Updated: Jan 6
The wee hours of Saturday December 10th, 2022 may have portended of a soggy, dismal evening and although the skies never did quite clear, nothing could have dampened the Christmas spirit or quelled the magic of the evening to come. Bramwell is a strange wonder in winter, where days and nights are quiet in the damp, misty air as the fog ever-so-gently lifts from the wooded-tops of the mountain and occasionally that quiet peace is rent, if only momentarily, by a lone, intrepid bird attempting to catch his early worm.
The preparations were all made. The cookies warm and plated, the twinkling lights strewn, the holly hung. The ribbon has been fashioned into bows, trees erected and adorned, and the town took one last deep breath in galvanized anticipation. Long-time area residents and new friends hailing from different climes anxiously mustered for the long-awaited and illustrious event of the season, The Bramwell Christmas Tour of Homes.
This momentous occasion, tracing its commencement all the way back to 1983, sharing its birth year with myself, has been exhilarating guests with a glimpse not only into an antiqued and bygone era, but illuminating us all on the glitz and glam every one of us secretly covets. How did the super rich live is the question we all beg ourselves. Well friends, if you came last Saturday night, that very question was posed and our curiosities satisfied.
Hosting and orchestrating this magnanimous affair was The Bramwell Theatre Corporation, known for its generous heart for the community, assiduously serving its locals and visitors alike in a concerted effort to "showcase Bramwell through the arts and artistic endeavors, educational opportunities, historical tourism and economic revitalization."¹ Theatre members, volunteers, artists and musicians selflessly proffered their time and some even their homes as they welcomed exuberant and expectant guests with gracious alacrity.
Featured on Saturday's tour was the Bramwell Presbyterian Church, easily recognized by its hewn bluestone exterior and its cathedral ceiling resplendent with Gothic buttresses. Guests made their way next to the Lodge at Bramwell also known as the Bramwell Masonic Lodge No. 45 on the corner of Main and Bloch. The Lodge showcased local artists such as Larry "Moose" Marcum who displayed his talent at handmade pottery and encaustic painter Mary K. Hogan who specializes in landscapes.
Heading down the beautiful brick portion of Main Street were stops at the McElrath House, the Collins House, the Pack House and the Hewitt House. The Hewitt House garnered much enthusiasm as this gorgeous dwelling boasts oak floors with cherry inlay, coffered ceilings and original Tiffany light fixtures. Having missed a couple of the previous tours, this particular house drew a lot of interest and the long queue to get into the spectacular historic mansion was definitely worth the wait.
Even opening the doors to each home early, guests were still touring way past 8PM, but with over 850 in attendance that night, a number twice the anticipated, the night was successful.
We want to thank each and everyone of the homeowners that made this remarkable evening possible.
The McElrath House: Brad Tingly
The Collins House: Jimmie Bishop from the Bishop Family
The Pack House: John and Geraldine Petrulis
The Hewitt House: Harold and Rhonda Brown
We'd also like to mention the talented and astounding musicians, singers and performers who really created an atmosphere of seasonal bliss and wonder at each of the night's stops.
Chuck Ray Lilly
To all of those who participated in the art show, we thank you for your talent and dedication to your craft. Your creativity inspires the artist in us all.
Larry "Moose" Marcum
Mary K. Hogan
To all of our local volunteer firemen and police, your persistence and hard work at not only ensuring us a safe and successful event, but your tireless effort to manage an unexpectedly large crowd of visitors was absolutely amazing and handled with the utmost professionalism. We wholeheartedly thank you.
To all of our volunteers, you are the heart of this town. You are Bramwell and no words can express what you mean to the town and its people. You have our gratitude.
Rodney and Felicia Holcomb
Jim and Joyce Bishop
Mary Jane Hurley
Dennis and Patty Marciello
Donnie and Betty Goins
If I missed anyone, my deepest and most humblest apologies. Though your name may be absent, your presence was surely not unnoticed and your absence would have been sorely missed.
Good night my friends, until we meet again.