The Idyllwild Area Historical Society kicks off its home tour at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, and ending at 4 p.m. Now in its 14th year, this year’s tour has some surprises, according to Charlotte Groty, one of the organizers of the event. Idyllwild’s own Middle Ridge Winery will offer a wine tasting. “Middle Ridge has scheduled their wine pick up for their Wine Club to be here [at the Idyllwild Area Historical Society.] The hope is that when they come to pick up their wine, they come a little early and participate in the home tour,” Groty said. “They are also having a wine tasting here and as part of their wine tasting they are graciously donating to the museum.” The event represents about 60 to 65 percent of the museum’s operating costs.
According to Groty, 468 people participated in last year’s event. “It was one of the best turnouts that we have ever had,” she said. “We’re hoping to match that.”
Five homes are on this year’s tour and range in size from 850 square feet (a very English cottage) to a 6,200-square-foot house supported by dramatic iron beams.
The first home was built in 1976 and is nestled into the hillside. Lilacs, rhododendrons, dogwood and a topiary located in pocket courtyards throughout the property add color and whimsy. The unobstructed views from the wrap-around deck are stunning.
The second home is located in Pine Cove. “The steel beams that are holding this house on the hillside are just incredible to see,” Groty offered. Adding warmth to the 6,200-square-foot home are family portraits and heirlooms. “The woman who lives there is from Germany and their family pictures are everywhere. She has this beautiful kitchen and designed into the kitchen is a wood-burning stove because in the winter she loves to cook all the soups that have been handed down to her for generations in Germany.”
Take a walk straight into fantasy when you step through the door of the third home. “It’s like Alice in Wonderland,” Groty said with a smile. “It’s like dropping down the hole with the rabbit. It’s very, very English. It is only 850 square feet and it is absolutely delightful.” The cottage is filled with family antiques that add to the already warm and welcoming ambience.
Home number four is Southwestern in style and showcases the homeowner’s affinity with the Cahuillas, the first people to settle in Idyllwild. “She’s an artisan; her medium is her rugs — she has a loom and she makes her own rugs; she’s also a quilter,” Groty said. “Her designs are free form and her quilting room is in the house so people will be able to see it.” The gardens are filled with indigenous plants and wandering paths that add to the rural charm.
A vintage Idyllwild cabin is the final stop on the tour. Quality workmanship is on full display; the kitchen has its original cabinets and it is likely that the dining room, sitting room and bath were the core of the cabin at the time it was built. “[The homeowner] is going to have his old vintage car there with a picnic table like they are going out on a picnic,” Groty said. “[The homeowners] really, really love this house and so will our guests,” she added.
“We have such incredible people here that are willing to [include] their house on the tour,” Groty said gratefully. “Every year we have wonderful people; last year they were just exceptional. You think, ‘Can we have that again?’ and we do.”
Tickets are $20 per person and will be available starting at 9:30 a.m. the day of the tour in front of Idyllwild Inn on Village Center Drive. For more information, visit www.idyllwildhistory.org.