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Doors to history to be opened on Sunday


There's something special about "old time" buildings and homes that hold a history of people and times shared within their walls.

One such building is the Winchester Country Inn, a popular bed-and-breakfast stop in Westminster.

On Center Street, the one-time home of Westminster's founder, William Winchester, has been in existence since the 1760s.

On Sunday, the famous Carroll County landmark will open its doors to show off its 18th-century decor as part of the Soroptimist Christmas House Tour.

From 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., the 33rd annual tour, sponsored by the professional business women's service organization, will feature numerous homes and historic buildings throughout Carroll County.

The tour also will include two homes in the Silver Run area, one in Union Bridge, one in Frizzellburg and a Linwood church.

This will be the first year that the famous Carroll County landmark has been a stopping point on the Soroptimist Christmas House Tour.

A walk through the two-story, five-bedroom inn will give tourists an idea of what Christmas might have been like for the Winchester family in the late 1700s. While the signs of the season will add a special flair, tourists will find the parlor, the large dining room and the eat-in kitchen filled with charm and grace.

Since 1986, the Winchester Country Inn has been owned and operated as a bed-and-breakfast inn by TARGET Inc., a nonprofit organization that helps the developmentally disabled. The inn attracts 800 to 1,000 visitors annually.

Under the direction of George Andrews, the Winchester Country Inn serves as a vocational training site for people with disabilities.

"We provide a 13-week training course, which provides janitorial training and training in general work skills for the developmentally disabled who are looking to enter the work force," Mr. Andrews said. "When they have completed the training, we then assist our clients in finding jobs and continue to support them after they start working."

Tickets for the tour are $5. The price includes admission to all tour sites and refreshments at the church. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Optics Ltd. in Fairground Village, the Hickory Stick and the Forget-Me-Not Shop.

All proceeds will go toward providing a nursing scholarship to a graduating Carroll County High School student.

Information: 775-2127.


If your preschooler likes puppets and stories, don't miss a puppet story time at Bear Branch Nature Center on Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Children ages 3 to 5 are invited to attend and hear fun nature stories told by furry puppet friends and a park naturalist.

Reservations are required, but admission is free.

Information: 848-2517.


The Union Mills Homestead will hold its 24th annual Poinsettia and Greens Sale from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Freshly cut Christmas trees, wreaths and other greens will be sold.

Poinsettias in pots and hanging baskets also will be on sale.

Three rooms of the historic 1797 homestead will be decorated and the gift shop will be open.

Santa Claus will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Information: 848-2288.


This Saturday at 9 a.m., Santa Claus will share breakfast with kids at Cranberry Mall.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be bought at the mall's customer service center. Price is $2, which includes a fruit cup, Danish and juice.

Proceeds will go to Neighbors In Need.

Information: 876-8870.

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