rock Chamber of Commerce at 132 Park Avenue.
“This is the 55th year of the tour, which makes it very unique,” said Bo Henderson, co-chair of the event.
The event, which is expected to draw more than 1,500 people to downtown Blowing Rock, also helps to raise a significant amount of money to help benefit community projects.
“100 percent of our profits go to community outreach projects like OASIS, Hospitality House, the Hunger Coalition and various other charities,” Henderson said.
“Last year we raised $49,000. This year we are hoping to raise $55,000.”
Cocktail hours and dinner parties are also going on, as well as a bake sale, Timeless Treasures auction and lunch through the church provided by Foggy Rock restaurant, all going on at the same time as the tour.
Volunteers are still being accepted for the event for hosts, hostesses, drivers, traffic coordinators and more. Interested parties should contact Henderson at 295-9494 or co-chair Susie Greene at 295-3217.
“Even though this is done through the church, it is a community effort,” Henderson said. “I guarantee you nothing could be done without the input of the community.”