THE CHRISTMAS SEASON always seems to bring out the best in home decorating. Visit any neighborhood and you're likely to see beautiful examples, from the wonderfully elaborate to the simply elegant.
This year's Christmas House Tour, sponsored by the Soroptimist International of Westminster, offers the opportunity to see some of our area's most interesting homes in holiday splendor.
This year marks the first time in the tour's 37-year history that the event has focused on homes in and around the Sykesville area.
Each building has its own appeal and charm.
In the heart of Sykesville, the former Longway Bed and Breakfast on Springfield Avenue will be open. The circa-1840 residence was once home to the local blacksmith and has a great deal of interesting history. The original log home was discovered during recent restoration work.
The Sykesville Town House is also part of the tour. The circa-1883 Colonial revival structure was designed by J.H. Fowble and was home to one of the town's first merchants, John McDonald. The Town House was redecorated with period wall coverings and paint last spring.
The Hubner Building, home to the Springfield Hospital Center Museum, once served as admissions offices, operating room and laboratory for the hospital. The museum displays old hospital furniture and medical equipment. It was built in 1913.
Just across the Howard County line on River Road, Salopha is a circa-1741 home that once belonged to the Warfield family. The property was the site of a 340-acre dairy farm in the mid-1800s.
A little farther outside town, visitors can tour Snowden Farm on Bartholow Road. This circa-1810 home was part of a saw and grist mill, according to tax records of 1813.
Laurel Hill, on London Bridge Road, is a bit unusual in that the home was built in 1989. The house's design was inspired by a historic Westminster home, the Shellman House, now part of the Carroll County Historical Society.
The Christmas House Tour will be held from noon until 5 p.m. Sunday.Tickets are $5 and may be purchased in advance at Optics Ltd., the Hickory Stick and the Forget-Me-Not Shop in Westminster. In Sykesville, Baldwin's Restaurant and the Craftsman Art Co. will sell advance tickets.
Tickets may also be purchased at the tour houses on Sunday. Ticket price includes light refreshments at the Town House.
Information: Lynn Evans 876-3090 or Cindy Franz (410) 998-1532.
Holiday gift ideas
I hope your holiday shopping is progressing better than mine. There's not much time left and I'm starting to scramble for gift ideas. Sykesville Parks and Recreation may be able to solve that dilemma for some of you.
Karate gift certificates are available for $10. The certificates offer five weeks of karate and self-defense training. Classes are held on Mondays and Wednesdays, beginning Dec. 29, at Sykesville Middle School.
Information: (301) 552-0643.
Fire company Santa
With Christmas just around the corner, Santa is taking time from his busy schedule to visit neighborhoods in the Sykesville-Eldersburg area. The Sykesville-Freedom District Volunteer Fire Department will provide his transportation.
Santa will visit from 6: 30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
On Friday, Santa will visit the Flohrville area, Piney Ridge, Emerald Valley, Carroll Square, Berkley Estates, Johnsville, Hammond Estates, Strawbridge, Eldersburg Estates and Piney Ridge Townhomes.
Look for Santa Saturday in Sykesville, Lexington Run, Hawk Ridge Farms, Patapsco Estates, Gaither and Candlewicke.
Carrolltowne, Stafford Estates, Amberly, Brimfield, Hilltop, Bonnie Brae, Melstone Valley and Harvest Farm are on Santa's Sunday schedule.
Folks in Oklahoma Estates, Carroll Dale, Lake Forest, Westchester Hills, Monroe and Marvin avenues will see Santa on Dec. 19.
On Dec. 20, Merryman Heights, Sherlock Holmes Estates and Rolling Hills will see Santa.
The fire department promises to do its best to follow this schedule. Emergencies could cause changes. If any neighborhoods are missed, Santa plans to visit them on Dec. 21 and 22.
Pub Date: 12/10/96