This year, the annual Candlelight Christmas Tour – sponsored by the Chadds Ford Historical Society – came with a Colonial hitch.
Dozens of visitors from throughout the area filled the streets of the historic village of Marshallton Saturday afternoon and evening for the yearly event, which highlights some of the county’s most elegant and historic homes.
Executive director of the Historical Society, Ginger Tucker, said that Marshallton is the perfect location for the event, and that she was pleased that they were able to make it happen there for 2012.
“It’s certainly one of our most picturesque locations,” Tucker said.
This year, 12 different private homes and businesses opened up their doors to the public, who got to tour the homes all decked out with Christmas cheer.
Docents, and sometimes the homeowners themselves, greeted visitors with information about the homes – when it was built, what elements still remain, and other tidbits – while volunteers from Fuget Middle School made sure folks knew where they were headed and where they could park.
Lillian Kenneally, of West Chester, brought her mother and father for their first Candlelight tour, where they found themselves agog at the apartment above the Merchant of Menace and the amount of original and restored wood used in bringing the home to life.
“It’s lovely, but I don’t think I could afford to heat the place,” Kenneally said with a chuckle. “I’m glad I got to see it, though.”
Other locations in downtown Marshallton included: the Marshallton Shopkeepers house, made largely of serpentine mined from local quarries; the Bradford Meetinghouse, still without electricity; and Martin’s Tavern, where Marshallton holds its annual tree lighting ceremony.
Outside of Marshallton, visitors could also check out South Bridge Farm, along 842 East Bradford Township, which was built circa 1795 and featured the original smoke house now converted into what docents on site described as, “a haven for cigar aficionados.”
“It’s like a primitive Man Cave,” said Terry Dresner of Pocopson, as he peered into the two-person room. “Where do they keep the flatscreen?”
Many of the homes on the tour, like the Baily Farm House, featured original flooring and woodwork, while others combined modern amenities with classic antiques in a seamless setting. All of the homes were in full Christmas mode, some featuring a differently themed Christmas tree in each room.
And as usual, the John Chadds springhouse and the Historical Society main offices in Chadds Ford Township were also open for the tour.
Tucker said that for an area filled with historic homes, Marshallton seemed tailor-made for this event.
“Most of these homes date back to the 18th and 19th century, and even the newer ones are absolutely lovely,” Tucker said. “We’re extremely pleased that these folks opened their houses up for us to enjoy. We’re thankful every year for that level of generosity.”
Proceeds from the event benefit the non-profit Chadds Ford Historical Society.