Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour

Billie Lavhart, front, talks about some of the details of the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, while giving a tour to a small group during Sunday evening's Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour. (PHOTO BY MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF / December 9, 2012)

Undaunted by the stormy weather, plenty of people in the holiday spirit walked up and down the streets of downtown Havre de Grace Sunday night to visit historic homes and churches on the city's 40th annual Candlelight Tour of Historic Havre de Grace.

The tour highlights the city's interesting architecture and history, while homeowners invite visitors into their residences to view Christmas decorations and chat.

The A.P. McCombs House at 120 S. Union Ave. had a constant stream of people coming in and out of the pink Victorian home.

A cheerful doorman wished visitors a Merry Christmas and offered homemade cookies and hot apple cider in the foyer.


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Stockings and garland decorated the banister leading upstairs. Christmas music played in the sitting room, where a large tree decorated with white and gold ornaments stood in a corner.

The large dining room table with 22 seats was set with red and white candlesticks and festive dishes.

Bel Air resident Rich Fleury sat in the sitting room to enjoy the decorations. It was his first time taking in the tour, having been invited by the owner of the home, Perry Stewart.

"I was intrigued," Fleury said.

Fleury and his wife had just come from the Havre de Grace United Methodist Church across the street, a sight he said was "incredible."

As Stewart was restoring the Union Avenue house, Fleury was able to see it in various stages.

"She invested a fortune to bring it back to how it was originally," he said. "It's really a throwback to the [Victorian] period style."

In the kitchen was a woman putting sheets of cookie dough into the oven. Stewart, the host, stood nearby drinking a glass of wine and interacting with her guests.

She wasn't sure how many people had come through at that point, but knew it was "a lot."

"It hasn't stopped," she laughed, adding that 600 cookies had come out of the oven so far.

It's the first year Stewart's house has been on the tour since she bought the property at auction in 2009.

Ornate and stunning

Over at Havre de Grace United Methodist Church, at 101 S. Union Ave., a small group took a tour of the different rooms.

Garland and lights decorated the balcony and a woman playing the organ lured in guests.

The church, with high vaulted ceilings, didn't need much decoration, as it's ornate and stunning without twinkling lights or Christmas trees.

The building was built in 1901 and 1902 in a modified Gothic style with granite from Port Deposit.