By MARINA WATERS
Jonesborough is known for its history and so are the houses featured on this year’s Holiday Tour and Tea event that took over Tennessee’s oldest town on Sunday.
The tour started at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center as guests gathered around the decorated Christmas trees as part of the Celebration of Trees. From there, ticket holders were shuttled from home to home to enjoy a plethora of historical abodes all dolled up for the holiday season.
“When people step off the bus after their last stop on the Holiday Tour and Tea,” Tourism and Marketing Director Cameo Waters said, “I hope they feel as if they experienced Jonesborough in a new way—as if each treasured Jonesborough establishment they encountered told a story all its own.”
The first Jonesborough home on the tour was the Deaderick/Williams home on 215 E Main Street. A.S. Deaderick built the home in 1883 and much of the style and decor from the era still thrives from wall to wall inside the house. From intricate wallpaper designs adorning the walls and ceilings to solid wood, canopy-style beds, current home owners Nansee and Bill Williams’ guests seemed to step back into an entirely different time period upon visiting the historic home.
As for Karen Childress’ home just down the road from the first stop, old-school charm wasn’t missing here either. With open rooms and a slightly more-modern-yet-reminiscent style throughout the house, the Patton/Childress home seemed to invite guests right in before any resident might have the chance to. The house also boasts a basement and entertainment room that was recently redone.
But homes weren’t the only buildings on the Holiday Tour & Tea; Team Bridal Wedding & Event Loft on Main Street offered tea, scones, soup, and other hors d’oeuvres for the tour’s guests. Meanwhile, the Chester Inn offered a holiday tour throughout the top and bottom floors of the historic building.
After the Rhein home on W. Main Street offered up the first bit of cottage charm on the tour, the Earnest/Miller home at 305 W. College Street followed suit, but with a touch of fairytale flair.
“Usually I pull out the whole Red Riding Hood collection for Christmas. I mean I’ve got dolls, I’ve got pictures, magazines, coloring books, I’ve got tea sets, marionettes, topsy-turvy dolls …” Miller said. “But I thought if you wanted to get a picture of the storybook cottage year around, you needed to see the fairy part too.”
Small iron fairies were found throughout the historic cottage; the tiny folk-tale creatures congregated everywhere from under a stained glass window to various corners of the dining room and living room areas. Guests also paraded through the Miller home passing tiny fairytale books and even a collection of buttons and pins that seemed to have been collected and displayed by fairies themselves.
The Miller home may have seemed especially enchanting, but the entire tour of some of Jonesborough’s historic homes appeared adorned with just a little bit of Christmas magic as well.
“This tour allows memories to be shared and made with family and friends,” Waters said.
“What a wonderful way to explore the Oldest Town in Tennessee all the while being immersed in the Christmas spirit.”