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December 5, 2012

Homes for the holidays

Newburyport hosts its annual Holiday House Tour Saturday

The holidays represent a time to declare that in the face of enormous change our finest moments can be immortalized in the twinkling of lights, the jingle of bells, and the laughter of friends around our holiday table.

With so much good intent at stake, it’s no wonder that some of us go all out in the pursuit of creating an alluring holiday home, taking special care to adorn homes so that even passers-by are moved by the display. In Newburyport, where one imagines the city’s historic homes were alight at Christmas long before the days of electricity, it’s especially moving to see the manner in which neighbors decorate for the holidays.

And that’s why the Custom House Maritime Museum’s annual Holiday House Tour has become such a popular tradition, offering guests a chance to glimpse beyond the window lights into some of the city’s finest homes transformed for the season.

This year’s tour is set for Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guests and holiday enthusiasts will be welcome to step inside 11 local homes that represent a variety of architectural styles from Newburyport’s storied past.

Beginning at the Custom House Maritime Museum and a trio of waterfront homes that offer a “jeweled” vision of Joppa Flats and Newburyport’s picturesque marshland, guests will meander at their own pace from the river up to High Street, stopping along the way to visit some of the south end’s finest Federalist homes.

From there, they will be welcomed into the grand homes built nearly two hundred years ago by the city’s sea captains, into a home overlooking Brown’s Square, and several others that represent Newburyport’s culture and history.

“Christmas is something we do big every year,” said Meg Wiley, whose Georgian Federalist home at 17 High Street is among the tour stops.

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