The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum’s 18th annual house tour, Dec. 8

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:53 pm

The Reedville Fishermen’s Museum’s 18th annual house tour will take place on Saturday Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday Dec. 9, from 11 to 5 p.m.

The annual “Christmas on Cockrell’s Creek” weekend proudly highlights the Northern Neck’s rich maritime heritage. Reedville, still one of the most active fishing ports in America, was established in 1867. By the turn of the 20th century, business was booming and mansions were being built along “Millionaires Row” at the top end of Main Street. Six waterfront homes in Reedville are featured on the tour, including two houses in the historic district.

Katrina Lawrimore, the museum’s director, explained that the Christmas house tour is one of the museum’s most popular annual events.

“People start calling the office in the early fall to find out which houses will be open. We are really excited this year to have the Hiram Lewis House on the tour for the first time. It was built in 1908 as a typical front-gable frame house, then was doubled in size in 1937 with a federal-style addition across the front,” Lawrimore said. “The house was empty for many years and has now been restored by its current owners Bill and Lynne Whildin. People even admit to peeking in the windows over the years, trying to see what progress has been made!”

Also on the tour are three more homes on Cockrell’s Creek. The Charles Lofland House also in the historic district on Main Street, is a Colonial Revival style house built in 1926 complete with turrets and gables and great views from the third-floor rooms.

The Schafer Home beyond Roseland Cemetery is a 20th century ranch-style home transformed by its current owners – an eclectic collector and a department store window designer. You’ll love the bar – a mermaid-graced old rowing skiff.

The Rice Home on Seaboard Road, built in 2008, is owned by a descendant of the Rice family of boat builders and watermen and includes displays of local memorabilia and decoys by Fleeton carver Herb Lewis.

On Chesapeake Bay, where on a clear day you can see Tangier Island, sits the Gillmer Home. Completed in 2005, it was sited to bring the outdoors in, and has several quirky little decks and porches with waterviews from every room. The Gillmers, both from Navy families, have an extensive collection of maritime artwork and nautical artifacts.

On Slough Creek off the Little Wicomico River, the Goldstein Home is the quintessential beach cottage home which could have come off the pages of Coastal Living magazine. Goldstein, an interior designer, has artfully arranged her colorful paintings, sculptures, textiles and whimsical found objects throughout the house and created cozy nooks and comfortable spaces in the open plan living area.

A unique feature of the Reedville house tour is the opportunity to ride a free boat shuttle from the museum to the four houses on Cockrell’s Creek, explained tour chairman Maureen Gillmer. One visitor from Fredericksburg told her last year, that “my husband never wants to come on these house tours with me, but when he heard about the boat rides, he quickly changed his mind. He had a great time and thought that all the captains were so interesting, pointing out the old buildings and houses along the way.”

This year boat shuttle service will be provided on the Cockrell’s Creek route. Step aboard Rescue I, Smith Point Sea Rescue’s patrol boat;  Fishing Buddy II, Buddy Sylvia’s vintage deadrise workboat; Miss Margie, Robert Gwaltney’s classic workboat; or Dudley, a 1938 buyboat captained by Fred Biddlecomb and enjoy a narrated boat ride between house visits.

“It will be a lively weekend in Reedville,” said Gillmer.  “The Northern Neck Railroad model train display, which starts rolling the day after Thanksgiving, will be going strong all weekend. Santa will make his annual visit to town aboard the Elva C., the museum’s historic buyboat on Saturday morning at 9 a.m., followed by refreshments for the kids at Bethany UMC. There’s also the Pantry and Bake Sale featuring our members’ finest confections; Tablescapes, an exhibit of intriguing holiday table settings presented by area decorators and designers; plus caroling and refreshments in the Walker House.

“We’re also very grateful to the talented ladies of the Chesapeake Bay Garden Club who will again be adding festive seasonal touches to all the homes. And to Bethany Church who will be offering free tours of their beautiful sanctuary.”

In its third year, ‘Santa’s Workshop’ has been a great addition to the weekend festivities, explained Gillmer. “Former museum shop manager Jane Kimball has drawn together a varied selection of handcrafted gifts for sale, all created by our talented museum-member artists and artisans. The Masonic Lodge on Main Street will again be transformed into a charming gift shop, where Jane and her ‘elves’ can help you find that perfect gift for the person who has everything.”

House tour tickets are $25 in advance or $30 on tour days and include all houses, museum exhibits including the model railroad, Tablescapes, and caroling and refreshments in the Walker House.

Advance tickets may be purchased at the museum office Monday thru Friday from 9-5 and at the museum desk on weekends.  To order by mail, send a check and a long SASE to the museum office. For further information visit or call the museum office at 804 453-6529.


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