If you’re really interested in how some other folks live, or use to live, your best bet will be to take the Christmas Tour of Homes the first Saturday and Sunday of December between the hours of noon and 4 p.m.
The outings (and in-ings if you please) are being presented this year by the Milton Garden Club and Walmart and will furnish a sneak preview of some of Milton’s most modest to lavish homes (two former homes now used for other purposes and two that are family occupied) open for the tour. The homes chosen are expected to be decorated for Christmas.
According to Becky Majors of Simply Southern, the Turner House on Berryhill Street (at the corner of Berry Hill and Alabama), built in 1910, is a major attraction on the tour as is the Penfield House located on Berryhill Road to the east. The Turner House, more than a century old now, has seen under ownership of a number of families and has been used for World War II recruits, a residence for the Josie Stewart Family, and as an office for former State House Speaker Boley “Bo” Johnson. It currently houses the offices of Dr. Helen Turner’s dental practice.
The Penfield House to the east of The Turner House, and on the opposite side of the street, was originally the home of Mrs. Gladys Mitchem. Built in 1925, it is a beautiful and functional home that will also be a tour feature. In 2001 AFLAC Insurance owner Paul Amos purchased the home and donated it to the First United Methodist Church across the street. At his request the property was named in honor of a family friend, Martha Walker Penfield.
It currently serves as the First Methodist Church offices and is a place for various social functions. The house offers a grand living and dining room with extended social spots on the screened porches. The home houses a grand piano that was the only piece of furniture saved from a former church fire.
The Schlenker House on Lakeside Drive in East Milton, built in 2003, and the McCombs House on Lakeside Court, also in East Milton and built 12 years ago, are other major tour stops. In the Schlenker House are a number of murals, and most rooms have a cross painted over the doorway. There are extended living areas with a deck and backyard pergola. The house on the Blackwater is family occupied and offers a grand view of the sunset. It also sometimes offers a glimpse of skiers, fishermen, and even an occasional alligator.
The McCombs House is also located on the Blackwater. Considered a perfect location along the river, the home offers lots of space for entertaining, including a grand dining room with a table that is an original from New Orleans. As avid hunters, the McCombs Family accumulated a number of trophies that are displayed in the great room. It is also family occupied.
Tickets for the tour are available for $10 each. The tours that will be motorized starts at the Milton Garden Center located at 5256 Alabama Street in Milton each tour day. They are available at the Milton Garden Club and from Milton Garden Club members.
For more information or further particulars about the tour, call the Milton Garden Club office at (850) 626-2003. The Milton Garden Club provides education, resources, and national networking opportunities for its members to promote the love of gardening, floral design, and civic and environmental responsibility.
The Milton Garden Club is a member of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, recognized nationally, and offers several community civic and recreational events throughout the year.