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Aberdeen / Havre De Grace

Havre de Grace Candlelight Tour showcases 'beautiful' homes for 41st year

Neither snow, nor rain, nor scheduling dilemmas could keep the Candlelight Tour of Havre de Grace from putting on a festive show once again.

After the event was postponed a week following a sneak snowstorm Dec. 8, several private homes, businesses, churches and museums around town opened their doors Sunday evening for the 41st annual tour.

Only a couple of homes on the tour were unable to reschedule, Ciera Fisher, director of the Susquehanna Museum at the Lock House, the organization sponsoring the tour, said Sunday.

"Surprisingly, despite the weather change, everyone was very supportive," she said.

By Sunday afternoon, more than 200 had signed up for the tour, which featured 15 homes, churches, museums and businesses.

This year's tagline was "Hill to Harbor," as the event included two homes in the Bulle Rock area.

"I can't believe they are doing it for 41 years. That is a long time," observed Eric Krauss, who lives in Baltimore but does business in Harford County.

He was visiting the home of Karen Jackson and Jeff Proctor in the 600 block of South Market Street, one of several historic homes that drew "oohs" and "aahs" from dozens of visitors who crowded into the small building.

Jackson dated the home to 1907, but Proctor noted later: "We are still trying to figure out how old it really is."

The couple, who moved there in 2011, decorated the home with antiques, family heirlooms and plenty of Christmas ornaments, since Christmas is Jackson's favorite holiday.

Hand-hooked rugs designed by Jackson's mother also fill the house, from the floors to the walls.

Jackson said she has been collecting antiques for 20 years.

"The antiques kind of just fit the home," she said.

Around the corner on Revolution Street, the lively Leedom family was showing off their 1940s home, which they bought in 2010.

George Leedom pointed out a dining and family room were all added in 1996.

A large Christmas tree filled out the family room, which had much higher ceilings than the rest of the home.

"We were honored" to be part of the tour, he added.

Don Mulligan, a resident of the Paddocks area in Bulle Rock, was one of the few on the "hill" to open up his large, new home.

Mulligan came to Havre de Grace from New Jersey four years ago as part of the BRAC shift of defense activities from Fort Monmouth to Aberdeen Proving Ground, he said.

Other than getting about a dozen poinsettias, Mulligan said his decorations were pretty similar to what he usually sets up.

The house includes a spacious, carpeted basement with two different seating areas and a minibar. His first floor also has a music room, with a piano and yet another Christmas tree.

His favorite part may be a large island that he installed in a kitchen that he completely renovated after moving in.

Tour participants, both old and new, said they enjoyed the chance to visit a stranger's – or even neighbor's – home during an especially festive time.

"It gives me ideas on how to decorate," Candy Maurice, of Havre de Grace, said with a laugh.

"This home is beautiful," she said. "We like country style."

Donna Kasnic, who also lives in town, added that it is fun to see the unique style each homeowner has.

"We are just surprised how much character each house has," she said.

Krauss, from Baltimore, just wanted to do something different for Christmas and thought the tour would be nice.

"I thought it would be a better thing to do for once, take a break from the shopping and the chaos," he said.

Peter Murray, of Havre de Grace, appreciated the chance to see another side of town.

"It's amazing to see the variety of homes that are open and shared this time of year," he said. "It's a great way to spend the evening this close to the holiday."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun