Sparkling trees aglow in some of Macons most magnificent homes beckon roving eyes this time of year.
Passers-by around Vineville Avenue and Stanislaus Circle need not wonder much longer what lies inside several historic houses featured in upcoming tours.
Associations in both communities are hosting tours to benefit their neighborhoods.
You have these amazing, grand houses built by affluent people and right next to it you have a cottage that is just as beautiful in its simplicity, said Nora McFarland, of the Vineville Neighborhood Association. I love that you can walk down Vineville and see both.
This weekend, it will be trolleys shuttling afternoon guests to nine houses in the Vineville Historic District, which features a variety of architectural designs dating from the 1830s to the 1930s.
Robert and Dina Deasons 1915 Craftsman-style home is the only house featured on the Vineville thoroughfare. The rest on the tour are tucked away on less-traveled side streets, including Hines Terrace and Buford Place.
Wednesday afternoon, first- and second-graders from St. Peter Claver Catholic School got a sneak peek at the Deasons home as they learned about historic preservation.
The school off Vineville on Ward Street is more than 100 years old, just a few years younger than the Deasons two-story brick home originally built for Edgar and Mary Mallary, of the Georgia Kaolin Co.
We want to take care of our school and our neighborhood and our houses, school volunteer Susan Milam told the students.
As the children snaked around the ornately festooned dining room, a teacher asked them why they thought there were so many fireplaces in the house.
One of the youngsters replied, So, Santa can come down.
After learning about the need for coal-fired heaters, they saw how the kitchen fireplace was renovated to fit the modern gas cooking stove.
The Deasons have made a number of improvements since Dina first moved there in 2009.
Although the house was featured on Vinevilles last tour, the upstairs will be open for the first time.
Visitors are encouraged to note the Gone With the Wind memorabilia on the walls going up the stairs. The framed vintage newspapers were purchased from the estate of the late Phil Walden.
The same year the American epic film debuted at Atlanta's Lowe's Grand Theatre, architect Harry Bo MacEwen was designing a Cape Cod cottage on Calloway Drive for Albert and Elizabeth Reichert, who died nearly two years ago.
In 2001, their middle son, Stephen, purchased the house, which is also on the Vineville tour. He moved back home from New York City nearly six years ago and into his boyhood bedroom.
He converted his parents room into his office.
Reichert hired landscape architect Wimberly Treadwell to build a long goldfish pool and a winding walkway to a formal boxwood garden on the upper terrace in the backyard.
The converted garage bedroom he once shared with little brother Robert, the current Macon mayor, is reserved for guests.
The decor hasnt changed much from his parents days in the house.
My mother started collecting antiques and I got into it through that and my own bent for beautiful furniture, Reichert said. I picked up where she left off and the house is a mixture of what she collected and what I added.
Beginning Thursday, historic Stanislaus will feature a strolling candelight tour of several homes on the site of the old St. Stanislaus College near the corner of Pio Nono and Pierce avenues.
Luminaries will light the way to the open houses.
Everything is decorated as if you were going over to your friends house, said Wendy Cassidy of Stanislaus.
One of the crowning jewels of the tour is Villa Theresa, an elaborate Italian treasure designed by Philip Trammell Shutze in the opulence of the Roaring 20s. The work of renown Italian painter Athos Menaboni still graces some of the walls and the ceiling of the front library.
An original crystal chandelier from Murano, Italy, hangs above a 14-foot North Carolina Douglas fir in the home currently owned by Ken Gozur and Ginger Collins-Gozur.
The couple happened upon Macon on a trip up from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and settled here 18 months ago. We could have chosen anywhere in the world, but we chose Macon, Collins-Gozur said.
Although she staunchly believes in waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate, this year she began after Halloween. She put up 21 trees and a four-decades old collection of nutcrackers she shares with her sister.
In the secret garden on the grounds of the seminarys old winery, Collins-Gozur glued 200 feathers on a peacock-themed Christmas tree.
Now I get to sit back and meander in the wonder of the holidays that follows, she said.
A saxophonist will be playing seasonal favorites in the Gozurs home.
Christmas in Historic Stanislaus also features a holiday market and Santa shop in one of the houses closest to Vineville Avenue. Traditional wassail and cookies will be served and goods sold by artists and merchants.
Ginger Hess, the former owner of the Ginger Michelle boutique, said she will be offering very modestly priced girlfriend and teacher gifts.
Free carriage rides will be offered through the neighborhood Friday night and carolers will be roaming the streets, said Dr. Seth Bush, one of the organizers.
All we need is a fake snow machine, he said.
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303.