Come home for the holidays during Dunedin home tour

DUNEDIN — Ring the doorbell of this gracious stucco abode, freshly painted in a rich, creamy, peanut butter color, and you'll be greeted with a recorded salutation: "Welcome to Moe's!"

It's just one of the many ways homeowner Maureen Wiltse makes her guests feel special.

Saturday, she's expecting hundreds of them.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., she and four other homeowners will put out the welcome mat for the Dunedin Youth Guild's 44th annual Holiday Tour of Homes. Family heirlooms, sentimental collections and plenty of festive baubles will be on display.

This year's tour, unlike the past several years', will feature only Dunedin homes.

"It will make it easier for our tourgoers to get around," said guild spokeswoman Nancy Guinn.

Volunteer docents will be stationed at each home to point out distinctive design and décor. Look for "green living" designs, a garden with a Caribbean vibe, a copper-themed kitchen and a newer home built in vintage Craftsman style.

Tickets for the self-guided tour are $20 in advance or $25 the day of the event. A book with a map and details about the homes serves as an entry ticket.

Ticket holders also are invited to a complimentary tea held in the cafeteria at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.

And everyone, ticket holder or not, is invited to stop by a gift boutique in the school cafeteria and shop for special gifts and stocking stuffers. Bring along nonperishable food items for donation to local food pantries.

Dubbed "Ringing in our 50th Year of Service," this year's tour makes way for 2014, when the guild will celebrate a half-century of service to Dunedin youths.

The holiday home tour is the major fundraiser for the 100-member guild. Monies raised support youth programs, playgrounds and scholarships.

Last year, the guild awarded $31,800 in college scholarships and also donated the funds for the playground at Weaver Park.

Wiltse's Spanish Revival-style home is called "Castillo Del Mar," which is Spanish for Fortress opinf the Sea. It lives up to the name with walls and ceilings of lath and plaster, gleaming heart of pine floors, white wood cabinetry with crystal knobs, and original windows with pulls.

"Every contractor who has worked here says this place is built like a Sherman tank," she said.

Located just one block east of Edgewater Drive, it was built in 1926 for a judge and has been beautifully maintained.

Here are a few ways Wiltse makes the season bright.

• Known as the "Gingerbread Lady," she's been baking and decorating gingerbread homes for 17 years. "They are entirely edible," she said. Some of her holiday ginger-work will be on display in the kitchen.

• The tearoom features a collection of third- and fourth-generation blue Jasperware by Wedgewood.

• In the dining room, a long "gothic castle" table created from century-old wood is set for Christmas supper with pewter wine goblets and Johnson Brothers "Friendly Village" dinnerware, a collection started by Wiltse's grandmother. Pass the giant turkey legs please.

• Tucked underneath the staircase is a small room Wiltse calls her "wine cellar." It boasts her private label wine "Castillo Del Mar."

• Upstairs, the game room showcases "Moe Town," an elaborate Christmas village that includes a gothic castle, a train and a ski mountain. Filled with holiday fun, it took some 70 hours to construct.

If you go

What: "Ringing in our 50th Year of Service," the Dunedin Youth Guild's 44th annual self-guided tour featuring five Dunedin homes decorated for the holidays.

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Also featured Saturday: A holiday boutique (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) in the cafeteria at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, 730 San Salvador Drive, Dunedin. Bring canned goods and nonperishable foods to donate. Ticket holders may partake in a complimentary tea with finger sandwiches and cookies from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tickets: $20 in advance, available at a variety of Dunedin community locations; $25 the day of the tour at Our Lady of Lourdes school. Programs with maps and descriptions provided.

Reminders: Wear flat-heeled shoes for your comfort and to protect wood floors in the homes; only children over 12 are permitted on the tour; no cameras or smoking allowed in homes.

For tickets or information, call (727) 734-0394.

Come home for the holidays during Dunedin home tour 11/29/13 [Last modified: Friday, November 29, 2013 6:03pm]

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