The Ashland Beacon
Each year on the first weekend in December, the Friends of the Highlands present a Christmas Tour of Homes. Area businesses and homeowners decorate their homes and invite ticket holders to come in and look around.
The Christmas Tour of Homes starts at the Highlands museum downtown on Winchester Avenue. The Museum had an open house at the start of the tour. Santa was there to visit with children, and decorations and refreshments were provided by the Boyd County Homemakers. Everyone was welcome to look around the museum at the different trees and wreaths. There was also a display of gingerbread houses that had been entered the museum’s competition by local area art students.
The businesses on the tour included A Boutique and Potter Law Firm, located in Ashland’s first duplex on Carter Avenue, and Kings Daughters & Sons Assisted Living Facility on Bath Avenue. Both A Boutique and Potter Law Firm feature beautiful hand-detailed mantelpieces and stairwells that were decorated for the holidays, in addition to the beautiful Christmas trees and greenery throughout the businesses. Some of the visitors to Kings Daughters & Sons were offered a rare treat. Resident Carolee Busch has her recently-tuned piano in her room and was happy to perform a medley of traditional Christmas songs for her audience.
Bellefonte residences featured on the tour included the homes of Jim and Vicki Cantrell on Country Club Court, Matt and Cathy Satterwhite on Bellefonte Drive, and Les and Diana Hayes on Bear Run Road. A shuttle at the Bellefonte Country Club ferried visitors to these homes on the tour.
Ashland residences on the tour included Tony and Karen Hogsten on Hackworth Street, Clark Wiley on Forest Avenue, and Dr. and Mrs. Jeremiah and Regina Holmes on Winchester Avenue. Visitors were welcome to drive themselves to each home or ride a shuttle from the Highlands museum to each site.
Karen Hogsten is the chairwoman of the tour of homes committee in addition to having her home on the tour. Many may recognize the Hogsten home as the home on the corner of Hackworth and 29th Street that has the big ceramic horse in the side yard. The Hogsten’s bring the horse inside during the winter months. The horse stood in the living room of their home and wore a Santa hat for the occasion. Hogsten pulled out her mother’s china to set the dining room table with and decorated her dining room tree with the Lenox ornaments that she has been collecting for years. Even her husband’s “man cave” was decorated for Christmas with a UK Wildcats themed tree.
Clark Wiley recently bought his home on Forest Avenue after it sat vacant for five years. He has spent the time since his purchase doing a complete renovation on the outside of the home. A former teacher with a love for gardening was the previous owner of the home and it had become completely overgrown in the years since her passing. Mr. Wiley, an airline steward who served on Air Force One during the Reagan administration, had a landscaping crew begin tearing out everything that was less than two-hundred years old. As the yard began being cleared, people began mentioning to him that they hadn’t even realized that there was a house sitting there.
Mr. Wiley was approached by the Highlands Museum about being part of the Christmas Tour of Homes because of the amount of interest in his newly renovated home. Mr. Wiley was happy to show off his home with the collection of Christmas items that he has collected in his travels as an airline steward. This includes an impressive collection of crystal Christmas trees in various sizes showcased throughout the home and an entire room decorated with items from the popular “Elf on the Shelf” children’s book. Mr. Wiley stated that the elves are not as popular in some countries as they are in the United States, so he was able to get a large variety of items that are sometimes hard to find here.
The Christmas Tour of Homes is a large fundraiser for the Highlands Museum. All the proceeds from the sale of the tickets will go toward educational programs at the museum.