Inspired!

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

Once again the Senoia Tour of Homes was more than satisfying. Bill and I, along with my sister Deb from Auburn, donned cold-weather gear and bundled into our golf cart just after 5 p.m. Sunday just as the sun was setting on a glorious winter day. Signs of the recent snowfall were still evident as we headed for the first of the five homes listed on the guide which briefly described the church and two of Senoia’s museums also part of the candlelight event.
Bill had worked out a plan before leaving home, and our first stop was the Martin House, a deceivingly modest-looking home built in the style of farmhouses of the early 1900’s. Heart of pine floors added to the “old farmhouse” feel as did the wide, welcoming porch. But the house, built in 2016, was about three times as deep as it was wide–it seemed to go on forever–had six bedrooms and a screened porch with its own fireplace. At least three fires, there may have been more, added a soft glow to the very pleasant surroundings. I would have been happy to stay right there, browsing the walls of bookcases all evening, but Bill insisted we move on.
The cottage on Baggarly Way belongs to long-time friends who have made just a few changes in the decor since acquiring empty-nester status, and since the last time they opened their home to hundreds of eager ticket holders. Heart of pine floors, ship lap walls, and bead board ceilings were lovingly restored. I personally adore the antique love seat in the kitchen, the better to view the three magnificent layer cakes displayed on the counter. Homeowner Carrie Cottrill had created a framed “jewelry tree” made from vintage gold and white pins and earrings. So clever, so beautiful. Now, that’s an idea!
From there we visited the Shields-Dale home on Main Street. We have often admired the antique car once parked in front and the large Peace sign (now lit up for the holidays), but had no idea what a treat was in store for us upon entering. Renovations to the “Gabled Ell” style had been completed in 2009; updates created a cozy home spanning many generations while retaining much of its character. There were a number of “Jolly” references to the homeowner throughout the house!
The brisk wintry air felt good to our cheeks and noses as we traveled on, picking up a couple of cold walkers who seemed bewildered at the long walk from Main Street, across the railroad tracks and down Johnson to the Skantz house, another home I have often longed to visit. The interior was no disappointment. There were amazing wall treatments with gold and white Empire-style painted crown moldings in one room, and several gorgeous chandeliers bringing an elegance to the stately home that was well-deserved. Lots of nooks and crannies, a tiny kitchen that seemed to serve the family well, including visiting grandchildren who were giving impromptu tours to the delight of everyone.
It was a cold, dark drive to the Stallings-Patterson home on Clark Street, but our little gang of adventurers were rewarded by the wonderfully cozy circa 1920’s renovated farmhouse. The 2011 addition of a beautiful master suite and a snug den with a TV the size of Texas, caused Bill to mutter that he could “move in tomorrow.” I concurred, leaving the television to him, I could enjoy puttering about a well-appointed kitchen; while updated, it still had the feel of a room from the long ago past.
We enjoyed each lovely home; colorful, sparkling trees in almost every room, wreaths hanging even over bathroom windows, mirrors with lighted garlands, piles of holiday pillows on sofas and beds, and gift wrapped packages so beautiful they would make the cleverest elf weep! The kitchens looked (and even smelled) as though someone had just tidied up after baking a batch of old-fashioned tea cakes. Sigh. . . .
We made the last few stops with our new and very grateful passengers (Senoia rightly has a reputation for being a very friendly town). We ended our tour at the Senoia Historical Society’s Museum. Greeted by many more familiar faces and a cup of warming cider, we revisited the fun 1950s and ’60s themed displays (I enjoyed helping make these happen). The Toy Room boasted an iconic Peanuts layout. There was Howdy Doody, Raggedy Ann, Tinker Toys, Cowboy holsters and little pistols. Museum director Maureen Schuyler, worked tirelessly, organizing a dedicated group of workers, decorating each room and the giant cedar tree.
The evening wasn’t over. After stopping by our house to freshen up and change vehicles (brrrrr, it was colder now at 8:30), we headed to the other side of town to a friend’s home. Now part of “Alexandria,” the home is a beautifully restored Southern Living farmhouse which only a few years before was on the Candlelight Tour. We were treated to amazing food, drinks and saw even more good friends.
As we filled our plates, found a companionable group to relive the evening with, one of our friends, while balancing a forkful of mac and cheese, gave a serious summary of the tour. “Just makes me want to go home and set fire to the whole thing.”
Shocked silence. Then we all burst out laughing.
I know what you mean, friend. Nothing more depressing and guaranteed to create the green-eyed monster, Jealousy, than visiting a string of beautifully decorated homes, each clean as a proverbial pin, smelling like my favorite florist, with 100 square feet of floor to ceiling bookcases, luxurious designer bedding, and not a stack of mail in sight; no stray newspapers, no toothbrushes, shampoo bottles, trashcans, or dirty towels. No leftover boxes from Christmas decorations, no dishes still on the drain board, or post-it-notes on the fridge. No vases with last week’s wilting flowers.
Well, I can either come home depressed and ready to throw everything out and start over, go on a raging rampage through my china cupboards, toss out every quilt, blanket and Martha Washington bedspread, every cherished, sentimental item crammed in trunks upstairs, or . . . I can go home INSPIRED!

**Thank you to the tireless efforts of the DDA members, the homeowners, the Church of God of Prophecy (gorgeous stained glass windows!), and the docents who stood happily welcoming nearly 600 guests to the homes of Senoia, a town we fell in love with just four years ago.

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