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Tis the season for holiday tours

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BRIER HILL – ‘Tis the season for decking the halls with boughs of holly, stringing lights and hanging mistletoe. And as the decorations go up, homeowners in Morristown, Black Lake and Brier Hill will open their doors for holiday house tours.

The fourth annual Holiday Home Tour, sponsored by the Young Memorial Revitalization Organization, will showcase seven area homes adorned with Christmas trimmings Dec. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Each home will have its own theme. For many homeowners, it’s a chance to be creative and one-up last year’s theme.

Wayne A. Latham said he will begin decorating his family’s replica of the 1960s Morristown Train Depot and Caboose that sits on his front yard at 9264 Route 58, Morristown, Monday.

“We’ll have a couple of train sets going, including the Polar Express,” Mr. Latham said. “We’ll have treats and holiday music playing throughout the day.”

Outside, Mr. Latham has set up a 15-foot tall snowman made from hay bales. Each bale weighs 1,000 pounds. The snowman is decorated with lights and has a table cloth for a scarf.

“It catches people’s attention from the road and a lot of them stop to take their picture with it,” Mr. Latham said.

In another unique setting, Frank L. Putman will show off his 40-by-17-foot, peg-and-beam barn built by his father, Lesile Putnam, a half century ago. Also known as the Party or Pony barn, the structure was originally a three-apartment dwelling that stood near the Richard G. Lockwood Civic Arena, Ogdensburg, before it was moved to Mr. Putnam’s home at 2908 Route 37, Morristown.

“We have an 18-foot tree that is extensively decorated,” Mr. Putman said. “We usually use traditional decorations – garland on the railings and evergreens in the loft.”

Crowd favorites will return this year.

Jeannie and Fran Colby, 1111 Northumberland St., Morristown, “decorate to the ultimate,” Mr. Putman said. “They have a number of trees. There are not to many areas that are untouched by holiday decorations. It’s pretty unique.”

There are also new homes on the tour this year.

Cheryl A. Shatraw, 303 Chapman Point Drive, will show off her home - the former studio of renown artist Charles Chapman. Ticket holders can also tour Melanie Connor’s waterfront home and Melanie’s Radiant Gem Art Studio at 347B River Road East, Morristown.

Tickets are $15 each. Proceeds from the event will directly benefit the continued repair of Young Memorial.

In March of 2010, a small group of local citizens formed the Young Memorial Revitalization Organization and immediately began work to restore one-story, stone and wood shingled church built in 1907. The church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.

The group hopes to turn the former church into a venue for weddings and other social events.

“We have installed a new roof that was badly needed, repaired the floor which suffered water damage and repaired the bell tower,” Mr. Putman said.

Tickets can be purchased at the Morristown Library or by calling 323-6076 or 323-1777.

Other stops on the tour include:

n The home of Joe and Shirley McDonald, 901 and 903 Northumberland St., Morristown. The McDonalds will display their decorated late federal-style stone home that dates to the mid-1830s.

n Bella-Brooke Winery, 2989 County Route 6, Morristown, will offer a picturesque vineyard and a beautiful tasting room in a totally renovated 1800s barn showcasing the original beams.

n Fourteen themed goodie baskets will be raffled and on display at Langbrook Meadows, 95 Hamel Road. Light refreshments will be served at Langbrook Meadows and the winners will be drawn at 5:15 p.m.

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