Janet Coscarelli and her friends were among many who braved a rainy, cold weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake and ventured out to this year’s Holiday House Tour.
The Rotary Club’s annual house tour saw people lining up around the block outside of six homes to check out the elaborate Christmas decor inside and outside these properties.
Perhaps most notably, the Garden Party home at 94 Prideaux St. had wait times nearing an hour, which is the home Coscarelli and her lifelong friends were dedicated to visiting on the tour.
“We came all the way from Nashville to see it,” Coscarelli said.
Coscarelli and her friends, Gayle Alley, Sarah Hunt and Claudia Weber, have made visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake a new tradition.
“This is our second time here,” she added. “We came in the summertime (for the garden tour) and were so delighted. I said, ‘If I ever win the lottery, I’m buying a house here.'”
Despite the weather of the weekend, the group of ladies said NOTLers did everything they could to make their visit as comfortable as possible.
The ladies joined the Queen Street Candlelight Stroll on Friday and even when taking a moment out of the rain, were brought some Christmas magic.
“I sat on a stool and a bunch of teenagers came by and sang two songs to me,’“Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Coming to Town,'”Coscarelli said.
The ladies said despite the six-hour travel time, they plan to come to NOTL again soon.
Inside, 94 Prideaux St. proved worth the wait for those waiting in line, as they got to take in Brenda McArthur’s glamorous approach to holiday decor.
On the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum was the Woodlands Cottage home at 2051 York Rd., which showcased all-natural decorations done by Gauld Nurseries, Lake Report gardening columnist Joanne Young and homeowner Elaine Bartolini.
“I wanted it to feel very homey for people,” Bartolini told The Lake Report.
Her home, on land that dates back to the Secord family, featured decorations primarily made with organic pieces of branches and evergreen leaves, obeying her one rule of “no sparkles.”
Each house on the tour featured different decor approaches and had unique details to offer, making it easy to see how both the Friday and Saturday tours completely sold out.
A sold-out house tour with six different properties requires a lot of different hands for things to continue running smoothly.
Jason Lalonde, one of the many volunteers, stood outside of the Davy House despite the cold and rain to keep the show going.
“I’ve got heated gloves and everything, so I’m good,” Lalonde joked.
The Rotary Club lost around 20 volunteers to a stomach flu that hit on the Wednesday before the tour, so all hands were on deck.
“We had to call in a lot of last-minute help,” Lalonde said.
“I brought in my daughter just because. But I’ve been outside pretty much the whole time,” he said.
Other properties on the tour included Ballard Barn at 135 Centre St., Gate Street Studio at 358 Gate St. and Willowbank at 14487 Niagara River Pkwy., along with other annual sites and wineries in town.