*** Please note, the Victorian Holiday Home Tour takes place rain or shine! Our historic homes are warm, cozy, and beautiful in any kind of weather. We’ve held the event in sun, rain, and even snow. This year it looks like we may have some spotty rain on Saturday, but our continuously running bus service can still move you from house to house with as little inconvenience as possible, and the weather on Sunday looks like it’s going to be spectacular. We look forward to seeing everyone! ***
If you’ve never been before, you may wonder what to expect when you come to the Victorian Holiday Home Tour. Let’s start with the event times and go from there:
Candlelight Tour: Saturday Dec. 1st, 2018 4:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Afternoon Tour: Sunday Dec. 2nd, 2018 12:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Those hours are when the homes will be open to tour. So, for example, on Saturday the homes will close promptly at 9:00 PM. Because we estimate it can take two to three hours to complete the tour (depending on how long you linger in each home), on Saturday you probably don’t want to arrive much later than 7:00 PM, or you probably won’t be able to view all of the homes before they close. Likewise, you probably don’t want to arrive much later than 3:00 PM on Sunday.
When you do come, you can park in the Tennova (formerly St. Mary’s) parking lot off Woodland Avenue next to Fulton High School. If you use “1515 St Mary St, Knoxville, TN 37917” as an address in a GPS device, that should get you there. Once you park, you’ll see our ticket booth on the side of the parking lot nearest Woodland Avenue. No matter when or where you bought your tickets (or if you still need them!), you’ll want to start at the ticket booth, because that’s where you’ll pick up a souvenir calendar/map/program to use throughout the tour. If you bought advance tickets online, simple show the ticket booth attendant your receipt or give them your name and they’ll get you a paper ticket. Once you have a paper ticket and your calendar in hand, you’re ready to start the tour itself.
From the Tennova parking lot, transportation from home to home is provided by continually running buses. The buses will drop you off at a home, and then you can tour that home at your leisure. There will be a traffic flow through each home with people to help direct you to make sure you have an opportunity to see everything. When you are done viewing that home, if a bus is not immediately out front, then one will arrive shortly to transport you to the next home to view. We estimate that it takes approximately two to three hours to see all of the stops on the tour, but that time is partially dependent on how quickly you walk through each home. You are also welcome to walk through the neighborhood if you prefer (that’s why your souvenir calendar includes a map!), and you can also mix walking and using the bus however you like.
In each home you never know quite what to expect. Some homes in our neighborhood look very similar to the way they were originally built 100 or more years ago. Other homes look original on the outside, but have been updated with every modern convenience on the inside. You might see original oak floors, original mantles, beautiful built-in woodwork, or a brand new kitchen or master bathroom lovingly fit in the context of a historic home. Most homes will be decked out with holiday decorations of all varieties. It is worth pointing out that some homes may require you to navigate steps in order to enter the home, while others may have staircases that would be required to in order to see every room in the home. As you finish the tour, you’ll likely have a favorite home in mind that you’ve explored, and it will likely be different than others who are taking the your with you. Because every home in the neighborhood is unique, we can all find something that catches our attention.
Restrooms will be provided in the Tennova parking lot where the tour begins and ends, as well as at the Time Warp Tea Room, located approximately half way through the tour. If you wish to eat or grab a snack during the tour, you can find dining options at the Time Warp Tea Room stop, either at the Tea Room itself or at several other nearby restaurants in the Happy Holler area.
Once you’ve seen the last home, a bus will return you to the Tennova parking lot where you began. Once you get back to the parking lot, don’t forget to fill out the back of your ticket and turn it in at the ticket booth to be entered in our prize drawing.