The Festive Stroll of Homes, long the traditional harbinger of the holiday season in the Briarcliff area, will take place this year on November 21 and 22, and will benefit the Ossining Children’s Center. Home tours are scheduled for Friday, November 21 from 9:30 am -12 noon and 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm and Saturday, November 22 from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. A Winter Frolic fundraising luncheon will be held at Sleepy Hollow Country Club on Friday, November 21 at noon.
At right, preparing for the upcoming Festive Stroll of Homes to benefit the Ossining Children’s Center on November 21 and 22.
There will be a reception each day at Holbrook Cottage, the presenter of the Festive Stroll, at 1253 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, with a portion of the proceeds from purchases donated to the Children’s Center. Guests will receive their complimentary ornament, sample Solbeso and chocolate, and learn festive holiday entertaining ideas to try at home.
In keeping with tradition, four top area designers will decorate intriguing private homes for the holidays and open them for the Stroll on the Friday and Saturday before Thanksgiving. The designers creating this year’s holiday homes are Holbrook Cottage, C. Welsh Design, Phyllis Coon and Hudson Landscapes. An Outdoor Bavarian Market will add a dash of festivity this year, as will the inclusion of a warming fire pit, where strollers will enjoy mulled cider and gingerbread cookies.
A unique element to this year’s stroll is the addition of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Parsonage and Sanctuary. Celebrating its 175th anniversary, St. Mary’s has lovely stone structures and a charming Cotswolds feel. It will be decorated in a traditional manner, featuring an abundance of boxwood.
The church is modeled after the Scarborough Parish Church in Yorkshire, England, which was built in the thirteenth century. The local area became known as Scarborough, New York, because of the Church’s link to Scarborough, Yorkshire. It boasts the only complete set of stained glass windows by renowned artist John Jay Bolton, who, along with his brother, were considered to be the only serious stained glass artists in the United States at the time.
Included in the tour, is one of the oldest houses in Chilmark. Widely known as “The Gowen House,” after Robert Fellows Gowen, a pioneer in early American radio history, the home’s gracious lines, original floors, moldings and stone work speak to the character of the age and the classic nature of the architecture. The renovations undertaken by the current owners through the years have retained the original character of the house while also providing a more modern and airy feeling. The current homeowners delight in sharing the rich history of the home and Mr. Gowen’s role in it. After serving as Chief Engineer of the DeForest Radio, Telephone and Telegraph Company of New York, Gowen continued working on radio from this Ossining home. In 1921, he broadcast a vaudeville performance from this house, which was heard as far west as Chicago, a world record at the time. Shortly thereafter, he traveled to China to set up a series of 18 radio stations, the first that country ever had.
Although the orchards that surrounded the house and neighborhood are largely gone, visitors to this house will find that the spirit of the holidays is infused throughout the home and that they will leave with a warm and welcoming start to their holiday season!
Carol Welsh of C. Welsh Designs, who will be decorating this home for the holidays, revealed that there will be three Christmas trees included in the holiday decorations. One tree will consist of the owners’ collection of art glass ornaments. The table will be set with Richard Ginori china and the centerpiece will be a collection of crystal candlesticks. Two mantels on the large two-sided stone fireplace will be festooned with greens and holiday plants, highlighting the classic Georgian Colonial features. The family room, decorated in a snowflake theme, strikes a festive, yet peaceful mood, perfect for entertaining or simply waiting for Santa. Charming Byers Carolers decorate the tree in this cozy room.
Another home on this year’s stroll, located on Ridgecrest Lane, will feature a twelve-foot tree in the foyer, decorated with musical instruments that reflect the family’s love of music. Decorations for this home were originally designed by a Holbrook Cottage artist several years ago and are updated each year. New silver and white decorations have been designed for the formal dining room this year, in honor of the stroll. The family room will feature vintage ornaments with a transportation theme.
This year’s beneficiary of the Festive Stroll fundraiser and luncheon will be The Ossining Children’s Center (OCC), which has been providing high quality child care since 1895. The OCC is a place where children feel safe, loved, engaged, eager to learn and ready to take on the world. The Festive Stroll raises funds for the Center’s child care tuition assistance program for low income working families, enabling parents to earn and their children to learn. The OCC also boasts a well-talented and devoted teaching staff, which has impressive longevity and very high retention, continuing the stable and supportive experience for the students at the Center.
Tickets to the Stroll and luncheon are $150.00. Stroll only -$50.00. Patron tickets are available. For additional information, please contact the Center at 914-941-0230 or ossiningchildrenscenter.org.
Festive Stroll co-chairs are Sue Bicksler-Taub, Meg Curry, Joan McGinty and Carol Welsh.